If you've ever read an infertility blog, you are most likely familiar with the following quote from Laura Bush:
The English language lacks the words to mourn an absence. For the loss of a parent, grandparent, spouse, child or friend, we have all manner of words and phrases, some helpful some not. Still we are conditioned to say something, even if it is only “I’m sorry for your loss.” But for an absence, for someone who was never there at all, we are wordless to capture that particular emptiness. For those who deeply want children and are denied them, those missing babies hover like silent ephemeral shadows over their lives. Who can describe the feel of a tiny hand that is never held?
If you ever listened to the radio in 2012, you are certainly familiar with the song "Call Me Maybe" by Carly Rae Jepsen.
I realized this week when I heard "Call Me Maybe" for the millionth time that she highlights in her lyrics the same problem that Mrs. Bush points out so eloquently. This is incredibly silly, but stick with me here. She sings, "Before you came into my life, I missed you so bad, you should know that I missed you so, so bad." That phrasing bothers me everytime I hear it, because before someone came into your life, how could you "miss" them? You didn't know them yet!
For the first time, though, it struck me that Carly Rae is just a victim of the same problem that Laura Bush describes. There's no word that works properly in that sentence, and "missing" someone is as close as it gets.
Thanks, pop radio, for that insight into infertility and language. I shall now sing "Call Me Maybe" in my car with slightly less shame and irritation. :)