In the whole scheme of things, the stresses in our life aren't anything I can't handle. On a normal day I can tackle job frustrations. I can find the humor in kid chaos (usually) and move beyond it. I can watch morning news and utter, "Fear mongers" with ease. I can generally roll with the punches and not micromanage life. (I wish my 20-something year old self had developed this skill... this combination of "this is truly important" and "not a hill I wanna die on".)
But not this week.
Let's back up and revisit September. I lost Andrew. I laid in the hospital bed, alone because my husband had run home to change his clothes or brush his teeth or something that seemed selfish to me at the time. I stared at the strange light hanging over my bed and I wondered how I was going to survive this. How do parents survive the death of their child? I knew I had other children to come home to; children who were grieving and confused in their own right.
I don't know if I was talking to God or Mary or myself at that particular moment. (I was pissed as hell with God, but that's another story.) It occurred to me that I deserved to mourn and I deserved to be sad and I deserved to wallow in my sadness. If I went home and pretended life was fine, what was I teaching my kids? "Eh, sorry kids. Your brother died. Pass the ketchup?" That's not what I wanted them to take away from this. What did I want them to learn? Bad things happen to good people? Tragic events may mold your life, but they don't define you? Our family can survive anything? Being sad and owning your sadness is healthy and normal? Sadness happens but life continues? Yep. That's what I wanted them to learn... mostly because those are the things I needed to learn myself.
So I gave myself an expiration date. For one full month, I gave myself permission to feel whatever I wanted to feel at whatever volume I wanted to feel it. Within reason, of course. I spent 30 days crying with my kids, laughing with my kids, and spending far too much time in bed. And then, early in October, to promised Andrew he would always live in my heart and in my tears, but I had to function. Which isn't to say I don't still cry because I do. I just wait until his sisters and brother aren't around. We talk about him and include him in our prayers. He will always be part of us.
Fast forward to February 27. Today starts the beginning of week 16 with the new baby. Today also marks the beginning of the last week Andrew was still mine. And I'm scared. Saturday is the day I knew I'd lost Andrew. I hadn't figured out those dates until this morning because I didn't want to plan my life around it. So this Saturday I will get up, take my daughters to the college down the street for a STEM day. Then I will attend the second showing of this year's high school musical... because really, one high school production of The Wizard of Oz can never really be enough. And I will function as though everything will be okay. Because it will. It has to be, right? The chances of losing two babies this far along in a pregnancy are slim to none, right?
It's going to be a long week and, knowing me, that 20-something micromanager is going to rear her ugly head. I'm going to be sensitive and quick to jump to rotten conclusions. I'm going to be cranky and moody. Hopefully knowing that going in, I will have a better time coping with everything and just give myself time to breathe. Step one in that process is to face my job this morning. If I can get through this week without giving my noticed, I'll consider it a success. But that, too, is another story.