Oddly enough, I find the shit show that is American politics to be a welcome distraction sometimes. It’s like its own reality show as of late, and it’s relatively non-triggering. (I mean Hillary and Bernie and Ted and Donald aren’t going to be announcing pregnancies any time soon, amiright? Because they’re like 70. Except I guess Ivanka is pregnant with her third child. Can she please step out of the view of the camera lens? For me?) But anyway, on Tuesday night I watched some CNN coverage of the New Hampshire primaries. My favorite part? John Kasich boasting about winning in Dixville Notch, of course.
I was recently informed that tattoos can disqualify people from being buried in some Jewish cemeteries. This fact carries no significance to me personally. But I found it interesting nonetheless.
Since Matthew died, I’ve connected with another loss mom who also lost her first, a boy, about 12 years ago. The other day this loss mom texted explaining she was experiencing some anxiety regarding an upcoming event where she’d see another child who was born around the time her child died. She pondered whether this was reasonable… 12 years later. And I pondered with her. And I concluded it’s perfectly reasonable. Because there will never be a time when our children shouldn’t be here with us. Forever, we’ll each say, “He should be here.” And we’ll be correct. And this will never not hurt.
I mean, I love NFL football just as much as the next guy, but this year’s Super Bowl was pretty underwhelming in my humble opinion. The game was ugly. And I’m not a Broncos fan. In fact, the Broncos are my least favorite team, so honestly, them winning seemed pretty fitting… I did, however, enjoy Eli’s face when his brother iced the game with his two-point conversion. I also liked it when I texted AB and JVB to ask if they were watching Bruno and Beyonce, and AB replied, “We’re watching Hoarders. We’re probably the only ones.” Truth.
Speaking of Bruno… The financial service providers (some of the People Who Suck) are currently auditing us. (They have been for three weeks.) Fortunately for me, they brought some entertaining interns. One looks like Bruno. Except he’s white and probably wears a pocket protector. But, amazingly, his hair is cut in a perfect circular shape… Which JVB reminded me Bruno once rocked a similar style, so Bruno’s what we call him. (I wish I could post his LinkedIn pic here, but I have a strong moral compass, and this feels wrong.)
Anyway, Bruno makes me smile even in the depths of my sadness in my dark office as I plug away at the evil spreadsheet that is my current corporate tax hell. Because he’s 20 years old, and he’s yet to be hardened by life’s cruelty. (Or even the boringness of the accounting profession.) Nope – Bruno’s so excited. So he’s overly enthusiastically polite and attempts to say all the right things and obnoxiously reciprocates all of my questions in the exact same way in which I asked him said questions. The best was when I asked him where he went to college. And he replied and then practically shouted, “Where’d you go to college, Christine?”
And I answered. And he replied, “Missouri State University is so much better now than it used to be. I mean, the caliber of students they’re attracting is SO MUCH BETTER than it was just a few years ago.” Just a few years ago. Like when I went there. Ummmmm…
Another one of the interns, I found out, is an international chess master (or whatever the heck he calls it). But he came to America on a chess scholarship. So I challenged him to a game. We’ll see if he takes me up on it, and if he does, we’ll see how it goes. (Probably not well.)
One of the People Who Suck greeted me in my office the other day. It was the first I’d seen her since July, and she asked how I was in the most cheerful voice EVER. It was super annoying, so I explained that things have been really hard. And she retorted, “Maybe everything will be better once spring rolls around.” And it took everything in me not to reply with, “I don’t have seasonal depression.” Or, “Or maybe I’ll feel WORSE once spring rolls around because it’s one more season I’ll experience without Matthew?”
Another one of the People Who Suck has yet to talk to me at all. And it’s his JOB to talk to me at least once during the audit. It’s the biggest display of avoidance I’ve ever seen.
So the other day I noticed that, on my portable GPS, the car icon mysteriously changed to an airplane. I don’t know how the fuck this happened. But I kind of like it.
In addition to financial service providers, we also have tax service providers visiting us. AB, JVB, and I have been eating in our fancy break room each day, and AB quickly noticed the tax guy. She’s been using the opportunity to gain free tax advice… Her best questions? “If you’re growing pot can you take a farming deduction?” And, “Say you’re a hooker, and you make over $600 from one client… Should said client then file a 1099?”
Nearly seven months after Matthew died I’ve found I’ve increased my tolerance for, and can sometimes even find moments of (dare I say?) enjoyment in, some trivial things. Though I don’t know if I’ll ever be quite the same in this regard. For example, many of the TV shows in which I once found joy don’t seem to have made the grief cut.
However, one show seems to have survived – The Fosters on ABC Family (Freedom Channel?). (This show’s probably for 13 year olds, but it has some pretty sexual material, so who the hell knows?) But, regardless, I find this show oddly comforting. (I did in the early days too.) Because it’s about a family full of foster kids of all different backgrounds and races and sexual orientations. And they all live in this beautiful harmony. (Kind of.) And I think it’s a good reminder that non-traditional type families can be beautiful. Different can be beautiful. So my different family can be beautiful too.
In my profession I periodically take phone calls from recruiters regardless of whether I’m interested in other opportunities. The other day I took a call from a recruiter I hadn’t spoken to since July. He asked how I’ve been. And I told him about Matthew. And he managed to say SO MANY THINGS all in one phone call.
Like, “How did you know to go to the hospital for decreased fetal movement? You’re much stronger than I am – I would DIE if one of my kids died, because I love them so much. They say everything happens for a reason, but I don’t know how this can be true, because you’re such a good person. Are you going to have more kids? Are you going to be terrified to have more kids? At least you know this is the worst thing that will ever happen to you. Your worst thing has been revealed to you. It’s behind you now.” I think he broke the record. And he definitely suffers from FUKS (Frantic Urge to Kill Silence). But I forgive him. Because he’s nice.
I’ve noticed an unexpected phenomenon in my life that some of those who most “get it” don’t have (and maybe don’t ever want) kids. And some who least “get it” have kids. This isn’t always true. But I’ve noticed it nonetheless, and it’s weird.
I think I have Instagram stage fright. There’s a great community of loss moms on Instagram who post inspirational things all day, yet I can hardly muster up anything. (Blogging must be more my thing.) For example, the other day I snapped a picture of Howie with his butt plastered to the snow and tagged it #frozenasshole. This is usually the type of shit I post…
But I love others’ posts. In fact, the other day another loss mom posted something to the effect of this Lao Tzu quote, “If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you at peace you are living in the present.”
And it really resonated with me. Because in the beginning I demanded, “How will I get through this?!” And I was told, “One day at a time.” And I wanted to strangle whomever told me this.
But it’s true. I do best when I focus on getting through one day at a time. Of course I remember the past, and I worry about the future, and I’m not always content in the present. But I’ve also noticed all moments of reprieve are relatively present focused. And I think this is okay for now. Thinking about the future, especially, seems risky. So I try to live in the moment to get through this most difficult time.
And maybe this frame of thought is best regardless of whether one’s experienced tragedy.
Because I’ve sadly learned first-hand…
Today’s all any of us are ever guaranteed.