I was awake last night about the time I was awake 4 years ago writing to my first child as my body began its slow process of laboring with Harvey. Last night, I was awake fretting about news we received that complicates and may end the purchase of the home we fell in love with. I was awake going over the details of the reading I am hosting in 2 days time. I was awake remembering being awake this night four years ago, feeling the emptiness in my belly now, the aloneness, just me in this body, forever more. I was not grieving and crying and longing for my son. Is that over? No, it never is, it never will be.
But I have progressed. Thanks in large part to the trauma therapy I engage in, I am not reliving the events of these days four years ago… I saw the clock at 7:42pm last night and noted that my water had broken and at this point, we were rushing around our friend’s house to head back home to prepare for labor but I did not feel it in my bones or my cells. I was not cast back in time like I have been before. Same for being awake last night. It was a normal memory, not a physiological experience of returning. Today at 1:00pm, I will remember my acupunctirist coming over to help get labor started. And at 3, I will remember the contractions beginning and Vesta’s tiny voice telling her dad she was ready to go to Jenn’s now, after hearing the first of my moaning. But I will stay right here in present day. Her voice will not ping pong in my head as if she were saying those words, now, in my ear, over and over again. This year, I will not be tortured.
Will his birth time and death time be the same? Will the memories of the moments in the NICU be the same as the minutes tick by tomorrow and Friday? Will I feel the bumps in the road and my voice vibrating in my throat as we drove to the NICU on April 28th and I asked Danny if he would be willing to donate our newborn’s organs as I have in years past? I don’t think so. I think I am in a new place. I think I have achieved a level of healing I never imagined.
This was the worst thing that could have ever happened to me (except of course, losing my other child) and it still doesn’t even make sense to me that I can get out of bed, let alone smile, laugh, love and live again. That still remains an impossibility to me despite the clear, primary evidence to the contrary. I am reading a piece on Friday about re-connection, how we re-connect with ourselves after loss, trauma, illness and the like. And even after having prepared my piece, I still don’t know. It is still a mystery: the life force that propels us, the energy that keeps the lungs filling and emptying, the unconscious desire to keep the feet stepping one in front of the other, the will to live despite the most horrific of circumstances. We are amazing animals, we humans. I’m so glad I made it through.
If you are in Portland this Friday April 28th, 2017, please join me and 5 other writers/performers/poets for Begin Again: Stories of Re-connection at the Waterstone Gallery (124 NW 9th Ave) from 7-9:03pm