I stepped onto my back deck last night and searched the sky for answers to my melancholy. It isn't like me to feel so heavy. I needed some time alone, a moment or two to collect my thoughts and analyze what I was feeling. I listened to the crickets, and to the neighbours whistling for their dog. I heard sirens screaming out a devastation in progress and I breathed deep the world around me. I turned my face towards the stars and I let myself feel small.
Not inconsequential. Just small.
Its been a while since I took up residence with the universe at large. I've been so busy within my own little world that I almost forgot I belong to a bigger one. I was surprised to discover that I longed for the life outside my door. I ached for a connection beyond these walls.
I have sat so long in a canyon of echoes that I can no longer reconcile my past while looking forward to the future. I wouldn't label myself depressed or even particularly sad. In truth I feel more shell shocked. These last 18 months have caught up with me. I had hoped to escape unscathed because miracles are supposed to work like that. You pray - to whatever God you believe in - and when He responds with grace, and love, and a wish granted - you're supposed to be saved, your supposed to be grateful, but most of all you're supposed to move on.
For a few weeks now I've felt disconnected and I didn't know why. I have a life that anyone would die for. I don't want for anything. Not love, not finances, not children. So why did I feel so lost? The answer came as quickly as his diagnosis had. My breathing laboured and I remembered...
What the words felt like as they slithered into my ear and burrowed into my brain. The icy fear and the hot white anger was ever present, but it was the mourning I had not expected. I mourned for the life we had built - the vision of how things were supposed to be. I was no longer a mother to three beautiful, healthy children. I had been thrown - unwillingly - into the world of "Heart Moms". My newborn possessed a congenital heart defect. MINE. My child. How did that make sense?
So I had to learn to love a child who was mortal. As a parent you never truly contemplate what it would feel like to outlive your child. The idea is so devastating and repugnant that no parent can do it unless they are forced to. My hand was forced the minute I heard the doctors murmur "early stages of heart failure."
We went through hell and back and my baby survived - we all did. I've been so grateful that his life was not only spared, but that his body was saved from the brutal effects of open heart surgery that I mistakenly believed there would be no ramifications from the journey my family and I walked. I was wrong.
My husband and I wrapped ourselves together so tightly when our youngest needed us that we never saw the consequences of our actions. We could not have known that our bond as parents would impact our bond as spouses.
I have grown to be a person more wholly focused on my kids. All I want is to soak up the moments I have with them because I have learned that the future is not guaranteed; not for anyone, not even my children. But I am suffering for this decision. Only now I have come to realize that this plan is flawed. I can't just be a mother - I have to find the woman beneath that. The foundation is important too and it needs some work.
My husband on the other hand has opted for space. He's gone a lot more now. Hes trying so hard to live life and to appreciate the world outside that he's forgotten how to find the satisfaction in the one we have.
So he's stepping back and I'm stepping sideways and the chasm between us is growing. When you face your worst fear something changes. It was so imperceptible that neither of us recognized it at first.
The truth is we are different people now and we have to learn to love these different versions of ourselves and of each other.
I live in a canyon of echoes. Echoes of the past. Screams of pain, peals of laughter, vows made in love. But I'm ready to move on, I'm ready to step into the future and I don't want to live attempting to predict every possibility anymore. I just want to live with the possibility I already have. My kids and my husband and the moments where I get to feel small.
Not inconsequential. Just small.
I want to be part of the world again.