After dropping Bravery off at school yesterday, I noticed a few missed phone calls. I called back and it was Melissa, the incredibly sweet secretary from Amelie's previous elementary school. our convo went like this...
M: "HI Amy, this is Melissa. I was calling you because I was wondering if Bravery was attending school today? He's on our list."
me: "Oh no! He's not! We choiced into another school, a music focus program. We LOVE your school but felt this is better for him overall. We will miss you guys, it's bittersweet because we only attended for 1 week before Amelie had a stroke."
M: "Yes, I know. I was specifically saving a spot for Bravery in [the highly coveted] Ms. SanFellippo's class, b/c I thought it would be nice for Brave and Amelie to have the same teacher."
me: "That's so thoughtful of you! Yes, Amelie really did love Ms. SanFellippo."
M: "OH!" [excitedly, and with genuine enthusiasm] How IS Miss Amelie???!?!"
fuck. my heart sank. She didn't know. I had to tell her.
"Thank you for asking. She passed away July 1st."
gasps. silence. then more gasps. I took the wind right out of her lungs. I felt so horrible, I pretty much ruined this lovely woman's entire day. She was so kind to Amelie and me while we were in Kindergarten. and bam! I had to hit her with that info.
M: "I'm so sorry. I would not have even brought it up had I known."
that comment kinda floored me. and I realized in that instant that that is what people have been doing. NOT bringing her up. NOT talking about her bc they don't want to upset me.
What [some] people don't understand is, SHE's ALWAYS on my mind. AMELIE is ALWAYS on my mind. with every breath I take, she is present. So not talking about her to me isn't "protecting" me. it's not "dredging up" a topic I want to avoid. I can't avoid it, no matter how hard I try. so here's what I said,
"I'm so glad you did ask about her. Truly. Thank you for asking about her. Because, if you don't, then it's like acting as if she never existed. and that is much more painful." [actually, I totally burst into tears and somehow managed to spew out this slight incoherent sentence in between big gulps for air and immediate nose snot production.]
I finished off the convo telling her once again just how special that one week of Kindergarten was for us as a family.
A neighbor (whom I adore b/c she incredibly funny, brilliant, sassy...just like myself) said to methe other day at the mailbox, "I didn't come by your house because I didn't know what to say. I just can't even imagine." I was totally honest (poor thing) and said, "I wish you would have. You don't have to say anything profound that's intended to "cure" or lessen the grief, b/c nothing can except God (oh yes, I busted out the whole Jesus talk!). I don't want people to act like she just went to boarding school or something. AMELIE FIRA never leaves my thoughts. EVER. so you NOT bringing her up doesn't protect me from the manipulative, painful power my own mind tortures me with. If anything, it reminds me that people loved her too."
That being said, I'm not upset at anyone for it. I know some people, even some of my closest friends, don't really have the capacity to talk about it or even ask me about it. and that's ok. I didn't either before. I didn't get that before. But I get it now.
Better late than never....