Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The unberable lightness of being

It's not like I'm walking on sunshine and floating two feet off the ground or anything. But this morning it dawned on me that life is sort of good right now. Uncomplicated in a way it hasn't been in, well, in virtually my entire life, really.

We're not trying to have a baby anymore. So my body has ceased to be a science experiment/means to an end/poorly constructed baby-making machine. It's just my body again. Arms, legs, graying head and a busted uterus that can just fucking relax now, since it's not going to be called into action ever again.

If you listen closely, you can probably hear it sighing happily from all the way over there.

I pay little to no attention to bodily fluids. I have no idea what my temperature is on any given morning. I've stopped shelling out a fortune on sticks designed to be peed upon. I no longer mark the passage of time in 28-day units. I don't have to decide if just one more surgery or fertility treatment will do the trick. I no longer live in fear worrying about what one more loss would do to my already-fractured brain. And, perhaps best of all, the end of a cycle doesn't shatter me to my very core like it used to. Every single time.

People are no longer depending upon my body to produce a child, grandchild, cousin, niece/nephew. No one's crossing their fingers or praying or hoping or giving us knowing glances. The pressure cooker existence I once boiled away in has cooled to a lovely lukewarm bath.

The guilt is still there. It will always be there. I couldn't produce a living child, grandchild, niece/nephew. But at least the trying is over. We can all just agree that I failed and move on.

Or I can agree that I failed and everyone else can be mad at me for calling myself a failure.

Either way, we all move on.

And then there's the other shoe. The one that dropped on January 4, 2011 when I got the call that Dad had died. He got horribly sick (sicker than he'd ever been, which is saying a lot since he'd been in fragile health for 27 years), and after tenaciously battling a host of medical issues that would have immediately felled a lesser (or less stubborn) man, he quietly slipped away in the night.

I no longer panic when I hear the phone ring. I don't dwell on what it's going to be like "after" because I'm living it now. My stomach doesn't clench in anxiety when I pull up to their house. I don't have to wonder about what kind of day he's having - if he'll fall, if he'll die in front of me, if he'll be so confused he won't know who I am. I don't ache as I watch him suffer unthinkable fatigue, pain and indignities. Most of all, he is no longer suffering.

As I said yesterday, I am breathing these days. The good kind of breaths. Better than I've breathed in almost as long as I can remember.

My life is more about me than it has been in a very long time.

I'm not 100% carefree or without responsibility. Let's not get ahead of ourselves, here. But the fact is that I am living a more peaceful life right now. Work is plentiful enough, My Beloved is still beloved, my mom is in relatively good health, and I passed my annual physical with flying colours (which is astounding given the grief eating I did during 2011, not to mention all the stress).

Sorrow is still an ever present interloper, but it's a snarling beast I've mostly learned how to tame. I know to lure it into its cage when I need relief, and let it out to be walked when it needs to stretch its legs.

We have it mostly figured out, me and Sorrow.

So life is just...life these days. Quieter, less complicated and much prettier than I've seen it in a very long time.

I could get used to this.


loribeth said...

I love this post, Kristin, because it so perfectly describes the appeal of childless/free living, after so many years of struggle. Yes, there is still guilt and sorrow at times. But there's also relief, and peace, and other good stuff too. I am so happy that you've been able to reach this point in your life, and I wish you many more days like this one to come. : ) (P.S. my word verification is "lining" -- as in "silver," maybe? lol)

the misfit said...

You know, that sounds pretty good - and certainly much deserved. Happy new year!

areyoukiddingme said...

Ah, that sounds lovely. Sorrow is a part of life, and when it's overpowering, it's intolerable. But when it's just there, and there's room for peace and happiness too - well moderation in everything is key.

Jillian said...

I get what you're saying. When the wounds stop bleeding and the scars heal, they can be kinda ok. They are the things that track your evolution. They seem to allow you to see the depth and breadth of life without having to label them good or bad. And the peace is good. Amongst the unthinkable there can be good. I don't understand it, I marvel at it and am really so happy that this is where you are right now. Long may it last xox

Beruriah said...

What everyone else said. I really, really admire your approach to the world and life. I hope you can reflect similarly, and even better, next year.

Hennifer said...

I am happy to see 2012 starting off right with the lightness in your life. Glad to see you again.

Valerie said...

I really resonated with so much of what you said. I'm 49 now, I'm learning to accept that I will never have another child (our first and only died at 3 days) 6 years ago next week. I'm grateful not to be poked and prodded and examined any more. I'm grateful not to be in the thick of the hoping/despairing cycle that happened every month. And yet... I had an extra period the other month and know that I'm on the threshold of peri-menopause, and that still feels like another phase to weather, another stage of grief to endure. it's a complex proces that's for sure. Thanks for shairng where youa re at, and I'm glad for any spark of light and peace that comes your way- you deserve it!
By the way, I understand what you mean about having 'failed' all too well, but some other part of me doesn't buy it. There has never been a 100% fertility/live birth rate, and there probably never will be. We're part of the human tapestry of diversity, and I want to embrace that difference. We're not alone.

JustHeather said...

What a beautiful and sad post. Thank you for sharing.

Here from Stirrup Queens' Friday roundup.

Hannah Rose said...

I am so sorry for your losses. It's good to know we're not alone and others "get it." I have found so much encouragement in the blogging community. I'd love to have you follow along on my blog as well; www.roseandherlily.blogspot.com

Gluten-Free Gratefully, Kim said...

You. Write. Beautifully. I have two grown girls, and an almost 9-yr-old boy because it took me six years (and one lost) to make him. The way you write about sorrow and disappointment, I understand. The way you write about watching a boy, I understand. I waited so very long for him that I do watch him that way, even though he's mine. I wish you many more peaceful days ahead. God bless.