Three months and one week since we last walked through the sliding glass doors of sterilized air and woodless surroundings at UCSF.
That seems to be all it takes.
In a moment, one day, earlier this week, I felt space in my lungs, I felt relaxed, I felt free. Peter was tired, keeping his eyes closed and I said, “he’s probably okay.” He never felt especially warm. I never took his temperature.
One week before the three-month moment, all the same circumstances, I checked his temperature three times that day to “monitor him.” Before three months, I am half mother/half nurse, weighing him weekly, eyeing him suspiciously. After three months: “he is probably okay.”
Tomorrow it will be one year and three months since I held my Celeste, since I last felt her move. I no longer feel entangled by grief. I no longer feel bound by a sadness bigger than I can understand.
Yet, all this change, all this relief, all this rest makes me feel a little lost. I leaned into home.
We finished our hall bathroom remodel.
A room I once avoided because it was dingy and gross now feels fresh (hello new toilet) and attracts my eyes to glide over the textures of linen-like tile, matte ceramic and high gloss drawers.
I sank into education orchestrating my daughter’s end-of-the-year review. Even though there is still talk about my husband being the primary teacher, I grow more skeptical each day that this is really the arrangement.
I dug into reading for hours each night when the kids are in bed, immersing myself in Le Morte d’Arthur retold by modern master T. H. White. I reset my evenings after long and sometimes lonely days with the kids.
But still, I am searching. Still, I am not entirely sure where I am or where I belong. Still, I cannot see the path below me clearly. Not knowing what else I am moving towards, I focus on the moment.
The moment lives as this short space around me. What happens beyond the moment? At one time I was surviving the hospitalization, at another I was preparing for her birth and death, preparing for a baby, surviving the newborn days, surviving the grief.
It is a new phase. I’m exploring (sometimes with my eyes closed) the space around me, stretching out my arms, feeling my way. My children grow older. My babe-in-arms says, “No, mommy!” if I cuddle or kiss him too much, then skips off to be like the big kids. I could have a career but I know in my mind I am called to attend to my first vocation as wife and mother. As much as I’d like “writer” to be my first vocation, it isn’t.
I cannot think of clever posts to write every day. I cannot imagine how to engage a tribe. I cannot do what it takes to get the numbers to please the publishers to print that book.
And I have to be okay with that.
So what then?
There isn’t an answer to that question and the search is not particularly depressing. It is just life. Aren’t we all walking around wondering what is the next right thing, the next right step?
I know it starts in the home; I know it starts in community.
What I don’t know is if writing about it is particularly interesting to others because I cannot install Google Analytics on a WordPress.com site without paying more money each month than I want to commit to.
You’ll have to tell me…if you want to.
But if you don’t want to, that’s okay too.
In this space, I’ll be working on another reflection booklet or a mini-liturgy for the home for those souls aching to reach into Heaven barefoot and during the baby’s naptime. I hope you’ll keep walking with me. We are all trying to find our way, whether out of grief or into life. Nobody has it perfect, nobody has it down, and that’s okay.