Encroaching November

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?



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11 thoughts on “Encroaching November

  1. Mama says:

    Eventually, one learns to live even with November. If that’s any help…

    from “November” (from “A Year in the Country”)

    Even when the sky is heavy with grey cloud
    The soft breathing of the earth,
    Slipping toward winter sleep,
    Makes beautiful the very air,
    Imbues the ground with the peace
    Of all things at home,
    Their places known,
    God’s order shown.

  2. emerge says:

    Yes. November. I’m sorry that you are going through this – but glad to know that it’s not just me! – you have heard all about my recent scared-beyond-reason attitude. (And you know that I think those same worst-case scenarios about Everett, even at my level of remove!)

    And you DO have reasons to be scared, maudlin, whatever you feel like, but you ALSO have reasons to back up your perspective shiftiness – early evening, fleeting sun, the wearing-down of mid-term time… But also – it IS good for you to be going through this – to the extent that you are writing about it! Which I think gives it both validity and a certain amount of exorcism. Or something like that.


    I like the spleen heart, and am thinking those Xs at you right now too. Just screenlessly.

    kiss hug kiss

  3. diblog says:

    Thanks for the heart AND the spleens! It’s actually very very appropriate, if you look at the French “Spleen”… melancholic state linked to time and seasons… the anguish of existence… But for the record, that second spleen came up as a perfect heart on my phone.

  4. Rachel McQuail says:

    Diana, I can relate. I can’t watch or hear about anything awful happening to a child without it leading me to worry that such a thing could happen to Elliot. And I haven’t gone through anything like you have. So I certainly don’t think you’re silly or maudlin, and I’m sure that E doesn’t mind the extra hugs and kisses that such thoughts may inspire. : )
    And thank you for writing this blog. I rarely manage a response but I ALWAYS read and am so grateful for what you write as you so often ‘speak to my condition’.

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