Wednesday, July 26, 2006

unthinkable thoughts


Scott Bronson's post over at Popcorn Popping bothers me. His refusal to accept that his writing was way off base bothers me. I know through experience that this will probably come home to bite him, and he will recognize his own ignorance.

These are pictures of my loved ones. The bottom is my husband and son, taken 6 weeks before they drowned.

As I sat in the hospital waiting room, surrounded by family, as the doctors were trying to save my son (my husband was already pronounced dead), I thought two things I would never have voiced:

"Give me back my husband, take my son."

"I'm afraid--I think the plane will crash." (They were life flighting Davey, he died before they got there) I still feel guilty for thinking of my own welfare, for the physical fear I had. I'd flown quite a lot before that. I didn't get on an airplane again for 18 years, after James died.

His is the top picture, taken two years before his death. What a sweet, sweet boy.

The unthinkable thoughts I had when the two Marines came to tell me that James had committed suicide were, "I wish he'd died in an accident, that I could think this was an act of God."

"I wish it were someone else's child. Take my sister's son."

"I won't have to worry about money. The military will pay for everything."

"That chicken salad looks so good."

I could go on. When those two boys were abducted and tortured and murdered by insurgents in Iraq early this month, I thought, "thank God he died before he went to Iraq."

But I never, not once, worried that anybody would pity me. My husband and I never had that discussion. I totally did not give a crap about that.

The fact that Scott so totally missed what he was trying to portray tells me that he was aiming for shock, not excellence in his writing.

12 comments:

Susan M said...

I hadn't bothered to read that piece until I just read your blog about it today. I knew from the title I wouldn't enjoy it.

But you made me curious so I went and read it. And all the comments. I'm kinda surprised they published it.

As for your own unthinkable thoughts, I'm sure you're not alone in thinking them. I've never talked to my mom about what went through her head when my sister died (unexpectedly, 7 months after my brother died of cancer), it's too painful for her to even really mention them very often.

I knew a woman once who was responsible for the death of her own child--completely accidental and beyond her control, no way she could've stopped it. Some people in the ward had the attitude that she should just get over it already. I thought she was lucky not to be in a rubber room somewhere.

Stephen said...

Bless your heart.

The insanity of intense grief leaves us with only the unspeakable, after everything else fails.

Barb said...

I could not see the lower picture very clearly. The top picture of James is very clear and he is a fine looking man who looks very kind. There are no correct thoughts during tragedy. Just coping as it is impossible to sort out.

Deborah said...

Annegb: I'm always struck by your *candor* -- whether it be humor or raw grief. Thank you.

Rosalynde said...

Princes every one, anne.

Stephen said...

btw, for a much better story involving grief:

http://www.aikidoschools.com/terrydobsonstory/

(compare this to the Popcorn one).

annegb said...

Yeah, that's good writing. Too bad Scott isn't hearing what we're saying.

Susan, I don't know how your mother survived. Perhaps she hasn't really.

I still cry almost every day, privately when some little memory is triggered.

My children died because of things I did. That's the hardest thing to live with.

Barb, that lower picture looks sort of foggy like that up close, as well. I had those photos developed after they died. I lost the rest of them. One was a picture of a pregnant me and Davey. Another was the only picture I had of David holding James, and another of Davey kissing James, just after he was born. I was bereft that I lost them.

Barb said...

I clicked on the lower picture to magnify better.

I did not read the article on Popcorn Popping. I do not plan to do so.

I am so glad that you are so open about your grief. It is important for people to know that even with a knowledge of the Gospel that hearts can ache.

Starfoxy said...

I cannot even imagine.

Guy Murray said...

Annegb: So sorry to hear of your earlier tragedies. It's unfortunate there are those in this world who do things to make other's feel pain

Proud Daughter of Eve said...

Unthinkable thoughts, unimaginable loss and incoherent responses. It feels so impossible to know what to say in the face of such tragedies. In light of those, I'm totally amazed that you could stand to read "Cage of Stars." I don't know that I would have been able to.

As for the story on Popcorn Popping, I didn't like it either. It seemed shallow and a bit on the pretentious side. I was more strongly affected by the death of my dog than those characters were by the potential death of their child.

annegb said...

Eve, you know with Cage of Stars, I didn't relate to the mother, who I felt wasn't realistic, but with the murderer, with his anguish and regret.

Thanks you guys, for your comments. I loved that you called my men princes, Rosalynde. They were indeed.

You know, tell the truth, I think both times the thing I thought over and over was, "oh my God." It sounds like cussing, but it was more a prayer.