Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Relatable Honesty

Yesterday I watched the second part of James Frey on Oprah. He was the guy who wrote "A Million Little Pieces" and marketed it as a memoir and he actually embellished and fabricated many parts of the book. It was a big controversy about 5 years ago because Oprah picked his book as a book club book and defended him on Larry King etc...

Anyway most of the interview was on what that time of his life was like taking the heat and whether Oprah was too hard on him when he came back to answer what was true or not on her show.

I have said before on this blog how much I dislike lies and how I have a hard time with people who always embellish or just lie about things. So I have never really been a big fan of Mr. Frey and I have never read his Million Little Pieces book.

But during the interview Oprah brought up the fact that in 2007 James and his wife lost a child. I could feel his heart tightening as he spoke briefly about his son Leo who was born with SMA which is incurable and fatal. One of my angel mom friends had a little girl named Mia who also had this. Mr. Frey and his wife had no clue their son was not healthy until after he was born.

As he spoke about his son I could see and feel the emotions he was feeling. It is not an easy thing to talk publicly about your child who has passed away. Oprah asked him if his son's death put things into perspective for him. He said it did. He said that as bad and hard as the public scrutiny over the Million Little Pieces scandal was it wasn't even in the top 200 of the bad days of him life. Then gave examples of what really "bad days" are like the day your child dies, or the day you plan his funeral. And he said the hundreds of days after that ... those are rough days.

After that Oprah asked something where she referred to the time after he recovered from that loss. He didn't answer her question. Instead he said, "I don't think you ever recover from something like that." I am not sure that is a direct quote but he went on to say that he has recovered from lots of things in his life but the death of a child isn't something you "recover" from.

A couple of weeks ago I was talking to someone about this blog and how I wrote my feelings out. She offered that they were my "edited feelings" and it made me think about how much my feelings are edited here. I told her I do not think my feelings are very edited on here. I mean they are expressed in a way I like to see them. And of course I don't write every emotion every time because I just don't have the time to do that. But I believe this blog holds a true sampling of the feelings I have felt over the last three years.

And listening to Mr. Frey I thought it would be good to record my thoughts about his statement about never recovering. Because I think some people may think that I have "recovered" or that I feel "recovered." I cheered when Mr. Frey corrected Oprah on that point. Because I agree. But as often is the case, it all comes down to how you define "recover."

The way I define it and I think Mr. Frey meant it is that you never "get over" the loss of child. There is never a time when that loss stops hurting or that spot in your heart isn't tender to the touch. It is just like the article I posted a link to when my grief was fresh said. The piano of grief that has landed on the stage of your life never leaves the stage. It just becomes incorporated into the play or pushed to the background.

But I do feel whole again - forever altered, but whole. I do not have physical pain about my loss everyday anymore and I do not even feel sad about it everyday in that same searing way. But I do still think about Camille everyday. I do still miss her everyday. And I do still have times when I feel the waves of grief and the shock and loss feel fresher in my mind and heart. In those times, it is hard to breathe. I have to round up my mind back to the place where I can be back in the present and remind myself that I am okay.

These waves don't last hours, usually I can ride them out in a few minutes these days. And they don't come every day or every week. But they have been coming a bit more frequently as summer comes around. Tis the season.

So, at least for me, that is my truth. I am glad Mr. Frey made the correction so others can see better understand what this grief is like. It is good that others know that losing a child is not something to "get over" or "recover" from. It is something you learn to deal and live with. You learn how to keep the show of your life progressing on the stage despite the presence of the piano. And in the best cases you learn and grow because of it. In the best cases you learn to play new and beautiful music.