The donkey and the Ass
Something has been on my heart a great deal. I have wanted to bring certain taboo subjects to light a little. 
I’m the right person to do this. 
I have experienced things that are considered shameful or “not decent” to talk about. But here’s the thing… I am a talker. I believe that when we share things, we help others. Yes… We also help ourselves, because I truly believe that a burden shared is a burden halved. 
I’ve been lucky to be fairly resilient to some people’s lack of understanding on how to deal with these problems, and so I continue to share. Because I need it. And because EVERYONE NEEDS IT. But resilience also doesn’t last forever and when you hear it enough times it starts to sink in that you are yourself, the problem. Inadequate. NOT ENOUGH. 
SCREW THAT. 
I’m a stubborn Mamma, and so I choose to write when I really want to retract into my shell and shield myself. I open myself up to MORE judgement. But I also decide in this moment that I do not accept that thought pattern from others to internalize. I am licking my wounds a little, through writing to tell anyone who will read that I am OUTING the unspoken.  
 
I’m talking about wanting death. 
Mental illness. 
Medical diagnoses which many ignorants deem to be “in your head”. 
I’m talking about infertility. 
I’m talking about miscarriage. 
 
Many will tell you to pray all these things away. Have faith and it will all be better. Some will venture to say that you attract these things into your life. 
I have one thing to say to those people – YOU ARE MAKING IT IMPOSSIBLE FOR PEOPLE TO GET THE HELP THEY NEED. And I also want to say that I feel bad because you don’t know what you don’t know. I have also said things I should never have. Not out of ugliness, but out of sheer ignorance. 
 
So I welcome you into my head, to hopefully help some become a little more aware. You could legitimately save a life by understanding this better. It’s not something I say lightly. It’s the absolute truth. 
Maybe you are here and resonate. Maybe this gives you courage to share your burden. Or maybe these are things that affect you too, and you feel nothing like this. Get in touch with me! Tell me how YOU feel. I am being genuine about that. I want to hear you. I may not be able to help, but I am here to hear. I will listen. Because that’s what I need. Desperately. So I want to GIVE it. Desperately. 
 
Now to explain this darkness, think in pictures with me a little:
There’s this Donkey. 
He is tired because he works hard. His life is not great but it’s not bad. He gets food, and water. But no love. He is not a pet. He is a work mule. The physical caressing he gets is only from the hay he eats as it tickles his mouth, or from the trees he scratches himself against. It’s not attached to human contact. He is separated from his family as he is sold off into work. 
 
Ok so the mule gets food and has cover so he doesn’t freeze at night, right? No problem – That’s what he was made for. 
He was made to carry heavy burdens. That is his purpose. To get heavy things from place A to place B. 
But as he is worked harder and harder, and as he grows older, his strength and speed are not what they were when he was fresh and full of life. 
He is not old, but he is worn. 
Winter comes, and he is cold at night, but not freezing. 
He carries the same load as he does every other day, but his environment and past make him somehow not as equipped to deal well. 
He struggles through work the following day. 
He rests at times not convenient to the owner, and get beaten as a result. 
Then this donkey becomes “stubborn as a mule”. 
And so that trend continues. 
The owner gets more irritated as time goes on, and beats said donkey more and more daily. 
His tolerance for this stubborn mule wanes daily. 
Then he bears down and makes this mule do more, or just discards him. 
This mule has failed his purpose, and is now either beaten or discarded. 
Either way. 
Not great for the Mule, right. 
Is it his fault? Is it the fault of the owner? Is the universe to blame? God maybe? Or maybe just society? Or was he born to be beaten or abandoned? What is it? Or should he just be grateful to be alive? 
 
As someone who suffers with severe depression and anxiety, I am the mule. I strive to not be the owner to others, because I know too well what it feels like to be the mule. It is hard though because most of us are the owner by nature. We tend to judge, condemn, or beat down on others. We sleep well at night next to our loved ones, in a bed with lovely warm blankets. We eat a variety of foods, and indulge in them and add a little extra weight on. Weight that the mule gets to carry for us! We have a home, love, food, purpose, and something to moan about – Our stubborn mule. 
 
So as the mule, let me tell you that I can sometimes to true to my nature and be an @ss. Not lovable, or worthy of caressing. 
What sends me into a dark space? Yesterday it was that someone made my son cry. I confronted that and it helped me feel better as a Mom. People need to stand up for each other. Especially Mom’s for kids. 
Today my darkness came from that person being offended by what I said. I am a sponge, and can’t unfeel this stuff. I HATE making people feel bad. It EATS at me. That person imposed boundaries on me as a kind of punishment for speaking out. I’m a grown woman and can deal with it. It’s not a big deal, but as someone who has spent the better part of the week feeling VERY stretched and mentally fatigued, it is something that feels a lot worse in the moment. 
Was it a massive deal? I guess not, but it hurt a lot. I made me balk. It made me “go there” with other things. I felt rejection – It was a body memory of previous rejection. Rejection brings sadness. Sadness that I remember feeling during other hard time. Oh yes – Those times I am still not healed from. 
I feel pain from everything – I take on your pain. I take on the world’s pain, my children’s etc. I also take on other people’s energy. I am like a sponge… raw nerves exposed to touch on anything that comes near me. 
Sometimes I launch myself towards those things to try and protect them from what I am feeling. It hurts me in the process (a LOT), but I am stubborn now, right? 
I can handle it. Not because I really can this time, but because I have in the past, and I know how scary it is to be very close to something terrible. But I came back and I have learned some tools to help me. But have you learned them? Do you know how to pull yourself out of this one? I am scared I am going to be the last person you spoke to and I did nothing. Like with my Dad. He killed himself very shortly after speaking to me. That’s a story for another day, but those feelings are entrenched man. They are not going anywhere any time soon. Could I have helped you? Where I couldn’t help him? 
 
I know I can help those in need, because I know what NOT to say. 
Not to say “It’s gonna be ok – Just focus on something positive”. 
I won’t tell you to pray it away. I may kneel with you and pray because I KNOW it helps, but it’s not a silver bullet. It’s sometimes the only thing that keeps you from driving your car into a bridge. That, and being afraid that if you miss, or crash into another car, that you may cause another family pain like you have experienced. 
I will ask you to call on me, because I MEAN IT. But inside me I know you never will. Because you are also a stubborn mule and will struggle on alone. Or maybe you don’t feel safe with me because people suck and have hurt you. I don’t know. 
I will not tell you to “just” be positive. In fact I will not use the word “just”, because it’s freaking offensive to minimize what you are going through. 
I learned in a divine way when our daughter died, that many people use platitudes to comfort those in distress. 
It’s their own pain and lack of knowing what to say which makes it painful for the consoler. 
Almost no one knows how to be a good comforter. The holy Ghost is the Comforter. Because you FEEL Him. You feel the light and the hug in a way that is supernatural almost. No one else can match that. 
 
Udo and I would be gentle about breaking the news of Chloë’s death to people.  
We put on our brave faces and told them we are ok. 
We consoled people who felt bad for us. I still do it. I tell people “It’s ok – We are ok now”. 
And we are, but we are also not. 
But you don’t need to deal with that impossible pain in that moment. 
We know you can’t and so we change the subject. 
Not because we don’t want to talk about our child, but because it makes you uncomfortable. 
I would Love to use the name we carefully chose for our baby girl that we longed and prayed for and cried over. Her name was chosen because I wanted to give her something as beautiful as she was. I was meant to call her name many times a day. Just like you want to talk about your children, so do I. 
But I don’t, because it’s not something you can do. 
You are not “reminding” me of her when you speak to me of her. She is my child. She is never far from my mind – You mentioning it isn’t going to hurt me – It will honour HER. And I will never forget it or you, because doing a hard thing like that makes you a strong, beautiful person that I connect with deeply. 
I can always close the conversation if I feel I need to, but I LOVE talking about my child that is part of my soul. 
She existed and so does my love and pain for her. I will never be the same and that’s in honour of her. 
That is MY journey, on MY terms because you don’t get to have an opinion about how I remember or grieve her. How long I grieve is not for your judgement. 
It’s something you get no opinion on. Ever. So shut up if you have an opinion about my pain. Because it’s not your grief. 
And that’s why I stop the conversation most of the time – Because I get to the @ss stage real quick when I feel that judgement. And trust me – I have had special things said to me. 
I used to refer to our Chloë, as being alive. Because I believe that she still exists – Not her body, but in Spirit. I believe that she can see and hear us. I believe I will live with her again one day. We are an eternal family, and that has kept me going. 
I signed a birthday card to a close family member from the entire family with all our names, including Chloë’s. It was about a month after she died. 
I didn’t feel I could or should take her name off yet. 
I felt it betrayed her. 
This family member, who SHARES the sentiment of eternal life, lambasted me for 45 minutes a month after she died, saying that She is DEAD. She is DEAD. You have to accept it.  She is DEAD. 
Like I needed to hear that and needed education that the child who died in my arms was gone. Really?!! 
I sobbed the whole way through. 
Not because the penny was dropping for me that she was in fact dead, but because I was deeply hurt by what she was saying and HOW she was saying it. 
I have never forgotten it, nor, clearly, really forgiven it. 
I guess I have some work to do. 
 
I also had someone tell me that “Maybe you were never meant to be a Mother”. It was not the best platitude to someone who struggled to fall pregnant in the first place. But I saw that she didn’t have a frame of reference for that. I mercifully saw her through God’s eyes in that moment. A well-meaning friend, who thought she was offering comfort, actually voiced a fear I had always had. I’m grateful for the mercy of having understanding in that moment. 
Many people said “Maybe she was never meant to live”, or “it’s better for her where she is now”. What, away from her mother? The one who cannot breathe because the pain of my heart beating is impossible. The Mother who would have died in an instant to save her. The one whose arms she died in, who cried to God to know how all the cells in my body could not implode, or Explode from the pain. I was still on pain killers from the c-section to bring her into the world. Now that pain was NOTHING compared to what was going on in my chest. 
I had people voicing very vocally, at Church non-the-less, at work too, “It’s been 3 months since her child’s death – Surely she should be over it by now”. 
A supervisor asked me if I was “in or out” with work. I had a break down about a month afterwards. I went on to work from home for an amazing company who dealt with Egg Donation and helped infertile families have babies. 
Soul work. 
The people there are angels. 
They are everything good in this world. 
I found a soft place to land as I lost my home and found a part of myself. 
They even helped me have our eldest son. 
They do God’s work. 
It was a season of my life I will always cherish. 

It was there that I learned that the world carries on while all you want to do is scream at people to STOP moving and pay attention. A girl has just died. Her parents have just died inside!! 
I understood why God let the earth shake and stopped the sun from shining when His son died. I felt the world was disrespectful for carrying on as if nothing had ever happened.  

That’s the thing about suffering from mental health issues – The world carries on when your mind and body cannot. It drags you along as though you should be working through the pain, when you have no strength. When you can’t stand any more. They drag you, beat you, and shout at you. Those that have warms beds and loved one. A variety of food to eat and get fat on. They think they are better than you – The donkey. But who is really the @ss? 
Then you get people who rescue that donkey. It is not a total rescue like with the donkey. Because people need rescuing often. There is no one amazing pasture to put an anima to, to ensure their lives are filled in beauty and plenty. 
As people we need rescuing sometimes weekly. 
It’s different for everyone. 
Right now, and in this season, mine is a weekly cycle. 
 
I am self-rescuing right now, through this blog. 
I’m proud that I’m not running away. 
I am proud that recently I have started to see my surroundings for that they are. 
I am grateful for the perspective God’s grace has provided for me. 
 
I know of too many people who needed rescuing in these last months. Some were found, but some weren’t. It’s not their family’s fault. It’s not anyone’s! But please, PLEASE PLEASE listen. I am begging you – when someone you know has said something, anything… Take it seriously!!!!! Take people seriously. This is not a joke. Wanting to die, and visualizing how it would happen, is not a joke. You actually CAN make a difference. You can call regularly. You can help with some “holding space”. You can check in. Please do. Don’t be the @ss. Be the rescuer. That can just be a kind word or compliment, if you don’t know what else to do. But if you are close to the person, please BE there. Ask them what they need. Let me be. Provide cake. Eat it together in silence. Show up. Food is good. Show you are aware. 
 
If you got to the end of this, you have some tools now. You are no longer ignorant. Go and be God’s hands.

1 Comment

  1. I loved reading this. My heart broke a little here and there as I read through. but was put back together knowing that this process is helping you and so many more "mules" out there. I am also guilty of not knowing what to say to those who are grief stricken but I think now I will be a little more equipped. Thank you for sharing your most vulnerable moments with us <3

    Profound piece of advice: "Provide Cake" - I 100% agree :) :)

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