Sad thoughts, real thoughts, and fake thoughts
The past week has been an odd one. A sad one. I'm new to the blogosphere via Twitter, but I'm just linked in enough to know that two babies were lost this week. Thalon from Shana and Maddie from Heather. They are living a parent's worst nightmare. A phrase I'm sure you've heard a thousand times in your life, but what has that statement really meant to you?
Today for me it means bone shatterning loss; unfathomable pain, fear of the future - could my marriage weather such a blow? my heart and soul?; abject sorrow; blackness; confusion.
You'd think that with my life as it is (healthy, happy, fruitful) this wouldn't come anywhere near home, but it does. On a daily basis, for years now - ever since I fell in love - I concoct catastrophic events in my head that affect me and my loved ones.
Let me illustrate for you. Today, for example, while driving south on MoPac in medium-heavy traffic I thought about the wreckage I'd seen on the evening news the night before and wondered, "What if that was me right now?" I peeped into my special baby rear-view mirror and saw Hollis dazedly watching the road ahead of him. Would he survive the impact of a tractor trailer rolling on top of us? Would the middle, back seat really save him if we wrapped around a tree or light pole? -- But luckily, I'm always the one hearing about such a wreck and never the one in it.
Or some of the other things I think about are even more sinister. Like when I hike with him strapped on my back. What if a strange man jumps out of the bushes and throws me down on my back and rapes me, our weight crushing my baby against my spine; me, helpless to stop it. Sobbing. Dying inside. -- But luckily for me, I am always safe, always protected.
Or any moment throughout my day when Hollis naps and I haven't heard a "sigh," "snuffle," or "shuffle." I peek through this door to look for chest movement, I fully expect to see blue skin. My stomach will drop, my face blanch. -- But luckily for me, he's always breathing. Always warm. Always rosy.
But for these two families, their worst nightmare - my silly daymare - has come true. They have lost a baby who just discovered her bellybutton and one who was just cutting teeth. Their posts about the future with their children is heartbreaking. We all assume we'll have our kids with us 40 years from now.
It's a breath-snatching, time-stopping pain that reminds us that we cannot write our future. Free-will puts us on a path that leads us somewhere, right? I don't know. I just know I've cried and cried this week and then beat myself up for conjuring up horrendous things that haven't even happened because there are real people out there living real nightmares. I need to get a fucking grip. Somehow, I feel as though I'm being disrespectful to these mourning parents, and I'm sorry. Really, really sorry.
I've read a lot of other posts this week about these two losses and we all seem to be saying the same thing: slow down, appreciate what you have, take nothing for granted. I'd like to also not subject myself to my sick imagination about slaughter, rape, and carnage. Seriously. I've got a short circuit or something, right??
My heart goes out the parents who have lost their babies. Prior to October 9th, 2007, I could have empathized with their pain, but after that day, I practically feel it myself. It's a shared mourning, which is why $20,000 were raised in a matter of 24 hours for Maddie. And why so many bursts of ether are out there about hugging your little one tight tonight.
It's a powerful thing, the innocence of a child. It humbles, it strikes you down. You can't see anything beyond their perfection. And when it's gone, you sense its absence, this innocence and purity.
Remember that your life is good, that you are strong, that you are loved. Because it's all true. And, quite honestly, you never know what will happen tomorrow. It's a powerful, scary, vibrant, exhilarating world out there and you better remember to enjoy every morsel... lest you be caught unawares and wishing you'd known what you had.
For real. And for keeps.