“Woman of steel”?

25 Sep

Ok, so I have a friend who just cracks me up…we'll call her Yvette (LOL)…ya know since that's her name and all.  She's a hoot…one of those friends who you call when you need a laugh, when you are in the hospital with gallstones and need a sitter, or just need a weekend away with the girls. She's my little firecracker…redheaded and all.  She’s got three gorgeous kids and a very tall husband.  But for some reason, she seems amazed by ME…me…why me…


Every time, or just about damn near, we talk or email there’s always a reference to me being the “woman of steel”…and it’s not ‘cause my rock hard ass either.  To be quite honest it bothered me at the beginning. I’m so not made of steel, if I were my pregnancy issues would just bounce off of me with a cute little “ting” sound, I’d need an oil can instead of a Smirnoff Triple Black to get me “lubed-up” and come on…I’m not really a silver fan, more of a gold and diamonds girl. But I knew what she meant, she thinks of me as a strong person able to handle any and everything thrown at me.  And I finally realized that in some ways, she may be a little right.


Now, before you think I’m sitting here tootin’ my own horn of steel, let me tell you that I’m not that strong.  I’ve thought about many unpleasant things…some that would probably scare the be-Jesus out of my family, but it was that same friends and family who would be scared to know this who pulled me out of that.  I have horrible days, days of the pity party, days of the wanting to be in bed crying, days of watching “A Baby Story” on TLC crying, days of google’ing, days of reading pregnancy and loss blogs/message boards crying…do you see a pattern? 


Even with these crappy days I know I have to be here for Kenna and that I’m here for a reason.  God is not punishing me for sneaking out of my house in Jr. High with Jennifer, God is not punishing me for cussing like a sailor; in no way shape or form is he punishing me.  It’s actually a blessing because I know there is a Heaven now, I know that I have angels looking out for us and I know that I’m here for our daughter so she knows these things too.  How many times have I heard the whole “what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger” and my favorite “God only gives us what we can handle”.  I agree with those, completely.  I still have my moments, my crappy days and I think I’m allowed to have those on occasion.  I am not the strongest, I’m not the only “woman of steel”, I’m not the ONLY woman who has lost babies/children before, and there are millions of us out here. 


I would not be the steel-y person I am today without my family and friends helping me along.  I’m pretty sure I’d be tucked away nicely in a pretty off-white padded room.  You are only as strong as the people you acquaint yourself with, that, my dear friends/family, says a lot about you too.  So, thank you.  I may actually be a woman of steel, but that is only because of my support system of steel.  Love to you all!


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10 Responses to ““Woman of steel”?”

  1. Yvette Ivy September 25, 2006 at 5:29 pm #

    Hola, chica! "I squish your head!" hehehe…No matter what you say, you ARE the woman of steel, and you will always be one of my heroes. Love ya, babe.

  2. Tami September 25, 2006 at 9:24 pm #
  3. Jojoko September 29, 2006 at 11:22 pm #

    My dear Mel, I know exactly what you are talking about being called "Woman of Steel". The thing is, you're a human being with emotions, feelings, etc. I got so tired of people telling me"You're so strong" after Heather died. I was anything but strong. My insides were crumbling. They had no idea that I was crawling into bed as soon as I got home, or wandered aimlessly through the grocery store because I couldn't remember simple things that I had stopped for. There were many days I would hear a song on the radio that Heather liked and cry all the way home from work. After 14 1/2 years, I still have those days. Yes, I had 17 years with her but, being the selfish person I am, I wanted at least 57 more, at which time (or before) I would go first, the way I always thought it was suppose to be. I didn't realize what an impact she had on people until nearly 1000 showed up at her funeral !! I still haven't figured out how God decided she would be better off with him than me. She had so many plans for her life, good plans.
    I feel so blessed with all the "grands". All 7 are so unique and precious. I feel blessed about a lot of things. I have read "you should be thankful for what you have and not pity yourself for what you've lost". Well, I don't what lamebrain came up with that, but if I want to have an occational pity party, it's because I need it. I am extremely thankful for what I have. I guess I'm a slow learner because I keep getting stuck in the grieving process. After working in the mental health field for 12 years, you'd think I'd be able to find what other lamebrains call "closure". Well, I decided long ago, that is not an option for me. I don't want closure with Heather. I still think about her daily. Yes, the years have made it easier to carry on but when I think of certain things about her, I laugh, because she was so funny, but then sometimes I cry.
    Please don't try to play out the labels wellmeaning friends and family members put on us. There are few people to whom we show our true selves. And I can understand why people told (tell) you and me we're their heros. They have never been through the pain of losing a child. Just six months before we lost Heather, some other girls her age were killed in a car accident, and Heather came home from work crying, and I just held her really close and told her I just couldn't imagine ever losing a child. I guess it was one of those things we all think happens to everyone else. Did I ever open the doors for faith testing. 2 months later Nat was shot and robbed at an ATM, and, thank God, survived. I thought that was the worse thing I'd ever have to live through.
    Yvette is a very good friend to you. I know she has been there for you through everything. And you can be her hero, but don't try to live up to expectations that aren't humanly possible. Let it out. SCREAM if you need to.
    I still have a lot of trouble with the saying you mentioned…"God doesn't give us more than we can handle". I've heard that my whole life but I'm still having a difficult time getting a handle on losing her. I guess it's a good thing I went through 2 years of grief therapy. Just think what a mess I'd be without it. Acyually, in all honesty, I'm not sure I'd be here. I was in so much pain, even though I still had you and Nat and Michelle, your dad, grandkids nad the super large family I had, I still had that longing in my heart that just kept hurting. There were many days I thought I was just in too much pain to go on. But then I'd think about Nat's kids growing up with Suzie as their gr'mother, and I couldn't have that, so I guess you could say Suzie saved my life !! Ironic, huh? Anyway, I'm glad now I'm still here.
    Your dad has been after me for years to write a book, but I really didn't think I was going to start tonight !! I know this is long and you remember most of what I just wrote since you went through a lot of it with me, but, I just felt you needed to hear it again so you can relax and be you. If everyone else wants to think of you as Superwoman, that's OK. I just want you to be sure and work through what you're feeling, without hesitating because you might let someone down.

  4. Yvette Ivy October 1, 2006 at 7:35 pm #

    After I read this comment a few times, I figured out who the writer must be, and let me just say that she has my sympathy and admiration, too. It is plain that she loves you, and can relate in ways that few people can. I don't want you to think, Mel, that the reason I call you the Woman of Steel is because I think you don't have emotions or feel the pain and overwhelming grief of losing someone you love: a child, your child, no less. I think you're the Woman of Steel because you didn't let it break you. You tried again, and you had Kenna. And you tried again, and you lost Jackson. And now you're trying to try again. That, my friend, is bravery like few of us ever exhibit in our lives.
    You and Joy both may have crawled into bed the instant that you got home and stayed there for days, or come home from the grocery store empty handed, or sat and stared at the walls, or even contemplated jumping off a bridge (for all I know), but eventually you both got up, put your clothes on, and stepped outside. I can't even imagine having that kind of fortitude. That is what makes both of you a hero to me, and to everyone who knows you.
    Even on my best days, I don't think that I handle my life with the humor and grace that you do on your worst days. Maybe I shouldn't call you the Woman of Steel. Maybe I should call you, instead, the Woman of Plastic. You bend, you crack, you stain, but you don't break. My hat is off to you, lady.

  5. MelPate October 1, 2006 at 7:42 pm #

    Vette, thank you, thank you oh so much. You have no clue how much you mean to me! I am flattered being called the Woman of Steel, it is now a "badge" I wear very proudly.

  6. Jojoko October 2, 2006 at 11:58 am #

    Mel, I hope you and Yvette didn't take my comments the wrong way. It certainly wasn't my intention to offend anyone. Perhaps I didn't word it just right. I can see where Yvette could see you the way she does. Trust me, I agree with what she says about your perseverence. And I do believe you are much braver than I am in that respect. I love you so much and it pains me to see you in this situation.
    Yvette, I remember you from Mel's wedding and I know what a great friend you have been to her. She has been so lucky to have you at her side. If I said anything to make you feel badly, I do apologize. I guess since I had lost a child I got carried away with words and feelings I had kept in for so long.
    You are both so lucky to have each other for friends. It's very difficult in life to find friends who will actually stick with you through good as well as bad or sad. I have one from highschool ( a hundred years ago) that has been there for me, and I, like Mel, don't know how I'd cope without my best friend, who unlike family, doesn't have to be there, but chooses to be.

  7. MelPate October 2, 2006 at 2:34 pm #

    Oh Joy…I was not offended in any way by your post, I totally understand your feelings. Isn't it nice to have a place like this where you can get some of those off your chest…that's why I'm here! LOL And you are totally right about Vette…she doesn't have to be here for me but yet she is anyway…thank you for posting and reading…it really means a lot to me!

  8. Jojoko October 2, 2006 at 4:58 pm #

    Cool. Sometimes I can be a little blunt, as you well know. Yes, I do enjoy writing on here and reading what you have written. Love ya.

  9. Yvette Ivy October 3, 2006 at 9:13 am #

    Joy, you didn't offend me in any way, you made me think. It had never crossed my mind before that my praise of Mel could put a burden on her to live up to my expectations. Your comments to her post gave me the opportunity to clarify to her what I really thought. You were exactly right to tell her that she doesn't have to worry about meeting other people's expectations, that she has to be true to herself and go wherever her grief takes her. She, definately, needed to hear that because she spends a lot of her time worrying about other people and not enough time worrying about herself.
    You, by the same token, should not worry that your hard won advice might offend anyone. You have experience that I go to bed and pray to God every night that I'll never have. Like I said before, you have my sympathy and admiration, too.
    And I feel badly for you that the only time we've seen each other in all these years was while I was wearing that lavender atrocity bridesmaids' dress. The other girls looked great; however, a column of purple clingy fabric topped off with enough fabric draped across my already ample chest to make a window treatment is not exactly a flattering post-partum look! LOL Dinah was a whopping 5 wks. old when Mel got married, and to say I hadn't gotten my figure back is the understatement of the century…
    Anyway, please don't think you offended anyone – this is a great place to speak your mind. Do you think I could tell Mel to her face all that sappy stuff without her punching me in the nose? LOL
    Hugs and kisses to both of you!

  10. Jojoko October 3, 2006 at 2:24 pm #

    I'm glad Mel has you for a friend. And, yes, I remember those dresses. I thought they were rather pretty for bridesmaid dresses, but you know, the bride usually picks ugly dresses so she'll look better, BUT Melanie would never do that, she didn't have to because she was already pretty. At Michelle's wedding Mel had just had McKenna a few weeks earlier & Natalie had Katie a few months earlier so they were both fighting the "prior to baby" body image. But they both looked beautiful.
    Too bad we mere mortals don't have the means for personal trainers and live in dietitions and our own workout gym like the stars do. When they have their babies and are back to a size 2 in 6 weeks, everyone acts so surprised !! If I had nothing to do but work out 8 hours a day and have someone prepare just the right foods for me, I'd be a size 2 (well, maybe a 4 or 6).
    Anyway, I'm glad you replied because I would never intentionally make anyone feel badly. I can be pretty blunt sometimes but it's probably because I have to be so nice to patients all day, I have to let my demons out somehow ;-). So, thanks for allowing me to do it here.

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