Friday, March 09, 2007

Life Isn't Fair. But That's Okay.

Life isn't fair. But that's okay.

A friend of mine and I had a conversation a week or so back. Her life is going great, mine not so much, and I dunno. I think she was looking for the silver lining in my current IF cloud.

"Of course this will all work out for you," she says, "because you're taking care of Mama."

Which took me a minute to put together. And then I asked her explicitly, just to be sure, that I understood her.

And I did. By her logic, I'm going to get pregnant because if I deserve to get pregnant.

Except. Who decides that I freaking DESERVE.

Two weeks ago, when Mama was screaming at me that I was the cause of all things wrong with both her and her life, I yelled back.

Mama never knew me before her dementia, before the Alzheimer's. So any memory she has of being healthy, happy and strong... doesn't include me. So every so often, her logic decides that I am responsible and she shrieks at me to get out. She screams and hits and hits and screams and demands that I get out, that I leave, that her son will be better off without me, that she will be better off without me, that I am fat, that I am ugly, that I am stupid, that she curses me, that I am cursed, that she hates me, that I am evil and deserve to die. And when she hits, she always (always) strikes me in the abdomen and occasionally adds "I kill your baby! I kill your baby!"

Sometimes (rarely) it rolls off my back. But this last time, I screamed back, loud and vicious. After a minute or two of howling, (mine and hers), I sat down quietly. While I can still see Mama (and she me), I cease to interact with her. I pray a little, focus on something (anything) else, and get my calm back. (I think of it as giving myself a time out.) And after a moment of two of quiet, she starts to talk to me. Can she do anything for me, she asks. Can she make me a sandwich? Get me a glass of water? Can she make me a cup of tea?

H called me at that moment, and I collapsed into tears. I crumpled, I whined, I demanded that he make it all better. And he tried, but he couldn't. So we fought on the phone and made up on a second call.

Mama was having problems finding her crayons and when I found them, she said "Thank you Nica. You bring such good things to my life. I love you." And she hugged me and kissed me and happily toddled off to color.

People routinely say something trite. How good H and I are to take Mama in, how good we are with her. Like I would instantly "deserve" to have kids, be pregnant.

But. If we don't have kids, is it because we don't deserve to? Did Mama deserve to have dementia? Does the woman with Alzheimer's deserve to be yelled at for what she cannot control? For how her brain does (and doesn't) function? Does my family deserve to be without health insurance? Does H deserve to have his wife scream at him at work? Did I deserve to have a chemical pregnancy?

Life isn't fair. Mostly, I'm thinking, because life is filled with humans. And humans are frail creatures with frailer bodies. And sometimes they fail -- both the human and the bodies -- despite the best of efforts and the best of intentions. And what's fair for me may not be fair for you, or for H, or for Mama. And if I forgive them -- Mama and H and all the other humans (including me) in my life -- and they forgive me for my frailty, for what makes my life (and their lives) unfair... and if I'm going to continue to try (and to risk failing or really screwing up)... then I have to make my peace with life being unfair.

Life isn't fair. But that's okay.

Feel free to disagree with me. It took me a few weeks to get to here...


Bea said...

I don't disagree, but man is that a hard lump to swallow. I'm still trying to bite it off a little at a time.

This is a beautiful post, and I just wanted to reach out and make it all ok. But I can't.

And that doesn't seem fair.


squarepeg said...

I agree, and it is hard - but you describe it so beautifully that it is hard be upset about it. It's just... life.

hope548 said...

It's certainly nothing about deserving. I think we all deserve to be pregnant if we'd like to be. But you do sound like a very patient and caring person!

Thalia said...

I think it's absolutely nothing to do with deserving. Deserving makes no sense. No one deserves for their child to die at birth, no one deserves alzheimers, no one deserves to suffer horrible, interminable pain. Sadly deserving a positive outcome from our fertility woes means nothing - we either get out of here or we don't.

Elizabeth said...

Wow, powerful post... I was just having a similar conversation with some friends over coffee today, one of whom just had a m/c recently. It is really, really hard when people try to "comfort" you with the reassurance that you'll be able to have what you want (and what so many others have without seeming to even have to try) b/c you've "paid" for it karmically in some other way. But you're right, life doesn't work that way. Still, I'm totally rooting for you.