The last time we saw Barbara, she was being rushed to the hospital by Heather, Dianne's daughter. In spite of the fact that Heather got Barbara to the hospital as quickly as she could, it was to no avail. Barbara had miscarried.
Now Barbara was back at Dianne's house in bed resting. Dianne was due back from convention tomorrow and after that Barbara would be free to return home. Heather had been a model child after Barbara's miscarriage and had shown a new maturity level that was refreshing, to say the least. Heather no longer wanted to have anything to do with Josh since he had shown his cowardly side in the miscarriage crisis. She had been taking tender care of Barbara, bringing her trays with such tempting meals that Barbara had idly wondered how Heather managed to afford buying so much take out. The truth was that Heather was actually quite a good cook and planned to go to a culinary school when she graduated from high school.
Now, as Barbara sat in bed, gazing out the window, she struggled with the conflicting emotions she had had since the miscarriage. The most disturbing emotion was a feeling of overwhelming relief that it was all over. She found it disturbing that she felt this way...shouldn't she be mourning the baby more? Barbara did experience grief and sadness as well; she had just started to feel connected to the baby. But the marital problems she had been having with Brad had made her wonder if she wanted to remain married to him after the baby was born. She firmly believed that children deserved parents who loved one another and lived together to raise their children. Now the baby was no longer an issue; Barbara was free to leave Brad if she so chose. But she wasn't sure how she felt about Brad now. She had not yet told him about the miscarriage.
Another emotion was guilt. Barbara felt very guilty for lifting those catalog boxes. The doctor had explained that the fetus probably was not viable anyway and that lifting the boxes had not made much of a difference. But Barbara felt guilt all the same. And even more guilt because she felt so much relief, it was almost as if she had killed her child by not wanting it enough.
How did one go about telling people about this? She hadn't told too many people about the pregnancy, so at least she would be spared sending out a bunch of notes. Barbara remembered a card she had gotten once from a girl who was just one month pregnant joyfully announcing their "expectations." She had felt amused that the card companies actually made a card for people to announce pregnancies at all...it seemed there was a card for every occasion. Barbara had received cards from people announcing the adoption of children, the amicable divorce of couples, the acrimonious divorce of couples, and deaths of dogs and cats! All made by prominent card companies!
Sometimes Barbara felt that the card companies grasped at any straw to sell a card. It almost made Brad's stubborn insistence that Valentine's Day was a "Hallmark Holiday" make sense. But Barbara knew this was just Brad being cheap as usual, and lazy to boot. He just didn't want to go out of his way to choose a card, much less fork out the money for one, much less buy his wife flowers and candy to make her feel special! Barbara thought gloomily of the way he always said, "I don't need a holiday to tell my wife that I love her." Yeah right, thought Barbara, you don't need ANY day to tell me you love me...you just don't bother at all!
Dear, dear, this wouldn't do at all...thinking of Brad just required too much effort, too much wasted emotion. Barbara tried to turn her thoughts in another direction. Oh, yes, how should she inform her friends of what had happened?
Barbara picked at the blanket on the bed as her imagination began creating a card for her occasion...how would one make a miscarriage card? One of the babies from Baby Firsts with a big "X" marked through it? The "Uh Oh!" from the retired Everyday Expressions stamped below? How morbid! Barbara thought, Why can't I stop making these weird cards in my head? I must be really such an awful person! I don't deserve to be a mother!
Barbara rolled over in bed and stifled a sob. She didn't want to disturb Heather. Heather had been a brick. Barbara didn't want to be a burden on anybody, she just wanted to be alone with her grief.
All of a sudden, Heather burst into the room with a tray. "I've had about enough of this!" she said, "It wasn't your fault that you miscarried...millions of women have had at least one miscarriage! You need to get back to what makes Barbara Barbara." And with that, Heather plopped the tray in Barbara's lap and left the room.
Barbara gazed, stunned, down at the contents of the tray. On the tray was a pile of cardstock, cut into card sized pieces, bits of cardstock in smaller sizes, a black ink pad, a set of pastels, blender pens, a paper trimmer, scissors and "Coast to Coast"; a set that Barbara had been lusting after but had not bought yet. She gazed at the lighthouses, so serene. Barbara thought how wonderful it would be to travel to the ocean, to one of these lighthouses, and to sit listening to the waves. She could almost hear the roar of the sea and smell the salt air. She picked up the stamp marked "Oregon," inked it and stamped on some naturals white cardstock. The thrill was still there when she lifted the stamp to see the perfect image beneath. Barbara decided that this set was perfect to make cards to send to her friends. The cards would be simple, tasteful, and there would be a brief note written within to let her friends know of the ordeal she had been through. She opened the pastels, picked up a blender pen, and began to paint.
Will Barbara leave Brad? Will she be able to support herself on just her SU! demonstratorship, or will she have to get a day gig? Will Dianne let her stay on after she gets back from convention? And do we know that Dianne IS coming back from convention or did the obviously unhinged Sara murder her? Stay tuned for the next exciting episode of...the Tearing Edge!