Priority (noun): Something that is regarded as more important than others
I know it’s normal to question your existence and the point of life when going through grief; it’s all brought to the fore. The big questions are those we usually just avoid thinking about, instead we continue to trawl through the rat race that is life. I’m sure it’s not just me wondering about the point of everything, especially given the recent lockdown, which has turned everything on its head. But what I’ve been thinking since is this: I could have died with Summer and I now wouldn’t mind if I had.
Let’s get this straight, I’m not saying I’m going to end it all. I’m just saying I don’t see the point, in any of it. I’m happy, to be gone. If I don’t wake up tomorrow, that’s ok. I’ve never felt that before.
I’m not saying this for people to feel sorry for me or to say “you matter, you do matter!” I know friends will say this, but I won’t feel it. This is the blog that I don’t really want any comments on. I’m saying this because it’s been in my head for so long, I’ve been discussing it over and over through counselling, so it’s time to explore it in writing.
The only thing I can liken this situation to, is that curious way we all often lower our own standards and internal monologue when it comes to ourselves:
Friend has horrible boyfriend? You’re fiercely loyal and want her to dump him!
YOU have horrible boyfriend? “Oh, he’s not that bad”
Friend struggles to conceive? You have all the hope in the world for them: it’s not their fault.
YOU struggle to conceive? “It’s never going to happen, you’re a useless failure”
Here I have a blog saying life, however long lived, is precious
Yet when it comes to myself, I’m acknowledging that I’m not important
Again, although I can see what I’m doing, it’s another thing to believe it. So yes, no matter what anyone counters with, there’s still that outstanding niggling question, that I’m getting no closer to answering: Anjulie, what is the point of you?
My counsellor – who can’t get much of a word in, with all of my rambling – very early on, simply stated:
“It sounds like you don’t feel you have a place in your families, without children”
She absolutely hit the nail on the head. All of these blogs and that’s essentially it.
Wife: Initially I thought “I can’t leave my husband, he couldn’t cope without me”, but what I’ve come to realise is, he would. That’s been the biggest shock to me. James would throw himself into work, as he has done before and he will do again. I believe that now.
Daughter: When you’re a parent, your children become your priority – it makes sense to focus on the helpless. But as they grow up and become more self-sufficient, their children become your priority. And when your parent cares for your children, I imagine that it still makes you feel important. The problem is when you have no children, you feel that a lot less. We are the childless couple, with ten nieces and nephews, of course our parents are focused elsewhere. I have single friends who’ve said the same.
Sister: My brothers and James’s siblings are parents. See above. Their lives revolve around children and so does our interaction with them. Hanging out with either family means being a babysitter with little adult conversation.
Aunt: I love my ten nieces and nephews, and everything I write makes me feel selfish for not just focusing on them, for it not being enough, but they’re not my kids.
Family member: A lot of my family didn’t even acknowledge that I had a child that died, so if you want to make my blood boil, tell me that “blood is thicker than water”. Lots of our family didn’t attempt to visit us when our daughter died. Some close family came for just one day. It’ll be difficult for them to convince me that we are important.
Being a mum would give me a priority. I would also be a priority to them. I think a huge part of my grief is that I have all this love and nowhere to put it.
I know that this all sounds terrible. It’s also completely at odds with what I’ve always thought. On this blog I’ve been saying: “Parents! Look outside of your children and have some self-awareness for once”, yet here I am, now suggesting that being a parent is the only thing of any worth. The two are completely at odds. Yes it’s completely illogical, but it’s a classic heart over head situation that I’m currently contending with.
Perhaps it’s because the majority of my real life (outside of lockdown) consists of accommodating families and children, that it’s no wonder that it’s the only thing that currently appears worth living for. I am an outsider and there’s no place at home. Someone, make some space, please.