There seems to be a very delicate balance between not being ready to face certain emotional triggers and just not wanting to at all. It’s hard to discern whether things are too raw for me and I should wait, or I have to just push through a bit of discomfort and basically face my fears. Yesterday we accidentally misjudged which category a particular outing fell into. There are a number of movies out right now that I want to see. One of those movies is The Secret Life of Pets, and in an effort to get me out into the world, my husband bought tickets for us yesterday. That it was a children’s movie didn’t even cross our minds. We’ve always loved animated movies. The first movie that my husband and I ever watched together was How to Train Your Dragon.
When my husband booked the tickets (it’s one of those theaters with reserved reclining seats), not a single ticket had been reserved yet. The movie had been out a while, and we expected an empty theater. We were quite wrong. When we arrived, it was empty. Then a steady stream of mothers with little boys walked in and took their seats. I sat there anxiously and mentioned to my husband that this might have been a bad idea. A few years from now, that was supposed to be me with Isaac and his little buddies from pre-school. However, I decided that these were emotions that I could push through. I probably could have.
As the previews started, I continued to doubt our decision to go to an animated movie. The first preview was for a movie called Storks, a movie playing on the tales parents tell their kids about where babies come from. The preview put a lump in my throat, but as it ended the feeling passed.
Then the unthinkable happened. A couple came in, right as the movie was about to start, and sat down in the empty seats to our left. So we weren’t the only adults in the area who wanted to see a kids movie on a Friday at lunchtime – no big deal. However, this wasn’t just any couple. The wife was extremely pregnant and happy. I’d venture she was about as pregnant as I should have been right now. Today I would have been 36 weeks pregnant. I couldn’t stop peeking over at her. Did they know how lucky they were? Did they know how quickly it could be over?
Maybe the pregnant couple shouldn’t have been so upsetting to me, but – you see – there was a reason we didn’t see the movie right when it came out. I was saving up movies to see as a way to escape the August heat while waiting for Isaac to arrive. We were supposed to be that happy pregnant couple, but instead our baby boy is already gone and I am the woman who can’t stop staring at the pregnant girl in the movie theater.
I had mentioned to my husband that I was struggling, and he told me that if I was unable to enjoy the movie he would gladly leave. However, I wanted to see the movie. I tried to get distracted by the cute animated animals that were doing ridiculous things on the screen. It didn’t work. It was hard to breathe, and I was overheating despite the AC. Eventually, I whispered to my husband that I couldn’t do it. I tried to get up slowly and leave, but it turned into a weird high-speed escape. I got into the hall, where I knew I needed to wait for my husband and his mother, and immediately started crying. I cried the entire drive home, curled up in bed, and then cried some more. I spent the whole afternoon and evening trying to distract myself in bed. Day over.
So, as it happens, this was a case of not being ready to face certain realities. It’s too soon to surround myself with reminders of what could have and should have been us. This isn’t the first time I have ended up in a situation that I needed to escape, and I am sure this won’t be the last. To those of you in this same depressing boat, there is no shame in not being ready. Grieving is going to occur on its own schedule. There is no need to force it. Know that you aren’t alone.