Updated: Jul 4, 2020
By Brittany Hale
I am 1 in 4.
And no one seems to know what to do, or what to say, or how to treat me.
So let me hit “pause” on my internal devastation, and verse you from my pit of grief:
I need you to know, I can’t tell you how to fix this. I don’t even know how to fix it myself.
I need you to know, I need you. But I don’t really know what I need from you.
I need you to know, that I’m sorry. I feel like my body betrayed me.
I need you to hug me and tell me it’s not my fault. And, when I pull away quickly and tell you, “I know”, I need you to make me stay. I need you to hug me tighter and say it again--“It’s not your fault”. Is it because I was worried, at first? Is it because excitement wasn’t my default mode? Please, tell me again: “It isn’t your fault.” One day, I’ll believe you. Today isn’t that day.
I need you to pull extra weight because the weight of my own body feels unbearable.
I need you to know the torrents of mood swings feel out of my jurisdiction. At times I feel fine and then I’m enveloped in guilt. How can I be fine? Self deprecation comes back to the table. And then, right on cue, despair roars again. How will I ever really be ‘fine’? You ask me, again, if I’m okay. Before I can stop it, my tongue cuts like a knife. I love you but I lash at you. Of course I’m not fine. This could never have happened without you. It’s your fault too. Except I know it’s not. But you seem to move about the world, still light on your feet. It makes me hate you. But I apologize anyway, my tear ducts preceding me.
How could I ever hate you?
Of course I don’t.
And the seemingly out of body cycle begins again.
I need you to equate: you’d never ask me to attend the funeral of a child we bore together without being right by my side. So stop asking me to. I can’t do this alone.
I hate going to the bathroom. Every soiled pad reminds me: I’m continuing to lose fragments of something I desperately wanted. All I want to do is hang on. Why can’t I hang on?
I need you to know I will survive. But I can not do it alone.
I need you to know my smile will reach my eyes again. But it will not be today.
I need you to reach out. But I don’t want to have to ask you to do it.
I cannot tell you what I need. But I know that I need you.
I am 1 in 4.
I am drowning in a pit of grief.
And I need you to see me.