The other day Mark took a picture of Joel and me, and upon seeing it I was like, “I look fat and tired.” And Mark, without thinking, responded, “Don’t we all?” It wasn’t exactly the response I’d hoped for, but it wasn’t entirely untrue either.
Joel’s babysitter says some funny things. Joel is usually pretty regular in the bowel movement department, but when he has trouble, usually he’s constipated, but the other day we fed him some almond butter with his oatmeal, and apparently almonds don’t agree with him so he had diarrhea, which made him very sad, and Emily was like, “Diarrhea is sad for everyone, Joel! Even adults!” Truth.
Mark recently saw Joel do something that reminded him of himself and was like, “Well, he’s 50 percent me!” And then he corrected himself like, “Well, actually maybe a little more. Maybe even 75 percent me.” Mark is not a scientist. Not in the least.
Someone from my work recently sent me an email, and it ended with, “I hope you’re doing well.” And when I replied, I didn’t respond to this particular sentiment, because it seemed like more of an expression of a hope for me rather than something that needed express acknowledgement and confirmation like, “Thank you – I actually am doing well.” Or, “No, actually things really suck.” So I was more just like, “Attached is your file.” And then he responded, “Thanks so much! I really hope all is well with you.” And I thought this was an unnecessarily aggressive way to fish for some positive reassurance regarding my status. So I wanted to reply, “I’m doing as well as I could be considering that one of my children is dead.” But I just let it go instead.
Today at the grocery store someone stopped us and asked, “How old is he?” I answered, “Seven months.” And this woman was like, “Oh, how awesome! I have a 19 month old – it goes by so fast!” There’s never any escaping these heartbreaking interactions. And I’m currently reading a People Magazine article about how Tarek and Christina El Moussa (the hot messes) got divorced, and they have an 18 month old son. Case in point.
I recently read this blog entry about child loss, and it resonated with me so much. This quote is particularly heartbreaking, but it is so true for me: “I am actually thinking about the camaraderie and shared comfort I just witnessed among a large group of women, a synchronous bond I know I will never form with women again. Or men.” And also this: “We’re stuck in between. In between worlds and in between words. And while our friends live in their whole worlds and speak in their whole languages, and we take part and play along, our fragmented lives and fractured words cannot fit or interact perfectly.” Anyone who wants to better understand me (or anyone who’s suffered a similar loss) should read this. It sucks as I don’t think I can fix this – like I think I’ll just continue through life not being able to feel this genuine camaraderie with most others.
So someone offered to buy our house… It wasn’t really on the market, but sometimes these things happen. We aren’t sure what we’re going to do yet. When we built our home, we built it with so many hopes and dreams in mind. We kind of had a vision of what our family might look like some day. We put our heart and soul and our blood and sweat and tears (and so much time and money) into it. But then Matthew never came home to it. So it will never be the same… There are so many devastating, haunting memories here. Sometimes I wonder whether, if I were to stay, I’d always walk into my basement and think, “I was organizing our basement as my son was either already brain dead or fighting for his life.”
Before Matthew died, I might have called this my “forever home.” I might have considered it almost priceless. But now, I think I could stay, or, for the right price, I could also go. After all, it’s a material item. It’s replaceable. Anything material is. Of course I want for material things sometimes, but it isn’t the same anymore – not when one of the things I want most in this world I will never, ever have. Can never, ever get back.
And I also feel strangely detached from the couple who worked so hard for this. It’s almost as though all that took place in another lifetime.
In some ways, it did.
And, as we contemplate this voluntary sort of upheaval, I’m ruminating over so many things, the main one being that there are so many things that are happening in my life, and will continue to happen as the years go by, that cause me to question what my life would have looked like had Matthew lived.
And not all that is happening, or will continue to happen, is good. And certainly some things, even if good, aren’t comfortable.
And right now I’m sad at the continued realization that I will never know who I would have/could have been.