Monday, 4 June 2007

Do I care if he knows?

Today I got an email from one of the people at the meeting I was attending when I heard the news about Zoe - I replied saying that I was heading home to South Africa and he wished me well, ending off with the words "Hope all is well with the new addition". I didn't say much as I left the meeting that awful day so long ago and just the other day, although I had assumed that the expression on my face would have told a story, but it's clear that he thinks all is well.

How should I respond? Should I respond at all? Do I care if he knows? Do I know if he cares? What's the point in telling someone that I will never meet again of this tragedy - it will just upset him, and for no reason? What can he possibly say in response that will mean anything? And yet, I want him to know - I want everyone to know. Partly because this is something that everyone ought to know about because it is now such a huge part of who I am, what makes me be the way that I am at the moment, but also because I just don't want to have to deal with the awkward phase of someone learning about all of this for the first time and feeling bad and not knowing what to say and saying something trite or meaningless and feeling bad about that and having to manage their feelings as well as my own and all of everything...

This is one of the things that I fear most about going home, having to deal with people not knowing and with people knowing but seeing us for the first time - by now, the people we actually have relationships with all know what we've been through, whether they have dealt with it or not, spoken to us about it or not, so you don't actually have to mention it - a bit like the elephant in the room. But in South Africa, no one (apart from family and close friends) knows, and we'll meet and they'll be happy and we will be sad and they'll say why and we'll tell them and rinse and repeat. I was wondering what (if anything) I'd tell a prospective employer about all of this, because I know it's affecting my work, but when/how do you even bring something like that up?

This is why, when people ask me if I'm excited to be going home, I say I just want it to be over now...

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