Sunday, December 5, 2010

My apologies to the young man at Target

Please, please, please don't let me leave the house anymore.  I woke up with a bit of hope, or sunshine, or some other inkling that I can't quite name, today and decided to send out holiday cards.  Without brushing my hair, or my teeth, I went to Target to buy cards.

Since I was already out I decided to buy clothes for the children in my life as well.  They're all girls so I wandered around and through the clothing section with tears in my eyes.  I found dresses for Charlotte, sweet little outfits for Charlotte, hats, mittens, and boots for Charlotte.

Then I went to the Christmas aisle and stared at the 'Baby's First Christmas' ornaments for a while.  After selecting my cards I wandered for a while and picked out a few necessary items (I buy pajama pants or sweats every time I'm at Target.  It's an illness) and then proceeded to the checkout line.

The young man checking me out was very, very talkative.  Here is our conversation:

"How you are today?"
"I'm fine."
"High five!  Being fine is great!"
I looked up, stared at his hand for a second, and then gave him a high-five.  I looked down once more (I can't look people in the eye anymore.  I look at the floor, or the debit card machine, or my keys.  I'm afraid if I look at people they'll talk to me).
"I am not looking forward to Christmas this year."
Silence from me.
"My dad had jaw surgery and I lost my cousin to cancer.  And it was my first cousin so it was a really difficult loss.  She had lung cancer, and she didn't even smoke."
"Sometimes that happens."
"No, she did smoke."
"Okay, well then..."
"Yeah, so Christmas is going to be really hard this year."
" Yes, well, I'm not looking forward to it either.  My daughter died shortly after birth this year."
The woman behind me in line gasps.  The young man who is checking me out frantically scans the last two items and begins hitting the register keys randomly, trying to get the receipt to print.    
"I'm so sorry.  I'm so sorry.  Yes, a new year will be nice.  Everyone needs a new year.  I'm sorry.  I'm sorry.  Here you go.  Have a nice day."
I am hot, my face is flushed, my eyes focused downward.  I grab my bags and my receipt and practically run from the store.

Why must I blurt it out like that?  People aren't expecting the dead baby bomb in the middle of Target on a winter afternoon.  I just wanted him to stop talking about the holidays, and loss, and how hard this year has been for him.  I didn't mean to ruin his day.  I won't be leaving the house by myself for a few days.  Had J tagged along I would've kept my mouth shut.

Side Note: I am determined to send out holiday cards.  I may get distracted and abandon the process halfway through, but I am going to try.  I want to do something for Charlotte this year, and this will be a small part of that.  If you want a card send me your address via e-mail and I will do my best to send you one.  Immediate family: this does not apply to you.    

20 comments:

  1. Good for you for getting out of the house. Count it as a success. You left the house, were out in public, you completed your task, and you returned home all in one piece. I think it is fine to say something about Charlotte if you want to. I don't think that it was a failure at all.

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  2. I'm with brianna, I don't think it was a failure. You are entitled to talk about Charlotte, what you told that young man was only the truth. I've done my fair share of blurting too, sometimes it just needs to come out maybe? xo

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  3. FIrst of all..you did this all alone, ::clapping hands:: cause those sections are like torture right now, and the girl clothes, well you know my opinion. NOW, about the cashier guy , this is NOT a confessional its a damn check out line and if HE doesnt have things he is looking forward to he is not supposed to tell you about it, his job is to scan, get paid and pack it up. I find it very unprofessional that he did this. I may not have worked in Target, but retail is retail and you DONT tell your bizz to a customer that is paying....So with that, I am glad you got out, got your things, and TOLD your reasons...I may get cut for this, but I highly doubt that the pain he has for his cousin can compare with Charlotte's loss....so dont feel guilty for telling her story, sometimes people got to be ready when they put something like that out ((((((((bear hugs))))))))))

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  4. You are certainly not alone. I have a hard time in all of these sections of the stores. I blurted out about my loss at my friends bachlorette party. Her sister had no idea. I can't help it. It's my right to talk about it. I was smart enough to not mention it to a student when she commented on my baby loss necklace when I was subbing. But we can't not talk about our loss because of worry for others. You shouldn't feel bad about saying it at all ((((HUGS))))

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  5. I'm so sorry that when you finally get the motivation to actually get out and try and get some things done--it's like a kick in the stomach.

    I think it is very, very kind of you to be apologetic to the young man at Target, and I totally understand that your own compassion and heart for others is what makes you feel so bad for him...but honestly, you have EVERY right to say pretty much anything and everything you want to about your daughter...especially if in the course of a conversation that he initiated. You no more meant to make anyone uncomfortable or put them in an awkward position than that cashier did to you...it's just another one of those situations where the realities of life sometimes just STINK so much...but they are what they are. And for us, there's no escaping...everyone else can go back to business as usual but it's our life. Day in...day out.

    And you shouldn't have to feel bad about telling your story when others so freely tell theirs. I know a lot of people give me the, "Well, you don't want them to feel uncomfortable...people mean well in asking things or making small talk."

    I know that...but if the cashier at the grocery store gets to wear a picture of her kids around her neck on a lanyard and tell me about them as I am waiting for the groceries to be bagged, well...why don't I get to tell about MY CHILD just because he's passed? Because someone may be uncomfortable? For Pete's sake...uncomfortable is the most BENIGN word that could be used for the way I feel!!!!

    Sending you love...I think your card idea sounds beautiful. I am glad I created a remembrance card for Matthew this year. I regretted not doing a birth announcement or holiday card last year...and was determined to do so this year!

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  6. I don't think you did the wrong thing at all by telling that young fella your reasons for not looking forward to Christmas. I'm sure that maybe it did shock him, and I'm sure he probably thought 'man what did I say!?' BUT welcome to life kid. He was willing to share his 'worst' with you, and normally we would make appropriate noises back to him 'oh, sorry to hear that, hope your dad is recovering and I'm sure your cousin's family will be very sad this this christmas'... But what if we have our own sadness to carry? Yes, sorry for them, but 'scuse me while I'm being sorry for myself too.

    Hugs to you, Angela, and I hope that this Christmas is at least gentle for you without your beautiful daughter xxx

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  7. I have the same illness you do! I love buying pajama pants. Ted has cut me off. I don't have enough room in my drawer for anymore!
    I also have the "torture yourself" disease. I spent more time than I should looking at baby boy clothes, staring at every baby that is anywhere near me and dwelling on what should have been.

    I'm glad you woke up with some hope today and went out.

    I hope you don't feel too bad about telling the cashier about Charlotte. I bet it felt good in some ways to say it. I wish all the time I would get the opening to tell people about Jacob, but it rarely happens. I think I have only been asked once since he was born if I have any kids and I had my chance. Of course, the person who asked was shocked, didn't know what to say at first and then rose to the occasion and asked all about him.

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  8. Today I wandered around the dollar store and they had a whole endcap with baby's 1st birthday. That did it for me. Sending much love and I would have so told that guy the same thing if he was going on and on about like that.

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  9. Gah! The baby clothes in Target. I can't seem to stop walking by them and I have to tear myself away, in tears, every time. I'm glad you made it out - try not to be hard on yourself. Any time someone mentions a loss and asks me how I am I do the same. How can you not? It changed your life and you are lost without your baby. I find myself not caring if I upset people. The guy could mention his cousin but you can't mention your baby? That's crap. I hope you get a happier outing soon and it gets easier. I'm impressed you managed to buy cards - I have to turn away every time I see one. That's a big step.

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  10. I'm glad you shared Charlotte with them. I really am. Everyone should have a tear for you, for her, when they hear she is not here with you. That is GOOD. That is RIGHT. And it is OKAY. Sometimes things are sad. I for one, am glad you went out, and were real. Especially considering he opened the subject matter - you simply shared in kind (and yes -what Ann said - what was this guy thinking??- who does that to their customer in a check-out line?!?).

    It was not a bomb - Charlotte is a blessing to be spoken of...she is your daughter. Lil told a complete stranger the other day that "our baby's name was Gwenyth" -she said it with confidence and pride (the awkwardness on their part in some ways pissed me off, but I'm getting used to that) and of course, I was streaming tears... but it was good... so I say Cheers to you!

    And that said. I do know what you mean too. I do... but this is our reality and yea, we carry them with us everywhere - even if no body can see them.

    And I could spend forever here with you and all your readers (you are my fresh air - I am so comfortable here). But I gotta run.... But I send my love to you and all the posters here!

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  11. OH Angela, I am the QUEEN of blurting things out to ruin everyone's day! Really, I do it almost every day. Do you remember a post I made months ago about dropping the dead baby bomb on the barista dude at Starbucks?? And I do it at work all the time. I felt awful the first time I did it really "bad" like that, with the Starbucks guy, but you know what? #1- if people want to talk about their loss or sad crap to me, I can certainly play that game. #2- Charlotte is your daughter, and you never have to defend or feel regretful about your choice to talk about her. <3

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  12. Aw, Angela, you had every right to mention Charlotte. He was all sharing his business with you, so he deserved a little feedback, I think! Who cares if it makes people feel "uncomfortable" to hear it? If they can feel even a fraction of what we feel everyday, then in a weird way, I feel like life is slightly more fair. (But not much) And I do the same exact thing you do... Picking out clothes for Avery, in the sizes she should be right now, wishing I was picking them out of her closet to dress her in, instead of longingly 'window shopping.' And Baby's 1st Christmas? Yeah, I bought one of those from Target. Couldn't help myself! So, don't feel bad about the Target guy. Charlotte is precious and beautiful and you can talk about her whenever you want to. <3

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  13. I am proud of you... proud of you for blurting it out. For speaking of her and her death and all that Charlotte has brought to your life. I think it was both hard to do, but still it was a moment where you shared.. you let it out. I hope you may find just a sliver of peace in that....

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  14. Charlotte deserves to be spoken of whenever and wherever her mama (or daddy) wants to. Sending you HUGE love. And I want a Christmas card. Charlotte is always on my mind.

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  15. It's moment like that that make you realize how separate from the world you are when you lose a child. The reaction from people is immediate and shocking- which makes you realize for the millionth time how terrible and shocking it's been for you. I'm pretty forthcoming about what happened with Claire, but haven't had the best of experiences when dealing with people I don't know. Today, I finally called to cancel the 3D ultrasound we had scheduled. Naturally, the receptionist wanted to know why. So I told her- she paused for a second trying to figure out what to say and then told me she was sorry. She paused again, to figure out what more she could say before settling on, "I've removed your appointment from the books and updated our system." Her voice had discomfort written all over it. It's natural to tell people, especially when you sympathize over struggles they are going through. People gasp because that's what people in shock do- but it's not up to us to keep silent especially about someone we love so much

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  16. It's moment like that that make you realize how separate from the world you are when you lose a child. The reaction from people is immediate and shocking- which makes you realize for the millionth time how terrible and shocking it's been for you. I'm pretty forthcoming about what happened with Claire, but haven't had the best of experiences when dealing with people I don't know. Today, I finally called to cancel the 3D ultrasound we had scheduled. Naturally, the receptionist wanted to know why. So I told her- she paused for a second trying to figure out what to say and then told me she was sorry. She paused again, to figure out what more she could say before settling on, "I've removed your appointment from the books and updated our system." Her voice had discomfort written all over it. It's natural to tell people, especially when you sympathize over struggles they are going through. People gasp because that's what people in shock do- but it's not up to us to keep silent especially about someone we love so much

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  17. Aw, Angela, you had every right to mention Charlotte. He was all sharing his business with you, so he deserved a little feedback, I think! Who cares if it makes people feel "uncomfortable" to hear it? If they can feel even a fraction of what we feel everyday, then in a weird way, I feel like life is slightly more fair. (But not much) And I do the same exact thing you do... Picking out clothes for Avery, in the sizes she should be right now, wishing I was picking them out of her closet to dress her in, instead of longingly 'window shopping.' And Baby's 1st Christmas? Yeah, I bought one of those from Target. Couldn't help myself! So, don't feel bad about the Target guy. Charlotte is precious and beautiful and you can talk about her whenever you want to. <3

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  18. Today I wandered around the dollar store and they had a whole endcap with baby's 1st birthday. That did it for me. Sending much love and I would have so told that guy the same thing if he was going on and on about like that.

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  19. FIrst of all..you did this all alone, ::clapping hands:: cause those sections are like torture right now, and the girl clothes, well you know my opinion. NOW, about the cashier guy , this is NOT a confessional its a damn check out line and if HE doesnt have things he is looking forward to he is not supposed to tell you about it, his job is to scan, get paid and pack it up. I find it very unprofessional that he did this. I may not have worked in Target, but retail is retail and you DONT tell your bizz to a customer that is paying....So with that, I am glad you got out, got your things, and TOLD your reasons...I may get cut for this, but I highly doubt that the pain he has for his cousin can compare with Charlotte's loss....so dont feel guilty for telling her story, sometimes people got to be ready when they put something like that out ((((((((bear hugs))))))))))

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  20. Angela,
    This reminds me of this post by Melody Ross..Seeing Past What it Seems
    http://bravegirlsclub.com/archives/2151
    Hugging you through cyberspace. Glad I found you through revolutionizeher

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thank you!

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