Friday, April 04, 2014
The Uncelebrated Birthday
Most days I am fine.
I get up, walk RosieTheChippin, my breath exhaling in puffs in the cool morning air as the horizon blushes pink. I wait for her to go number two. I pick it up like a good neighbor. I come back, boil water for tea and make the omelet with spinach and goat cheese. I go to the gym and burn as many calories as I can on the elliptical while mouthing Katy Perry. I lift a few weights and wonder in the mirror if I'm doing it right. I come back and sit and stare at my computer and wait for the words to bubble up inside me, wait for the inspiration to hit.
I lazily fold the clothes on my bedroom floor in an effort to procrastinate. I download new apps on my iPhone. I check the weather. I water the plant I'm pretty sure might already be dead. I stalk someone on Facebook. I troll Zillow for my dream house. I think about my little loves in Uganda. I feel guilty about all those hand written cards I've been meaning to send to friends. Then I shop online at Amazon because the words are being stubborn. Some days I get 1,000 words out, only to delete half of them because I'm not sure they're any good.
I do, but I don't think about him.
Because to think about him is to stop and fall apart and most days there is no room for falling apart.
Because the words need writing, and the laundry needs doing, and the food cooking, and the emails require answers. Most days I walk around as normal as the next person. I go to REI and buy camping supplies, asking a million questions of the sales clerk about which tent is the easiest to assemble so I can prepare for spring in California. I end up spending way more money then I wanted to.
I go out to see friends at wine bars, promise I'll only stay for one and then, stay for two. I watch TV with my husband. I laugh at Ron on Parks and Recreation. I laugh. I laugh at my own corny jokes.
Most people will never know my little secret. There's some part of me always thinking of him. Wondering what he would have looked like, or if he would have had dimples like his father. Wondering if I'll ever get to be a mother again like I was for those too brief moments. Wondering why and not having any answers.
He would have been born in April. We would be celebrating his first year with a cake smashed face and dorky hats, and lots of videos for the grandparents. We would have dressed him up in a ridiculously cute outfit with a bow tie that he would have tried to squirm out of at every opportunity. There is a birthday that will never be celebrated.
I carry him like an old bullet wound, so familiar, on most days I don't remember the slight limp. Most days no one would ever know how much of my insides have been spooned out, how dark and lonely this cavern of loss.
We are really good at hiding things.
We get angry instead of being vulnerable. We yell at bad drivers. We expect people to read our minds. We take a lot of vitamins in some kind of effort to control. We run a little too hard on the trails. We cry a little too hard at an action movie. We watch TV when we know we should be reading. We eat potato chips in bed. We make long to do lists. We stay home when we know we should call a friend. We switch tables in a restaurant when a kid is being too loud. We lie about how we're really feeling. We hate the girl in the grocery store next to us with the cute baby bump. We dress our dog up in silly little pink sweaters.
And when all that doesn't work, we swipe the snooze alarm and pull the covers over our head.
It is hard to feel. It is hard to tell the truth. It is hard to ask for what you need. It is hard to stop and think there might be someone else out there who is feeling the same way, and offer kindness, instead of retreating into the safety of our own rock of isolation.
It is hard to look into the eyes of God and let him hold you, when you don't understand why.
Even harder to trust.
Most days I am fine. And for the days when I'm not, I'm learning to stop, be honest, feel it, ask for help, and let it go. Oh and I'm learning it's of no use to try and put on makeup.
I can cry my eyes out, swollen today. And sleep. There is always tomorrow.
(Oh, and puppies.)
**(To read more about my ectopic pregnancy go here.)