I wept at a pindrop this week. Over and over. I’d hear a song, hear a child’s laughter, feel my son sleep, tucked into me…and I’d cry. I told my husband I did’t know if it is my MS, the meds or what, but I can’t stop crying. As I write this, my left eye is swollen shut from a good, hard cry yesterday that just didn’t stop. For hours. I tried everything, but no matter how hard I tried to focus on the loads of work in front of me, my head focused on the topic at hand, my heart would fall back into Regina Spektor songs and Bright Eyes.
It was a fall feeling, in mid-August. It was the feeling of knowing what is to come and not being able to stop it. I hate the feeling of knowing, the sadness, the anticipation of everything changing when all you want is to stay…still.
Like my grandfather at 90. Knowing what was coming and only being able to sit still and squeeze his hand. There were no words. We both understood. Everything is finite.
I think that’s why I cut my hair and dyed it pink. I was growing it. It was pretty and long and black, but it was as if I was clinging to it, hiding behind it. I realized one day I was trying to stand so still, hoping time would pass me by and miss seeing me there standing in the corner. Time. Time is flying by my friends. Mid-August gives birth to school and new years and new teachers and new grades and I can’t deal with my youngest going into Kindergarten. I can’t deal with not having another baby. And yet I have to. The chapter has ended. The word has been written. It has been said. I can’t have any more children.
I keep focusing on their eyes and their toes, stained clothes and their tender souls. Their towels on the bathroom floor. They buzz around me, never stopping to say. “Hello!” Sometimes they will to remind me I forgot to get them juice. And as much as I get indignant, I am crying because I know how much I miss them already. I am crying because I can’t have any more children. I am crying because a chapter is closed and I’m painfully sentimental and I mourn loss of everything, even the bad. Imagine how then I grieve for the good. This is not for pin drops or sad songs. It’s for life, moving on, with or without us.
My son’s birth marked a crazy time in my life. He was born with my MS diagnosis. He marked a time of new life and what I felt was the loss of another-mine. It was a time of sickness. But I’d watch him wiggle to roll over, he’d fight for that bottle, and I whisper him promises through the exhaustion that I’d try my hardest to do the same. I’d try to turn over. I’d be feisty like him. When I couldn’t move well, I’d tuck his warm body into mine. I could hear him sucking on his thumb. There’s a rhythm to his sucking. A drum like noise. A thump. Wait. Thump. Wait. Thump. Wait. There was a beat. I’d feel his heat and tucked into him, like he was me, we’d fall asleep. The MS demons couldn’t touch me then. I had him. I focused on the life that was in front of me.
Even MS couldn’t overshadow that accomplishment. I had a baby in my arms.
His life tested mine. And if I ever rose above, I rose because of him and Zoe. The depression was so dark. The legs were going. I was so so tired and teaching was increasingly difficult and then impossible. I didn’t know where I was going. I knew what we had to leave behind and everything felt like a sad goodbye. That’s all I knew. But I clung to my children. No goodbyes, they were coming with. Those goodbyes turned into prayers. They turned into him rolling over and me thinking I could too. They turned into words and blogs and articles and books. He made them art when truthfully, they were just ugly emotions brought on by sickness. He forced me to find the beauty.
And now he goes. Like everything else. Like summer to fall. Pre-k to kindergarten. It goes. He goes. And I am immensely sad. I go with him, through every chapter, but gosh I wish there was room for one more. One more towel on the floor. One more…page. But there won’t be. Just new chapters in the same book, and I must learn to turn the page, even when I’m crying.