This afternoon I went for a nice quiet walk down to the lake. Okay fine, it's really a large storm sewer reservoir, but it's big enough that you can pretend it's a lake - especially when there are ducks, geese and turtles regularly paddling about in it. And some days pretending a reservoir is a lake is a good thing, I've found.
Anyway, feeling the finally warm breeze on my face and hearing a chorus of bird chirps was very therapeutic. I hadn't realized how silent the winter skies were. I forget every year until the weather warms up and the birds make their way back to fill the air with their trills and chirps.
I made two passes around the reservoir before heading back home. It was actually getting hot, plus I kept passing a woman and her baby who were walking the same circuit as me, only in reverse. We passed each other three times before I decided that the heat coupled with the awkwardness of finding 3.6 seconds of witty banter to shoot back at her each time our paths crossed was impeding my ability to enjoy my outing to its fullest.
Sue me. Sometimes I'm antisocial. She seemed really nice (she was the one who made the first joke on our second pass) and I'll admit that a little part of me thought it might be interesting to strike up a real conversation with her just in case she might be interested in a regular afternoon walking buddy. But then I thought about how we'd inevitably start talking about kids, given that she had one in a stroller with her.
I just didn't feel like it. Sometimes talking about Thomas to strangers feels like re-cutting my C-section scar. Today I didn't have the energy for it.
So I headed home.
Sometimes it's a strange thing to have this secret sorrow. I'm always aware of Thomas when I meet someone new. I'm talking, but at the same time mentally calculating the necessity, desire or feasibility of working him into the conversation.
Does everyone need to know about him? I guess not. But it feels like they should. I feel like his earthly ambassador sometimes - his PR rep, as it were.
Women with strollers clearly have children. They don't need to advertise it. Short of pushing around an empty stroller with his picture in it, the only thing I can do is forcibly bring him up. Speak his name. Tell his story.
And watch faces go pale and eyes widen.
I hate that part. I hate that part a LOT.
It's quite amazing what goes on inside the brain of someone who has lost a child. I never knew. I never knew that their minds never rested for even one tiny second.
It looked like I was out for a happy afternoon stroll, but it was a whole different story on the inside. I was happy - I still am on some level. But the fact remains that I have a sorrowful secret I didn't share today.
It's a good thing you can't get fired when you have the kind of PR job I have.