Moving, moving, moving. Always moving forward. Which is, of course, the only direction that makes any sense.
Saturday we took two carloads of Thomas' baby things to a maternity home in a neighbouring city. All those precious odds and sods and sweet little things we were lovingly given, and purchased ourselves, with such hope and love and optimism.
But it's good. It is.
It started the week before last when I took the crib, a play mat and a bag of smaller items to the church for a needy family who'd just had twins. I cried all the way home. And then I sobbed face-down on the couch for another 20 minutes once I finally reached the safety and comfort of my quiet little house.
Father G. asked if I wanted to have the mother contact me and arrange for pick-up or drop-off, but I just couldn't. I want the things gone - off to homes with living babies to use them - but I can't know specifically where they've gone. I can't bear to see the family whose babies will lie snug in my dead son's crib while I'm sitting at Mass trying not to hate God. And I can't bear for them to see me. And know.
He was, as always, incredibly kind and understanding, engineering a drop off/pick up plan that would ensure that none of us would have to meet.
And that's how it began. The great purge.
The last load, just a small one now, will go off to another maternity home in my old hometown sometime next week.
And it's as it should be.
The most sentimental items I just couldn't part with are safely tucked away. Knitted items lovingly made by my Mom, stuffed toys chosen by my sister, and a few things I bought and just couldn't send away. They're still here.
And now it feels right. Clean. Peaceful.
I'm sure, in time, even the remaining items will be whittled down to just a handful of things - especially if any new nieces or nephews find their way into our family - but for the time being, I'm holding onto those last few dear bits and pieces.
It was hard to get to this point. It has been an unbearably long road. But once I found myself standing at the end of it, it just made sense. One day while My Beloved was dutifully cleaning out the cat boxes, I happened to turn my gaze to the disassembled crib leaning against the opposite basement wall where it's been for the last four years, and just knew.
Just like that. I knew.
It's not beyond the realm of possibility that we'll find ourselves with a magical, healthy pregnancy that blossoms into a living child at the end of it. But I hold out no hope for that now. Not really.
And I'm okay. I am.
I'm slowly embracing this new life in small, quiet ways. And I'm coming to terms with what a childless future will mean to us. And what it will look like. Even all the way at the end of it.
I was talking to a friend who is childless by choice the other day, and it was like what I imagine the first breath of pure oxygen is like for a firefighter in the midst of a smoke-choked room.
My stories? Where will they go?
"Write a book", she said.
And my things? What about my things?
"Donate them to a museum."
And company when I'm old?
"Make very, very good friends with your nieces and nephews. And remember, there's no guarantee that even if you had kids they'd want to visit you in the home."
She then sagely pointed out that there's also no guarantee I'll even get old. Bad shit happens, as we all know. All too well.
There are other ways to live. There is a life out there - even if there are no living children in it - filled with possibilities, and laughter, and hope, and love. And, most importantly, meaning.
There is still worth and meaning to my life. I'm positive of this. I believe raising children is probably one of the most fulfilling and meaningful things a human can do. And one of the most important.
But it's not all there is. And those of us who have no choice but to prove it? Well, I guess that's just what we'll do then.
And in the meantime, there's a new kitten in the house. Filling it with chaos, ungodly early wake-up calls, deafening purrs and endless entertainment.
He's not a substitute for a baby. He wasn't brought into the house for that.
But he is, I realize, part of the process. He is here because I am carrying on. Moving instead of standing still. Looking forward instead of behind. And searching for new joys and new happiness in whatever form they happen to take.
Life takes you where it wants you to be. The secret is being open to whatever newness it holds, and to resist the urge to claw your way back to the past and stay there, mired in the remnants of a phantom life that no longer exists.
I can't bear living like that anymore.
I'm ready for the newness.
Dibley, June 26/09 - 9 weeks old