I’ve been noticing the quiet again, when your sister is out playing at the neighbors and your dad is at work. That went away for awhile. How quiet your absence is. How heavy the silence. What a heavy yet empty presence your absence is. How you are almost here.
I’ve busied myself with daily life and gotten back to the routine, building a new website, picking up the house, answering emails, paying bills and all of the many things I’d like to get to. They’ve all gone back to normal or are incorporated into this “new normal” I’m told I’ll get used to. I don’t have the energy or the space inside of me to dash from one thing to the next like I did in my old life. I’m tired all the time, awash in the doldrums, uninspired. So, I hear you again. I hear you not here. I notice again how easy my life is without you. How, as your sister gets older, I have more and more time to myself, to do the plethora of things I want and need to get done. Without the sparkle and shine they used to have. Without even the annoyance I used to have with daily chores getting in the way of what I really want to do. Living with that sense that I have a finite amount of time that is not nearly enough to do all of the things I want to in this life. But without you and opposite of most people who nearly die twice in a year, I have lost all sense of urgency. Time has slowed to a snail’s pace. My possible 60ish years stretching out ahead of my like a road with no end. Seemingly endless hours to do more than I planned for my life, to get all the things done. There is no longer a sense of urgency.
I was really irritated during your whole pregnancy. In a nearly constant state of annoyance. I couldn’t wait for your dad to get home and then when he did, poor guy, I was annoyed that he was home. I wanted so much to grow my business here. With or without you, my work is a lifeline for me. It feeds me so fully. Gives me a chance to get out of the house, be an independent grown-up again and make a contribution to others. As my belly grew and I began to viscerally remember what the first few years with a new baby are like, I began dreading it. I fretted and feared and questioned. I imagined the approaching 3-4 years and thought, “what about me? What about my dreams?” The idea of putting myself aside for another several years felt like an eternity. If this first year is any indication, I had no idea what an eternity actually is and how precisely long, how endless, the next 3-4 years will be. On the flip side, I know understand acutely, both from your loss and my plan to care for another baby and your sister being so independent now, the exact shortness, the blip on the screen of my life, these first few years with you would be. How insignificant. Without you, I now understand how my work would wait. That tightening the belt, that devoting myself mostly to and your sister for the time you are little is the best thing I could ever do for myself. These were my happiest years and there is time, plenty of time, for work and career and dreams of my own. When I was pregnant with you, Virgina Wolf’s book “A Room of One’s Own”, about how women need space to create, need something to call theirs and their’s alone, banged around inside of my head almost daily. “Yes, I would think, I understand now, Virginia. I need a room of my own.” Except I don’t actually. Room’s of our own are a priveldge granted to or yearned for by those who have almost everything else, who are untouched by loss, who are not just surviving. I only wished for this actual and proverbial room before I knew, knew for real, that one of the most precious beings in my life could just disappear before my eyes, like he wasn’t even here in the first place. No, I no longer long for that room alone to create and have space. I don’t need it anymore. It’s quiet enough here without you.