Thursday, June 13, 2013

Just Breathe

June came.
And tossed me around a bit too dramatically.
A visit to the ER for a brief moment robbed me of my steely reserve.
Shook me unexpectedly and gave me an unwanted scare.
Fleetingly, all I could think of was my girl.
Not myself,
Lily Lily Lily.
Over and over and over again.

This must be the worst of what parenthood promises...
The responsibility of another life more important than yours.

Alan would have rolled his eyes at my what-ifs, but this time,
I couldn't help it.
The struggle to be two parents to one child is challenge enough, the thought of no parents for one child is...

And yet.
She was fine.
And I kept the unwanted fears at bay for most of an evening.
Shut them down, pushed them away, kept them
Way Down Deep.
And I was fine.
I was.
Happily, gratefully, fine.

But then other things creep up to take their place.
Unwanted memories, everywhere-flashbacks.
The socks, open backed robes, disinterested nurses, distanced receptionists,abandoned old people grasping at air, and the feeling that you are just one life among many -
the feeling of insignificance, humbling.
Doctors seem scarce, attention casual,urgency elsewhere.
I had been to this place before -
Alan always stoic, and I terrified but composed.
And this night, I discovered, I'm a much better advocate and caretaker for others than myself.

A nurse seemed surprised when I couldn't remember what days I had felt lousy the week before.
And I heard myself confess:
I'm widowed. I'm a mom to a four year old. I don't pay much attention to myself.
You feel awful,

Note to self, work harder on that.

And I will.

But seamlessly the wagons circled.
And I was able to just breathe.
I had family on the East Coast with me for hours, family on the West Coast at the ready, an amazing nanny with my girl, and employers and friends anxiously keeping tabs.
It is a luxury to be taken care of.
And so good to love and be loved.

To paraphrase some lyrics,
Oh I'm a lucky woman, to count on both hands the ones I love.

(worth a listen)

How I wish Alan could have been here to comfort, but everyone rose up in his place.