Today is a day I’ve been thinking about for a while. Actually, it would be more accurate to say that I’ve spent quite a bit of time trying not to think about it. For the last month I’ve been dreading, Tuesday, February 7th, and for the past two weeks I’ve been busily keeping my mind otherwise occupied. I even found a pair of earphones so that I could listen to music while I pushed the girls in the stroller, doing my best to not think.
It’s more bearable to glide over the surface, moving fast and keeping busy, and only vaguely sensing that today I am on thin ice and a wrong move might send everything crashing down in a torrent of tears. Most days are nothing like today. On most days I can think of our little saint and smile. But today is different. Today I should have a baby in my arms. Or at the very least I should be impatiently complaining that it’s time for the baby to arrive, shuffling around the house spilling things and nesting, freezing meals and neatening the girls’ room. And so today the absence of our little one is achingly prominent.
It has helped to talk with my confessor about the emotions that have come and gone these past months. I wasn’t really angry until I was past the surgery, and then, with my focus shifted from surviving to living, things became almost more difficult. Isn’t that strange? The first three months of health problems were frightening and painful, but they were almost easier in a way, because the focus was on the physical aspects and finding out what was wrong. Now that we’re safely past that, I’m discovering new challenges.
If I’d been asked these last few months, I wouldn’t have said I was angry at anyone in particular, but my temper has been incredibly short. The sacrament was a great comfort, as was the priest’s gentle reminder that it isn’t necessarily a bad thing to have a reason to long for the world to come, because it makes us want sainthood all the more.
Still, I wouldn’t mind fast forwarding ahead a few weeks, past this first anniversary.
In the meantime I’m just going to keep moving today. I’m going to cook and clean and take the girls to the park for a play date and I’m going to do my best not to think. I’m going to try not to wonder if each milestone will be as clear and painful as this one, but will hope that time will soften the memory and that the ache will fade, so that February 7th is no longer a day that I dread from the moment each New Year arrives.
Dory’s quote from finding Nemo: “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…” keeps running through my head. I’m sure that the girls will do their part to keep me busy. And before I know it, the eighth will have arrived and the day that should have been our little saint’s birth day will have finally come and gone.