Monday, March 29, 2010

I never prepared for this

But then again, who does? Who can?

My dad is in the hospital. Three weeks tomorrow. Last weekend he nearly died from septic shock after somehow contracting pneumonia, a blood infection, and a urinary tract infection.

He was this close to being released. This close to being back home in his chair in the window. In his own bed. In his little garden checking for spring buds.

Now sometimes he doesn't even know who I am. His blue eyes stare blankly back at me without so much as a flicker of recognition. This morning he thought he was talking to his mother on the phone. She's been dead for 44 years. He was talking to my mom.

I'm not prepared for this.

The staff seems nonplussed by his confusion. They brush it off and hint vaguely that it should go away once his body finishes fighting so hard.

His brief moments of lucidity keep me sane. But they're few and far between and until we get definitive word from his ever-elusive doctor that this will go away, I can barely breathe.

Three weeks ago tomorrow was Thomas' birthday. We spent it in the ER watching my dad gasp for breath in the morning, then cleaning up the mess the paramedics made of my mom and dad's house in the afternoon.

I'm not equipped for this.

I'm just not.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


To the moon and back, little one. To the moon and back.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Five years

Close your eyes,
Have no fear,
The monsters gone,
He's on the run and your daddy's here,

Beautiful, beautiful,
Beautiful Boy,

Before you go to sleep,
Say a little prayer,
Every day in every way,
It's getting better and better,

Beautiful, beautiful,
Beautiful Boy,

Out on the ocean sailing away,
I can hardly wait,
To see you to come of age,
But I guess we'll both,
Just have to be patient,
Yes it's a long way to go,
But in the meantime,

Before you cross the street,
Take my hand,
Life is just what happens to you,
While your busy making other plans,

Beautiful, beautiful,
Beautiful Boy,

~ John Lennon

With all the love my heart can hold, birthday kisses and hugs to heaven, my sweet, sweet little boy. I miss you and I'll love you forever and a day.
Love, Mommy

Monday, March 08, 2010


I glanced up at the commercial and saw a family sitting on impossibly clean white couches. A child nestled up to her mother, the mother wearing a Mona Lisa smile of contentment. A Dad watched television across the room on an equally clean white couch with another child. Or maybe it was a dog.

I was fixated on the mother.

It was jut a commercial. She was paid to look serene. But it made me think about how different my life is than it could have been. And I've been thinking about that a lot lately. Not surprisingly.

I have a lot of joy in my life. But I am not who I was.

I recently read about a woman who was told, upon losing her child, that she would be okay again. She would be happy. But never like she was.

Truer words.

I will never be happy like I was. I will never, ever be able to see things the way I used to. Everything is filtered through a lens of loss.

And some days, particularly lovely sunny ones when I want to shed the weight of my sorrows like a child taking off its shoes and walking in spring grass for the first time after a long winter, it's hard to know I'll be fitted with this lens for the rest of my life.

It makes me tired. But also determined to continue to fight for whatever happiness is still left for me.

It's why I dug out my wedding tiara and an old fake pearl necklace and wore them to my sister's Oscar party last night. Along with a sweatshirt and jeans.

It's why I'm crocheting the world's largest, gaudiest afghan for our bed, which I'm aiming to have finished by tomorrow night. A little extra comfort is a good idea for tomorrow, I think.

It's why I have a shelf of seedlings basking in the sun by the sliding glass doors in the kitchen, and why I've been dreaming of digging in the dirt for weeks.

It's why I'm so grateful that more than 6400 people are signed up to do Random Acts of Kindness tomorrow.

I miss my boy. I miss the life we almost had. I miss being a mother to a living child and all the joys and sorrows that life would have held. Sticky kisses, crayon art, dandelion bouquets. I miss it all.

And I am not the same.

But I am fighting hard for happy.

Friday, March 05, 2010

It's like Monday all week long...

Today at a light I found myself stopped behind some big brown minivan/SUV type thing with a cute little round bumper sticker that read, "I love my twins!" in happy red lettering.

And all I could do was shake my head, look to the sky, smile and admit defeat.

You go me, God. You got me good.

I'm so wracked with anxiety over my dad's health that I have to concentrate on remembering how to walk. Breathe. Blink. I'm hurting from missing my little boy so much that I'm surprised I'm not actually bleeding.

So, you know, good to know some happy family out there loves their twins and feels the need to tell every car that happens to be driving behind them about their familial joy. Couldn't have lived another moment without knowing that the brown minivan/SUV people love those rascally little twins.

I would have loved mine too.

There's never a good time of year for someone you love to be seriously ill. Never. But right now? My God, my mental resources are so depleted from the double whammy, I don't know what to do with myself.

So I've been walking. Somewhat obsessively. I found a site that lets you map your routes and then post them in a training log that adds up your accumulating kilometers and keeps track of the number of calories you've burned to date. This is the perfect thing for someone who desperately needs to fixate on something she can control.

11.6km so far this week.

If only I could outrun my fear and sorrow I'd be set.

Monday, March 01, 2010

An open letter

Dear March,

So, you're back. You unpredictably cruel month, you.

You dangle the promise of spring before our hungry, winter-weary eyes with your thaws and balmy winds. And then you mock our need for your kindness with unexpected winter storms.

You're a sonofabitch.

I used to love you. I did. I loved the smell of your air, rich with earthy dampness. I loved your melting, dirty snow running in rivers down the streets. I loved your rushing, swollen rivers straining at their banks. I used to breathe you in deeply, marvel at your promise, urge you on eagerly knowing the treasures you held in store.

I was one of your biggest supporters.


And now you are just something to be endured. You are April's ugly, mean-spirited neighbour. We can't avoid you, so we just smile through gritted teeth and wait you out, hoping you'll move but knowing you never will. You'll be here, year after year after year.

You are endless, March.

I don't have to like you anymore, but I won't let you beat me. I will stand up to your cruelty and replace it with kindness. I will take your gloom and throw light on it. I will bundle up against your chill and stay warm. All month long, you bastard.

I will meet you head on and win. Not because I don't have any choice - but because I have chosen to fight.

There's nothing more you can take from me, but even though I'm empty-handed and broken-hearted you still haven't won.

I just thought you should know that.

Until next year,