How are you doing?
Kind of awful.
Ask again tomorrow.
Some nights I go to bed with a big hard lump of sad sitting on my chest. Some mornings I wake up and need to count to ten, need to breathe all the way in and all the way out, before I can throw the comforter back and feel the floor under my feet.
And sometimes none of that is true.
Smudgie woke up the morning after LG and I decorated the Christmas tree and he looked like a miracle had just unfolded in his living room. And then he pointed at it with his little crooked finger gun and very clearly said "tree." It sounded sort of like "tchrai" but whatever, close enough, and my kid's a genius, okay?
(Last night sitting in his high chair he pointed at the lit menorah and also said "tree." Which leads me to believe we need some family education on the meanings of our respective holidays. And probably a botany lesson, too).
On one important, quite crucial in fact, level life is very beautiful and I am very happy.
This is not the crushing, all-encompassing despair of the last time. How could it be? I'm too aware of all that is bright and lively in this chiaroscuro drawing.
But, like I said, the sad still comes sometimes, and it's not a matter of dwelling on things or thinking about losses or even worrying about the future. It's not thinking at all. The sad just is--it has a weight and a presence of its own and it has to be gotten through before it can be gotten over.
Maybe it's a good thing that I've been through this before. I can see how it would be overwhelming to pop a kid out, no problems at all, and then suddenly be smacked in the face with the fact that These Things don't always work out the way you think they will. I can see a lot of "Why Me?" and "How Can it Be?" in that instance. Whereas I sort of feel like: oh, right, of course. These things happen to me. For a minute I'd forgotten. I'll try not to make that mistake again.
But good things happen to me, too, and I'm reminded of that every day-- and of the fact that we never know when bad will turn to good, or how. Two years of really awful crap turned into the best little person that ever was. It's not that Everything Happens for a Reason, but more that I now have a reason for everything that happened. I believe I'll one day find my reason for this, too.
I'm trying hard not to worry this time around. Or at least to have faith even while I worry that all can be well even when it doesn't go according to plan. A few years ago, a writer friend of mine sent me a little framed quotation about novel-writing: that it's like driving at night with the headlights on, only able to see a little ways ahead of you, but secure in the chance of reaching one's destination. You can drive quite far only watching a little bit of road.
That's how I feel right now. I can't see past the next month or so. When I try to-- when I think about the spring or the summer or the fall--I feel that familiar anxious ache. But when I focus on the headlights in front of me, on Christmas and New Years, maybe a trip somewhere warm in the winter, and lots of work and time together, that all seems quite nice. If nothing changes for us then, nothing needed to change. We'll be happy just as we are.
And the future will get here soon enough on its own.
RIP Paul Kalanithi
5 weeks ago