Monday, January 16, 2012

Missed Opportunities

I mentioned in an earlier post that I have been spending a lot of my time reading and I asked for (and received) a bunch of great suggestions from you all. Well, I ordered a bunch of these books (do not get me started on how much I love used books on Amazon) and I have been slowly making my way through them. Started off with the Red Tent since I had stolen it from my mom a few years back but hadn't read it yet. Followed up with some girly literature (Good in Bed), reread Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (with every intention of seeing the movie next) and had a little dessert with my favorite novel ever A Farewell to Arms. Then the new book fun began. The first book to arrive was Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri. If you have never heard of her, please do yourself a favor and pick up Interpreter of Maladies, The Namesake & Unaccustomed Earth because they are all ridiculously amazing. She is just one of those authors that after I am done reading, I just say "Damn. I wish I wrote that." It doesn't help that she is absolutely gorgeous in the author photo on the back cover. Yep, I want to be her.

Because of all the hype I read online, I am now delving into the book Little Bee by Chris Cleave (thanks Cristina!). I am not going to go into what the story is about (even the Amazon description won't - that's part of the allure) but I do want to talk about one especially profound line (for me) that I just read in the novel. It said, "It isn't the dead we cry for. We cry for ourselves."

Damn. Isn't that the truth? And doesn't it completely describe the grief after a loss of an infant? When an older person dies, we cry because we miss them and the person that they were. We cry because we will never get to see them again and because they will no longer be a physical part of our lives. With an infant, it's different. They never were given the opportunity to become a person and have their own thoughts, actions, words, anything. That's why we cry - at the loss of the opportunity of the person that they could have become. We cry because we will never get to see them grow up. We cry because we will never see them take their first steps, speak their first words, go to their first day of school, graduate, get married or have babies of their own. And the funny thing is, is that we are not only crying because they aren't getting to experience all of these things but also because WE aren't experiencing it with them. So, in a way, grief is an entirely selfish process because it's mourning the fact that we are going to have to live our lives without the deceased and not the other way around. We aren't crying for the dead. We are crying for ourselves and what we have lost.


  1. As always, your posts are incredible. Thank you for that insight into what you're experiencing. Know that you are still in my thoughts.

    Also, I just finished reading Unaccustomed Earth, too. I LOVE Jhumpa, so much talent, it's just beyond words. I was recovering from that last ending for a couple of days. Just wow.

    I hope reading continues to give you comfort and insight.

  2. If you're looking for something on the subject of baby-making, "Taking Charge of Your Fertility" by Toni Weschler is amazing.