Collateral Damage

I think I first came across this term post 9/11 when Afghanistan got attacked and all losses were being termed as “collateral damage”. It brings to mind the idea of a greater good but where little pieces- little people?- suffer in the consequence. Visually to me it meant aiming the ball for the target but not caring if the vase got knocked down in the process. The term unnerved me because it meant we had to decide what was more important and not care about the other. Not exactly the best parenting call as I could see it. However, as the years have gone by I must admit the term has made more sense- not in the peace war kind of way but in understanding that sometimes, it simply cannot be helped.

I am not a dwell-in-the-dark sort. I get derailed like the average person but after the jolt, I steady up and some odd combination of elements in me has always helped me see things a bit differently. Maybe it’s less normal and maybe it’s more. That isn’t the point.The point is collateral damage. Things that got blasted in the process of something else.

So post Jan 15, which was the day I found out I had miscarried, I have been darker than usual. Certain parts of who I possibly always was have asserted themselves more emphatically, leaving me a little confused, a little lost because it was new to me.

For one I have been angry. Not angry at the universe or the powers at what happened- but angry at people for thinking that I am strong enough to deal with it. The number of people who threw words like “grace” “brave” “kind” “inspirational” “strength of faith” at me has been disconcerting. I hadn’t wanted to be all these things- I wanted weak and coddled. I wanted people to call me, look out for me and check in on me, over and over. Not resume normal process because they thought I was fine, even if I looked it.

Two, I have been unforgiving. To me, it is not okay anymore to be emotionally stunted. People who claim they don’t know what to say or come and skirt around the topic awkwardly- well that is simply not good enough. As per your role in life, if I expect something from you, by now we are at the point where you must also deliver. It isn’t ok to vanish. Radio silence post a friend losing her baby is a not allowed. And no, it doesnt matter at this point what you are going through. For those 3 minutes (or a few more) it is your turn to be there for me. Just like I would drop everything to be there for you if you ever, God Forbid lost your child, an idea which I hope you never have to go remotely near, ever. Normally, I would shout/confront/deal. This time I had nothing. To a normal person that is scary because when you have nothing left to say, well, then there is really nothing left to say.

The three month mark is a few days away. The doctor told me we can try for another baby after a 3 month break, if we still want to. Maybe the last extent of my inner healing has been connected to this date. Maybe post April 15, I will be fine and all that got rubbled in my reactions will miraculously rebuild itself because I will in one sense, feel whole again. I don’t know. What I do know is that I have lost a couple of relationships which meant a lot to me and which I am not, currently, at all in the mood to rebuild. I also lost a lot of my sense of self- I reacted in ways that were alien to me and which threw me off in their intensity. The damage that ensued was not anything I could control and for once I was ok to let it be damanged without immediately trying to fix it. I am much better now I think. I started doing those things which are inherently me almost automatically at some point. I was holding back, I could feel it but somewhere along the process, those impulses returned. Some peace was made, some stuff still lies there untouched. Collateral damage is an unncessary painful thing, yes, but it shows you so much more of who you ought to be, should be, could be, can be.


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9 thoughts on “Collateral Damage”

  1. a friend of mine recently lost two twins immediately after giving birth to them. the couple had been trying to conceive for a long time now. Needless to say, their loss and yours are monumental and only Allah can heal your pain. This is a loss that the Holy Prophet ( May Allah’s peace and blessings be on him) faced as well. And his grief has been well documented too. You will be in my prayers. I pray for your happiness and your strength. Ameen.

  2. My cousin’s husband was gunned down some weeks ago and when I went to see her, I didn’t know what to say. Maybe some of your friends/close ppl feel that. It’s such a sad situation you are left speechless..I don’t know if I make sense but some people don’t deal well with tragedy. Deep down though we all need support and though we may heal in our own time, we need shoulders to cry on. May your wounds heal soon.

    1. Im so sorry for your cousins loss. Honestly I dont really buy that a person can have nothing to say. Even saying you have nothing to say is having something to say and can be enough. I am talking more about rhe effort here though. Sometimes a hug is enough. Sometimes just being there is enough and sometimes none of it is and actual words are needed. My point is that you have to fulfill that need. However it best suits the person you are doing it for.

  3. Something that I read when going through my own loss, and it weirdly made sense to me as soon as I’d read it:

    “Life and death, energy and peace, if i stop today it was still worth it… The pains that have burned me and scarred my soul, it was worth it for having been allowed to walk where I’ve walked. Which was to hell on earth, heaven on earth, back again, into, under, far in between, through it, in it and above…”
    Gia Marie Carangi

  4. When I was pregnant I didn’t know what losing a fetus would mean, it was just that – fetus. It’s only after I gave birth that I realized what a colossal damage miscarriage is, especially if you know what sustaining a life is like. I am sorry for your loss. You don’t have to brave about it. You should cry and snuggle under covers with the ones you love, give charity and toss adoring looks to your two beautiful, healthy children.
    So many warm wishes and duaas for you all, especially the two who are waving at you from heaven above.

  5. I almost felt the post was aimed at me despite that you and I are complete strangers. I am terrible with dealing with tragedies. When one is inflicted upon me, I retract into the quietest of places. My best friend lost her older sister in a car accident a few months ago. She was only 23 and married for just over a year. I think I almost hated myself for uttering false words of hope and patience to my friend. I wish I could’ve just stayed quiet. Maybe cry with her, but mostly quiet. Huddled together in a corner.

    I wish I could tell if my best friend of 8 years wanted to talk about her pain or if she wanted to be distracted and reminded of happy times. After reading this post I wonder if I failed her.

    So I just want you to know that I am sitting here and though I can not comprehend your loss, every time I visit your blog, I mourn with you silently.

    1. Hmm. It isnt only about the mourning you know. I personally dont like that word. Its just about the being there. Everyone has a different status your life. From some people even an sms is a lot because they dont figure on that radar but the closer you are, I feel the more responsbility you have to be there. And not necessarily in person. A friend – a close friend – just couldnt come to see me and I kept missing her calls- so she started sending food with notes everyday. It really made me day. Another one, who wasnt here, would send me voice notes or screen shots of funny things-

      By writing this I dont think I was saying that everyone has to be one way I was saying that the responsbility is the persons to figure out what way they CAN be. Maybe all your best friend needs is you to pop in randomly right now. Or maybe she needs to cry at 2am with you hanging on the phone. I dont know. Only you know that and yes it is upto you to figure it out because she is the one who needs you now and she needs to know you are there.

      Ps : this is how I feel. Personally 🙂 Disclaimer. I expect too much from people who claim to be mine. There I said it.

      1. and you have every right to expect as much as need be from people you consider yours… this post hit me right in the feels… I too have given up on a very special relationship because the other person is just not putting in what I think she needs to– I’m done and feeling pretty okay with that..

        hang in there, allah main will be kind 🙂 he always is

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