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.
When the Time Train Derails
Quotes to Think About
And please pray for:
the family of Gus Doriot