Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Getting Back to the Business Of Living

Yesterday morning I found myself overwhelmed with life.

I was aggravated, until I realized that was actually a good thing.

I've been overwhelmed with death for so long that dealing with the frustrations of what consumed me just a few short weeks ago was a break, really. It was a sign that perhaps I really am going to survive this. It was the first time in a long time that I've felt annoyed enough with the mundane to feel like I was really living and not at some level forcing myself to go through the motions.

I'm still struck, however, by the image of a storm damaged tree with a large limb broken away and a ragged wound left behind. I know that if the wound isn't properly managed and the tree heals badly or fails to heal, the whole tree can die. Even if I'm living and moving again, I must still tend to the wound of Ethan's death.

Still, yesterday it was good to be simultaneously reading about SPD while trying to decide if it were warm enough to walk dogs, debating times for a doctor's appointment for the baby that I would need to attend, and juggling the rest of my day's activities (including my commitment to this blog).

Darn, I caught myself thinking. If everyone would just leave me alone a few minutes!

But wait.

The telephone messages, the calls, the doctor's appointments, babysitting, dogs and chilly walks were what my life was made of four short weeks ago. This is what life used to feel like.

Instead of getting frustrated, I took a deep breath and realized it felt good.

After figuratively sitting on a shelf for what feels like far longer than four weeks, it felt good to be pulled in a lot of different directions. I was like a toy that the children put away and forget, then rediscover and everyone wants to play with it at once. What would I do first?

Well, first, I wrote a few words because I hate to face an empty computer screen first thing in the morning and I wanted to remember how I felt.

Then I threw on an extra sweatshirt, dug out my gloves and walking shoes and went out to take in the day and make a few dogs really happy. It was, dare I say, cold, until I got about halfway down the road. But I didn't consider turning around, not that the dogs would have let me, but it was good to hear the sound of farm equipment, see the mud on the road and feel both the warmth of the sun and the chill of the air. It was good to feel my body moving again in an old, familiar beat.

After the walk I was rushed to get to Mount Airy and the pediatrician's office where I spent a singularly aggravating hour waiting for an appointment for which we were the designated 15 minutes early. Most of that time I was holding a snotty-nosed baby and keeping an eye on two Kindle-driven preschoolers who were at least not bouncing off the walls and touching everything in the room, unlike the other children. Finally the doctor and a diagnosis of RSV -- oh, joy, oh, bliss. It's been three years since we went a round with that particular nasty virus and I recall we were all sick and E2, who was born during that time, got to spend a week in the hospital. I can only hope we all still harbor some resistance to the bug so we're not quite so ill.

A late lunch, disrupted nap time, dogs and cleaning, a futile attempt at dinner, the roar of a bounce house in the playroom, a dogfight at the back door and one of E1's meltdowns that you have to experience to believe.

Life for most of the day yesterday consumed me and carried me along like the hero of a football game, lifted up on the shoulders of his teammates. I felt swept off my feet and lifted up, enjoying the sensation while it lasted and so tired when it was over that there was no time to feel like the person who has inhabited my body for weeks. I felt relief for a quiet house, instead of dread that I was finally alone.

Yes, I still miss my son and I still had my morning cry, along with random moist-eyed moments through the day. But living isn't all about mourning or grieving. It's about slipping back into old routines that feel a little awkward at first. It's about meeting the needs of each new day as it comes.

It's apparently time for me to get moving again as well and to be quite truthful, it feels good.

1 comment:

  1. Angela,
    Just coming to your blog for the first time via Google+. So sorry to hear about the death of your son; it is a journey that will carry you down so many different paths... I'm happy to read this post, however, for it is that spark of recognition--and the fact that you have it documented to return to again and again if need be--that will help guide you to the ultimate place of healing, one where your child's death will never hold you back from living your best life...

    Thank you for your courage to heal, for sharing your story with such candor and truth and warmth...

    Yours in healing...