The Girlie has a scheduled checkup this morning with her pediatrician. For many reasons– the main one being that our pediatrician is brilliant and generous and amazing– we continue to visit Children’s Hospital in DC. Which means that, every few months, we make the familiar drive in the same car, retracing the route we used to travel every single day for three months to visit Will in the ICU. This seems to be a good and healthy process of simultaneously remembering and letting go, but it is taxing, too. We’re usually somber as we park in the same garage, stare at the same walls and halls, and check in at the security desk once again. Though we move slowly, the memories rush by at the speed of light. We always see familiar faces, and are chagrined to realize that we’re not remembered with the same poignancy as we remember others. We see fresh faces, especially noting those of newborns, or of expectant parents heading to an ultrasound or consultation, and we realize that life continues on, for better and for worse. I feel very old and very weary as I acknowledge what I never did before: that this place has a basement, and a morgue.
This visit seems especially weighty, as it will likely be the last one before the anniversary of Will’s death. I’ve been anticipating this important date for months now, yet I’m feeling a bit flat. I guess I was expecting to have some emotionally upwelling catharsis, but I don’t see one on the horizon. I just see September 12 getting closer by the day, and I’m bereft of any poetic impulses or important thoughts to share. I’m not even as sad as I’d like to be, and I’m worried that something is wrong with me. But as a good friend reminded me, I should just experience the feelings which come, and not try to have specific feelings on certain days. “Feelings,” she says, “sometimes don’t follow the calendar.”