I have a whole group of friends who I wish I’d never met.
They wish they’d never met me either. An understanding that is shared, and does not need to be spoken. The thing is, I can’t live without them. I know that I am lucky to have them. They offer support to my grieving heart. I can cry without apology, scream without judgment, question without response. I spend my days sharing my words and feeling theirs. Truly understanding the pain they are enduring, but incapable of taking it away. The underlying consolation: we are not alone.
I do not want these friends. It isn’t something they said or something they did. In fact, it isn’t them at all. They didn’t ask for this life. They haven’t done anything to deserve it, nor have their children. These are good people. These are good parents. They are full of love. They are selfless. Their hearts ache, yet they are still somehow able to withstand empathy. Through their sadness, they are there. They make the time. With a heavy heart, they listen.
They are our new parent friends, from a community I wish did not exist. These are people who carry their children in their hearts. Together, we lighten each other’s load. We make the darker days a shade brighter. We remember our children together. We freely speak of them and the love they continue to bring to our lives. It is painfully liberating. In our house, we speak of these children by name. If we see something that reminds us of them, we take a moment and we think. We think of a life lost, but a life loved. A life cherished. A life remembered. A life.
These children are our son’s friends, we love them, we appreciate them, but we wish he had different ones. A wish we hold for them as well. We have visions of playdates we cannot see, of laughter we cannot hear, of memories being made with friends from all over the world. We think, with pride, of our little boy sharing what he has learned, of the special places his parents have taken him. But we wish it looked different. We wish it was different.
I am so thankful for these people, yet I am also ungrateful. I am unappreciative. I am not worthy of their support. For their love and care. For their thoughts about my family. I am a coward. For you see, I wish I’d never met them. I wish I didn’t have a reason to know them. I would trade them all for my son in my arms. If I could, I would ruthlessly throw them to the curb side, and push my stroller past.
I wish they didn’t have a need to know me either.