With my sister’s visit reminding me of her life-saving visit last year, and also coinciding with the one-year anniversary of Will’s homecoming, I’m feeling a bit of chronological displacement. Which is not only distracting, but a little fearful as well: when I try to remember what our lives were like last year, I can’t recall much. I remember time rushing by, the feeling of swimming against a strong current with a logjam of worries waiting upstream, but but the days on my mental calendar are dark and their details are exceedingly fuzzy. I suppose that much of this can be attributed to stress and sleep deprivation and general forgetfulness (I don’t imagine I’d ever have been able to remember much about the events of a year previous at any point in my life).
I do remember being very busy with the care of two kids, and with coordinating medical appointments, and trying to keep up with part-time jobs, but I can’t imagine what I did all day. We had our groceries delivered, and our meds, too. We had home visits from nurses and therapists. We had friends come by to help out while I completed projects around the house and indulged in the escapist pleasures of three-hour visits to the laundromat. We had lots of support, and lots of help, and the best folks imaginable helping to expedite our hospital visits and medical appointments. So I can’t quite understand why when I read my blog entries from July and August I sound so frantic, overwhelmed, and crazy.
I’ve had many friends describe the early days of caring for infants in similar ways. And yet, that is what is so troubling in retrospect– I was so focused on the immediate needs of diapering and cleaning and sleeping and eating that I’m afraid I didn’t realize just how high the stakes were for my son. Or maybe I did, and reasoned that the only thing I could do to help him was to care for his immediate needs– to do all I could to infinitesimally tip the scales in his favor. In any event, I look back now rather embarrassed at my naivete, with an unexplainable longing that I would have been been more anxious and worried than I was (though this would have obviously done no good). At the same time, I’m so deeply grateful that we got to have him come home: that we got to know him, and got to love on him, and that he got to know us, too. Such was our topsy-turvy world that I don’t think I even realized at the time just how abnormal it was that we didn‘t bring him home for the first three months of his life; that it was unnatural for us to effusively thank the hospital staff for letting us take home our own son. But looking back now, I wish I’d have been less dutiful and more engaging. I wish I had dug deeper to love him even more, that I’d savored every minute of every day, that I’d seen the signs that he might not be with us for long.
I wish I had just one more day.
Posted in: grief