I was a little not-myself this weekend.
I had several of those FAIL moments where I couldn’t believe my own stupidity, including locking my entire purse in the car and turning what should have been a nice TGIF dinner with my girlfriends into a parking-lot fest during which I had to borrow one friend’s phone and another’s credit card number because, of course, all of that stuff was in my purse. (Thanks again, N & C, for being so awesome.)
Then again, some of you know that I do have some absent-minded tendencies that verge on airheadedness… and certain situations exacerbate this. As I found out this summer, grief does not help me stay organized. I have been trying very hard to stay on top of this since school started, especially being a total newbie when it comes to kindergarten, but it’s an effort. Sometimes the airhead sneaks in to win the day.
My E was also not himself on Friday. Sean told me he’d barely eaten all day, and he was kind of quiet and clingy. I kept feeling his forehead, which was only kinda warm. After I put him to bed (he actually wanted to go – there’s another warning bell), even as he slept, he kept making audible little sighing and moaning sounds. That’s not normal for him either.
These days, I worry more than usual when E seems “not himself”. I get an awful quivering anxiety in the pit of my stomach and I want to just grab him and not let go.
I know I’m overreacting, but my heart doesn’t know how to sort these things out. In spite of my reasonable self, I imagine deadly illnesses that barely show symptoms – one minute he seems fine, just a little off, and the next thing you know, it’s too late and you’re wondering what went wrong.
My fear starts there, but often it gets worse. My not-so-rational self goes back over the events of the day, as if pre-remembering E’s last hours: if E suddenly fell victim to that imaginary deadly illness, what would be my final memories of him? I would remember the way he flirted over the restaurant bench with that little girl… the way he held C’s hand as he sat beside her in our booth… how he kept asking to go to the potty just so he could flush and make the “woosh” sound… how thrilled he was to see a real live tow truck with blinking lights in the parking lot… how he said so politely, “Can we go home, please, Mommy?”… how he sat in my lap for stories and with unbearable sweetness told me “Mommy, I love you,”… how docilely he agreed to go to bed, and how quickly he fell asleep. These normal, charming little moments would suddenly be my most cherished memories, my last ones with my beloved boy.
This is the part where I tell myself I’m being silly and maudlin. He’s not even sick, he’s just a little off. Sometimes it helps to imagine calling Telehealth and telling a nurse about it: they would ask, in that matter-of-fact way, about fever and vomiting and blood in the stool and “Has he been inconsolable for more than an hour?” I’d be like, “Well, he was making funny sounds in his sleep…” Those nurses know how to put things in perspective.
But really, now that I think about it, this fear I have is just a natural parallel. After all, Sebastian passed a non-stress test one night and was gone the next morning. I had thoughts like these before he died, but it was easier to reassure myself back then. Now, the above scenario does not seem impossible to me, or even very far-fetched.
It doesn’t help to have read A Mourning Mom‘s story, which proves that good people can be struck by the worst tragic misfortune – twice. These brave parents lost two sons – their last-born at six weeks of age, when he appeared completely healthy. It’s the saddest blog I’ve ever read – and yet I’m compelled.
So why do I do this to myself? Why do I even let myself think about all this? Frankly, I can’t tell if this is the worst thing to be doing – or the best… If this is me processing in a healthy way, or just indulging in mawkish woolgathering that unnecessarily stresses me out.
Whatever it is, I don’t know if I have a choice about it.
I dreaded turning the clocks back this weekend. Usually, I’m stoked about an extra hour of sleep, but this year, the thought of the early darkness was oppressive. It made doing the dishes seem daunting – and the rest of my To-Do list look completely insurmountable.
But this morning, it was nice to wake up to light coming in the window. It turned out to be a truly beautiful morning – mild and sunny with bright blue skies. And kindergartners, even on days when they’re being more turbulent than usual, never fail to make me smile.
I’m sure November will be over before I know it, right?