Sometimes it seems so much of grief is waiting and anticipating and preparing for the next big event, reminder, or trigger, only to trip over something you never thought of. This fall, I find myself waiting, poking at old wounds to see if they still hurt.
I waited for the first day of school, wondering if I would see his ghost as we watched our friends from the neighborhood get on the bus. Instead, I was busy corralling Kathleen so she didn't run into the road. The bus pulled away and we went back to our breakfast.
I waited to see how reliving "The Golden Age of Henry" would feel, the two glorious weeks we had with him home after surgery before he got sick. There was no oxygen. He looked good. We thought we had a fresh start. I was trying to schedule Early Intervention visits, opthamologist and audiologist appointments, and follow up cardic check ups. We were visiting with family and neighbors and friends. I took a deep breath and pushed those first hard months to the side. I waited for September 11 when those first hard months turned out to be the easy part and we entered the dark age, but that day came and went. I didn't forget, but I didn't find myself thrust back there either.
I played Henry's CD the other day. I hadn't listened to it for a long time. I wasn't plunged back to the CICU. I didn't cry, didn't even get a little teary.
I know I'm not done, not "over it," but something feels different right now. For two years, I walked through Henry's life again, reliving it all from birth to surgery to new start to ambulance to hospital to home to singing his spirit out. This year is different, and I'm waiting to see what this new path is like, trying to enjoy the scenery and not worry about what might loom around the next corner.
I find myself waiting to see how December will feel this year, how fear and anxiety might come to play in this pregnancy, how I will again balance deep hope and joy and the heaviest of grief as December draws near.
And yet while I wait, I am here in these days, watching Kathleen dance in the rain, run in a crazy moth flitting pattern across the lawn, wave and blow enthusiastic kisses to everything from Daddy to the goats at the farm to the binky she leaves in her crib after a nap. It isn't a bad place to be.