Sunday, June 04, 2006

Why June is a weird month...

Last night, after the house was quiet, I went to visit Melissa's The Lilting House. For some reason, even though it was already 11 pm, I decided to surf from her space on Club-Mom to some of the other mom blogs. (Wow. There's a whole world out there. I blush to admit I've never heard of Grey's Anatomy, besides the old edition of the book my father picked up in his medical student days. There's a Weight Watchers online?? Moms running marathons? Some people go to Starbucks more than once every 3 months when they are picking up their son at college 4 hours away or going to the liver transplant clinic in San Francisco? How interesting and almost eerie to see these other peoples' lives, especially at midnight. Like walking through a city neighborhood and looking into all the lighted apartments.)

Somewhere around 2 am I found The Wait and the Wonder.
This post led me to this site by way of this post
I already knew something of Melissa's story. I did not go to sleep until after 3 am. It was worth it. A kind of support group experience without having to go out of the house or out of myself; perhaps a kind of catharsis.

To lay alongside that: here's my husband's photo-story of our Aidan. Here's Aidan and Patrick's story written for a liver transplant newsletter. It is all very factual but that is the only way I have been able to write about it so far. So that's why I'm grateful for the intensity and honesty of stories like the ones linked to above. They speak for me, so I can process it without being overwhelmed.

This is why June is a weird month to me. It feels like I'm constantly running a double-exposed film. There's life as it is happening today, mostly peaceful and calm, and then there's those sudden violent shocks of flashback that knock out my breath.

Lying in the bed cuddling Paddy and nursing on a peaceful Sunday morning (holding a thin, frail yellowed newborn Aidan next to the sunlit window and suddenly noticing with a sharp pang what I already knew below the surface-- he is not getting less yellow, he's getting more so every day)

Standing outside while Aidan pushes his stroller up and down our street and chatters happily (the doctor says casually: we're transporting him to Stanford tomorrow -- why send him there? Oh, he is going to need a liver transplant)

Changing his bandage from the feeding tube just removed a couple of weeks ago and still leaking (he had an arterial bleed last night, so we will have to dc the arterial line and go back to daily blood draws)

Making nachos for Aidan (watching him wheeled off to transplant right after he went code- blue because of transfusion overload-- "he is in the beginning of congestive heart failure")

"Look Mom, I'm giving Pikachu a ride in the stroller!" (the little boy, about the age Aidan is now, victim of a hit and run, whose cut-down liver gave Aidan a chance at life)

Aidan cheerfully singing "No nay never no more, will I play the wild rover..." (a small, golden, swollen-bellied infant staring intently into my eyes, cuddled in my arms in a NICU rocking chair while I hum sad Irish ballads like The Town I Loved So Well and Grace: Now as the dawn is breaking, my heart is breaking too/On this May morn as I walk out, my thoughts will be of you /And I'll write some words upon the wall so everyone will know/
I loved so much that I could see his blood upon the rose)

Joy, terror, grief, loss of control, vivid recalls of heroic generosity and careless insensitivity, all-abiding love mingled with pain that shocks me with the way it seeps down into my bones. (I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death) It is probably too much to deal with except in those little violent flashes. So every June becomes double-track time, and it ALWAYS takes me by surprise. For some reason, I am always astonished and a bit ashamed when the house deteriorates, whenI start sleeping more and staying up at night more, and have to pause a second or two (struggling up through deep water) before I can say things that make sense.

So that journey through other peoples' lives has made me more aware of what's going on under the daily details of my own life right now.

Other posts:
When the Time Train Derails
Quotes to Think About
Aidan's Eyes

And please pray for:
the family of Gus Doriot


Elizabeth said...

I was just trying to articulate this morning why April and early May are so weird for me. And I couldn't do it to my satisfaction. I read this with tears rolling down my face and such a sense of knowing what it's like to live double-exposed film. Thank you, thank you for giving it a voice! God bless you and you know that Aidan is forever and always in my constant prayers.

Melissa Wiley said...

Oh, Willa. Oh, Willa. I'm weeping. Thank you for writing it, thank you for letting us share this with you. God bless you.

JennGM said...

Willa, just beautifully written. I'm writing this through tears...thank you for writing and sharing this with us. I have not experienced such hard crosses with my child or myself as you did, but your writing helps me understand the deepness and never-fading impressions they make.

Alice said...

Willa, this is one of the most powerful posts I have ever read. Thank you for articulating what is almost impossible to put into words.

Karen E. said...

Oh, dear Willa, the words sound weak ... I'm weeping, too, and this is just too beautiful.

Moreena said...

This is a gorgeous piece of writing, and an absolutely amazing testament to the love and strength of the bond between mother and child. I'm so glad I found your lighted apartment window.

Denise said...

This was a wonderful post. Thanks for sharing it with us. (I linked you just now in a post about liver transplants on Blogher