Friday, August 27, 2010

Wary of Hope

Optimism.  It comes...and goes.  Boy does it ever GO. 

I was looking back over my posts, noting the ups..and downs...and downs....and dooooowns.

Those downs make the ups seem like wishful thinking.  A bleep of gold in the big picture of gray.  Like a struggling heartbeat pulse that tries to keep you alive in spite of the flat line in between.

I know people are reading here...lots of people.  325 people read this blog in the past two weeks.  2 comments appeared.  Not that I write FOR comments...but, if 325 people are going to read my thoughts, I wonder why only 2 felt to comment.  It makes me feel....flat....and curious.  However, I know that I don't always comment on the blogs I love to read.  Like so many others, I am busy...too busy to do more than read poignant understandings and wipe empathetic tears away in response.

Speaking of tears...

We went on vacation last week...a beautiful, refreshing, healing vacation.  It was so wonderful to be with my family without any other agenda.  We got addicted to it.  The pain of having vacation end was acute for all of us.  The idea that we wouldn't be spending every day, all day long together....hurt.

We bought a tiny pair of baby shoes at the zoo.  Made of hand felted purple wool sewn together with yellow thread.  When we went to the check out, my husband squeezed my hand hopefully.  Perhaps we would have a happy ending after all.  Of course...we still don't know anything about that aspect of life.  Too soon to know.  Too soon to even hope really.

And yet...we do.  Hope.

He asked me this morning if I should take another test.  He wants to KNOW something...wants to know if spirit was on our side this month...or if we get to keep trying....wants to know if I was vomiting because of illness or pregnancy...wants to know if I'm tired because of depression or pregnancy....

He just wants to KNOW.   Something.

I shook my head.

We will know soon enough.

My gut says that hoping is for silly folk that want to get hurt again.

My heart wants to hope and trust that if it's not to be will be soon.

But...I've seen it happen again and again.

The hope.  The joy.  The loss.  Repeated loss.

It happens.

a lot.

I've also seen rainbows appear.  Beautiful vibrant rainbows with baby laughter and tiny toes perfect for the little shoes that are sitting up on our memory shelf.

I suddenly realized that even when...even if.......
I will never be the woman that is blissfully anticipating it all to work out exactly as it should.  Because I know that it doesn't always happen like that.

I am thinking about the woman who shrugged off worry, who believed that pregnancy was inevitable, and that a baby in arms is expected if you take care of yourself.  Oh how I always took much care.

I realize that I'm afraid of taking another pregnancy test.

I'm afraid of only seeing a single line.
I'm afraid that I might never see two lines again in my lifetime.
What if I'm broken?
I'm afraid of seeing two lines.
I'm afraid of nine months of worry...
and then...a lifetime more of worry.

Because, they are never really safe.  Not really.

I wonder if my nervous system can take it.  Either senerio might be too much.  Again.

I never used to wonder about my nervous system.  I never used to panic if I thought I couldn't squeeze hot yoga in.  I never used to panic about pregnancy.  Or child rearing.  Or money.  Or space.  Or...anything.

Yesterday, my 9 year old cut himself with a knife when he reached into the sink to grab something.  There was a lot of blood.  As I applied pressure and got out the first aid kit, I found myself trying to heart was pounding.  I wanted to scream.  So much blood.  I couldn't believe that I was so panicked.  Did I ever think I wanted to be a doctor?  How much blood had I dealt with in my lifetime?  Why was this bothering me SO much???  I looked at my little boys face and tried to remember how old he was before I said "Wow are being so brave for an eight year old."  He looked at me strangely..."Mom...I'm nine...remember?"

No...I didn't remember.  I was in a dense fog when he turned eight last year...and just coming out of it when he apparently turned nine.  I felt the lump in my throat rise and I worked hard to swallow it.  I keep thinking he is eight...or seven.  I looked up at the other boys, who were staring at the blood....they were all older than I wanted to realize.  14??  11??  9?? 6...only to turn seven in two weeks??? What the HELL!!!!  I lost a year of my children's lives.  They lost a year of having a "real" mom.  Do I really want to risk any more lost time?   Is it only selfish to hope for a happy ending?  What if it ISN'T happy?  What if I bring more pain and loss into my home?  Is that really fair for any of us?

It's amazing how much blood can emerge from a tiny slice.  It's gruesome really.  It was everywhere.  One would have thought an artery had burst open from the scene I cleaned up.  But, was simply that a tiny little slice can produce a huge amount of evidence.  Imagine what a big slice would do.

It was then that I understood that my heart has not only been sliced a has been turned into chopped liver.  It's gushing and bleeding is profuse...and it's hard to apply enough pressure to ease the bleeding.  There is a massacre inside of my yoga soothes the pulse...but I'm still bleeding. 

I still stand by what I said before...I am open to "YES"...but, I'm afraid too.  That open door sure does hurt when it gets slammed on your fingers.  Especially if they have been broken before.   I'm standing in that open door looking at the memories of blood and tears that have stained the walls around me.  It's hard to be optimistic.  It's a silly lie to say I'm ready for it to slam on me again.  It's also a silly lie to say I trust that all will be well.  And yet another lie to say I don't believe in miracles.

I suppose all I can do is stand...breathe....hope...and know that 325+ people are witnessing my struggle while silently watching...waiting....wondering.......

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

An open door...

I often think about how "funny" it is to make a decision about life.  In all honesty, I tend to believe that we don't really have a lot of choice in how things might or...might not...go.  It's not that I think we have NO choice, but rather...that we have limited choice. 

For example...I would have chosen that my firstborn son would go through his tumultuous teen years unscathed and able to look back and scoff at all the worry he caused us.  I would have chosen that ultimately, he would emerge 

It wasn't to be.  Yes...he IS alive.  He's still beautiful and funny.  At times.  In many ways, one would look at him and see a normal young man--but it's within that the damage has been done.  Deep within the brain.  Where memory fails.  Where names, dates, times...and logic...are largely absent.   The damage of three years ago rears it's relentless face and laughs "He will never be the same...ever."

Of course, we always hope for improvement, and the brain DOES heal----slowly.  But, I know too much about brains.  I know too much about the particular damage of HIS brain.  I know the limitations.  I know the reality.

I would have protected him.  I wasn't given the choice.  And, neither was my son.  Now when people ask him what he wants to "be"...I cringe a little when I hear him say he wants to study micro-biology.  Not because I don't think it's a great thing to study, but because I know he has some serious deficits that don't meld well with the flied of micro-biology.  I want him to succeed...and I'm not sure he can in that area.  Maybe life will surprise us all.  Maybe. 

My pregnancy with Simon and was a surprise.  I accepted that the choice of that pregnancy wasn't mine alone.  I embraced the gift.  But it was stolen before I could unwrap it's beautiful contents.  No choice in the wasn't about what I wanted; not in the beginning...nor in the end. 

Today, I stand here in front of a little strip of paper.  It only has one red line on it.  I knew it was too early to test of course.  WAY too early.  But I know that on the first night of Ramadan, a beautiful spiritual holiday for many around the world, I had a dream of a beautiful baby in my arms...I could hear audible laughter in my ears, and woke up with it's tinkling sound resonating around me.  My husband came to me after a similar, simultaneous dream and an agreement was found in our love.  We were ready to make a choice.  We chose Yes. 

Ever since that night, there have been an unusual amount of obstacles preventing further encounters...very strange for a couple that rarely misses a chance to love each other.   But, we would just shrug, laugh, and know that it simply seemed....beyond our control.

But, I was ovulating two days after that night.   It could have happened.  

So, I stand here...with that little paper in front of me.  Only one line. 

Why did I test too early?  I knew it wouldn't show me two lines, even IF that beautiful magic of baby creation did in fact take after only one sweet, beautiful, deeply spiritual encounter.  I'm not Muslim...I don't celebrate Ramadan, but, I AM aware of it and I honor it's profound place in the spiritual community of life.  If I had the choice, I would say that I'd like for it to be true that our next child had been conceived under such a beautiful phase of the universe.   I would like to believe that the laughter I heard so clearly was the tinkling of bells I will hear again soon.  

I had another dream 2 days ago...I was on a beach walking.   I found a perfect rippled shell and I opened it to find a beautiful silver necklace.  It had a single name on it.  I woke up smiling..."Oh....I DO like that name...." 

And so...I will test again...later.  Late enough to understand that if I see another single line that I didn't really get to choose, but that I can always try again...and again....and again....  Late enough to know that if I see two lines...I still don't get to choose the outcome of life.  My eldest son has shown me that even when you think all will be can all change in one life altering moment.  Simon and Alexander have shown me that pregnancy doesn't always end with a beautiful baby to cuddle.  My other children have shown me that being open to life is...truly a gift. 

But, it will be line or two lines.  It will be o.k., because one thing that the universe cannot control is my attitude.  And right now, the attitude my husband and I are sharing is one of being open to "Yes."   It's about opening the door.  Maybe no one will come through it.  But, at least it is open....and he...or welcome. 

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Remembering Something Beautiful About Loss

There they are...

Both of them.   In a golden sunset to rival all others.  Just as I remember them.

Last night while brushing my teeth I noticed something on the wall.  Something...icky.  When you have multiple sons it's not too unusual to encounter things of questionable sanitary status, so I wasn't shocked or anything.  But was...gross.  I thought about how many times I've suggested that boogers needed to NOT be wiped on a wall.  Especially not the bathroom wall when only inches away sat a roll of perfectly nice toilet paper.    Apparently one of my lads likes to absently dig for treasure whilst on the toilet...and tends to wipe the remains on the closest wall.   Whomever he is...he keeps forgetting to use the available toilet paper.

According to my sons, they do not do this.  None of them believes that they are "the one."  So...we must have a booger picking ghost...or something.

Anyway, when I saw the smear I got out my tea-tree spray to clean it up and I felt myself tearing up.  Simon and Alexander won't ever wipe booger smears on the wall.  They won't ever look up at me in complete innocence declaring that they would never wipe a booger on the wall.  It was then that I noticed it.  .  .When you've lost someone...they become...perfect.  They have no flaws....nothing.   Only the beauty of love surrounds them.  Golden...warm...always wanted....treasured.  For all time.  You never sigh over the chore of cleaning up your dead child's booger.  NO!  In fact, all you want in the world is to be able to wipe those damned boogers that SHOULD have been there away, and then hug the little rascal for feigning innocence. 

Carly Marie Dudley from "To write their names in the sand" sent me these photos yesterday...and Jill Alderman added Simon and Alexander to her "Vermont Angels" only days before....

When I look at these expressions of beauty and remembrance, it touches me to think that all I'll ever have to remember of Simon and Alexander are images of poignant beauty.  They will never "accidentally" do anything annoying.  They will never stay up past their bedtime trying to catch glimpses of the movie mom and dad are watching with the snippets of raw humor inappropriate for young viewers.  They will never whine about having to get in the back seat of our car.  They will never draw silly pictures in the columns of their homeschool books when they should be studying.  They will never have a food that they pretend is poison to avoid eating it.  They won't act jealous over how much more ice cream their brother seems to have gotten.  They won't complain.  They won't argue.  They won' anything.  Anything at all.

They will only stay perfect...beautiful...and yearned for.

Remembered in the sky, with flowers, near water of all kinds in all places, riding on the wings of exquisite butterflies....and in golden perfect sunsets.  Sunsets wherein I wish with all my heart that the photo contained the footprints of my babies next to my own where we might have walked hand in hand...if only.

Wiping boogers from the wall no longer seems so irritating.  It's a symbol of the aliveness of the boy that did it.  And even if I never know the culprit, I know there will be a day when the boogers cease.  And I will remember that being a parent was, if nothing else, an adventure.  A big, beautiful, and unexpected adventure.  Wiping boogers from the up vomit...breaking up squabbles of minimal importance...wiping away tears...offering hugs...telling stories....and...even having to say goodbye before you wanted to.  That is being a parent.  We collect memories.  In the end, whether it is cleaning away a booger, chasing away a nightmare, giving a last kiss, or walking in spirit within a golden heavenly field...what else do we have?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Walking a Tight-rope

It comes.

And goes.

And comes again.

And all the while I know inside that which ever way it is, is completely transient...impermanent...fleeting...

Just like the reason for all of it in the first place.  Transient.  Impermanent.  Fleeting.

On one level, it might be comforting to know that whatever it is we go through is actually only a moment.  A speck.  A flash of reality...or dream.  Something that won't last.  Not forever anyway.

On another level...the fact that nothing is lasting...nothing permanent...nothing even bothers me sometimes.

There's the person...the "me"...that wants something I can rely on.  Even if it were to be devastation in my feelings for all time.

Then, there is the person that is grateful that things move forward...onward...ever that we can heal.  As if we can ever really if we could ever forget.

As if we want to forget.

My birthday is coming.  I say that with a flat affect.  My birthday is coming.  A reminder of my age.  Or rather...a reminder of the age of my eggs.  The age of my waning fertility. 

My birthday is coming.  I'm not old...but my eggs are getting older.  Older than I wanted them to be if I was still wondering if my family was really complete.

I need time to wonder.  Time to assess.  Time to figure it all out.

Even if it's only time to accept that it's over.  That it all ended with a quadruple stint with death.  Simon's, mine, Alexander's, mine....death...four two months.  Last year at this time I was just coming to terms with the fact that I had had twins, that I was the mother of the twins I'd always wanted.  Always.  And...that I'd never have them again.

So, as I wonder about the yes's and the no's regarding my fertility and the outcome of my family I know we might have another sweet little boy...or a little girl (go could happen....couldn't it??) but most likely...even less likely than having a little girl...we wouldn't have twins.  And even if we wouldn't be "them".   So that's really what I have to come to terms with.  If I'd never become pregnant with Simon and Alexander...if my idea that we "were done" had actually played out...would I be thinking I wanted to try once more?  Most  And yet, things change.  People change.  Situations change.  Lives change.  Had this all happened 100 years ago I wouldn't have to think about any of it, because having more children would just BE what was...but as my husband reminds me...I'd also be dead, so, you win some, you lose some--right?

Now things aren't so clear.  Now things aren't so solid.  Now...nothing is permanent. truth...nothing has ever been permanent.

And because of that impermanence...that fluidity...that big question mark in my gut....

I am questioning.  Everything.

I am wondering.

I am crying.

I want someone to tell me what to do.  And I want it to be the right answer.  The one I know I want, but can't seem to find a way to so that I can figure out what it is I really want.  The answer I will feel good about when I'm 98 years old.  The right one.  The solid one.

The one...that makes sense.  On every level.  Materially, Mentally, Spiritually and Emotionally.

The funny..or not so funny thing is this.  There are two sides.  The material and mental...and the spiritual and emotional.  They don't concur.  And so I am divided.  Divided in a world that is fluid, transient, ever changing, and impermanent. 

In the end, what I do or do not do matters very very little in the big schema of our tiny speck of a planet.  My personal choice won't make or break anyone.

Except...maybe me.