Friday, November 24, 2006

The sad story lady

My hairdresser, the wonderful Debra who gave me a such good cut along with the understanding that only someone who has also struggled to have a child can give, left the salon. Her whereabouts are unknown - at least to me.

I had no choice but to try someone new.

Here's how it went...

Enter Eduardo, a young man in his late 20s or maybe early 30s, all pimped out in trendy gear with a multicolour fauxhawk, overly plucked eyebrows and an earring. We shake hands, discuss my cut then head to the sink. He washes my hair and gives me the best head massage I've had at a salon. Ever. I'm a happy girl. We move back to his station and the cut gets underway. We make idle chatter for a few minutes. Finally, it happens...

Eduardo: (Innocently) "So, do you have any kids?"

Me: (Shifting uncomfortably) "Uh...well.....uh....I have a sad story. We had a little boy, but he died."

Eduardo: (Very quickly) "I'm sorry."

Me: (Thinking: awkward, awkward, awkward, awkward, awkward.)

Eduardo: "How old was he?"

Me: "He was only 20 hours. He was just a baby."

Eduardo: (With a trace of relief) Oh, okay. (Brief pause) I know that's bad, but can you imagine how hard it would be if he was like two or something?

Me: (Shocked, flabbergasted, outraged, hurt, angry - and utterly paralyzed) "Yes. I know. After our son died, the mother of a friend of the family told me that she understood our pain because she lost a son when he was two. I told her I couldn't understand HER pain because I couldn't imagine going through what she did, having her child with her for so long."

Eduardo: "Yes, I mean you really know the child by then - it must be awful."

Me: (Finally regaining my wits) "Well yes, but it's also very hard not to know your child at all and to have no memories of him to hang onto. That's pretty hard too."

Eduardo: (Looking a little shocked and contrite) "Oh. Yes. I guess so. Well there's good and bad both ways I guess."

Me: (Wondering what the good part is and laughing a soft, humorless laugh) Yes. Yes there is.

Yes, yes, yes. He meant well and it was a shocking thing to hear and he didn't know what to say. Blah, blah, blah, fucking-blah.

I will never understand people's need to try to convince you that what you've gone through isn't as bad as it could have been when they don't have a fucking CLUE what it's like. You take your heart (or the thing you love more than anything you've ever loved in your entire life), rip it out of your body, hand it over to strangers and let them bury it under six feet of cold spring earth. THEN you can tell me how hard it is or isn't to lose your baby - even if he was only 20 hours old.

Oh Debra. Where did you go???


Katie said...

DAMMIT! Why can't people just say I AM SO SORRY then shut the hell up?

how was the cut, by the way? Not that it matters because you'll probably never go back....

Jennifer said...


I once had a former PediCriticalCare-Turned-NICU RN tell me that parents who lose their child in infancy are better off than those who lose their child when (s)he is older and I was so disgusted. How can you make such comparisons???! Losing a child is losing a child -- one has the agony of not knowing the child, one has the agony of many haunting memories. Call it what you will, it's ALL agony, and I can't imagine what it's like in either case.

I'm sorry this guy was so insensitive. I'm sure he was trying to muddle through an awkward moment, but his comment was so hurtful. I don't know how you remained as composed as it sounds that you did. I'm sure I'd have left with a lopsided cut, not being able to stomach another moment in the presence of someone so clearly ignorant.

Many hugs, Kristen, many hugs...

delphi said...

Poor Eduardo - it must have been hard for him and for his family when he was lobotomized as a young child. But at least he had it done when it was young - his family didn't have a chance to get attached to his full-brained little self.

All sarcasm aside, it is still unbelievable to me that anyone would think it appropriate to say anything other than "I am so sorry - this must be so hard for you." And why on earth do people think it is appropriate to compare losses? For god's sake, to lose a child is to lose a child. I wonder if the world will ever be a place where all losses are granted the respect that they deserve.

maureen said...

The one thing that going through loss taught me was that pain is pain...and I wish people would stop trying to quanitfy it. I'm so sorry you had to go through that...I hope your day got better!

Shannon said...

De-lurking to shake my fist at this guy, who has clearly been breathing too many hair chemicals. Sure, he may have felt awkward, and sure, he may have been caught off guard, but there was absolutely NO EXCUSE for such an insensitive comment. I am so sorry you had to deal with such an utter lack of decency and tact.

vixanne wigg said...

Ugh. It's like he feels like he has to say something, so he says something stupid. I know the question itself is just idle chatter, but I still hate the question even now. Just say I'm sorry and move on. Sorry you had to go through that.

Nina-SOS said...

I don't care if he was innocent and you think he meant well.....what an a-hole. Can you ask the salon where Debra went?

kate said...

Well, Delphi's comment had me ROTFL....

What a fucking moron. I'm sorry you had to encounter him.

Oh, and for what it's worth -- my dh and i used to debate this very point, until i told him that i read online a comment from a woman who had had a stillbirth and also lost a 2-year old child. She said 'it hurts differently, but it hurts just as much'. So there you have it.

Sherry said...

Once again, you exhibited magnificent grace under fire.

It still amazes me when people try to do this whole "comparison" thing. There is no way to compare; agony is agony. And, I'm so sorry that Eduardo just couldn't shut his trap while he was still somewhat ahead.