I knew it was this week. I knew it was coming.
Nevertheless, it managed to take me by surprise when I saved my weekly report and typed in the date and said, "Oh."
Maybe this is why I'm feeling contemplative. Why I'm feeling withdrawn and introspective, why I keep searching for him in the midst of a crowd and in the quiet of my heart.
Nine months. Twice as long as he existed. Time enough for a new human to have been created and born. As long as he was supposed to have been in me.
I would have thought that by nine months many things would have been different, if I could have comprehended nine months away at the beginning. I would have thought that I could breathe more easily, that I would be adapted, that the shattered feeling would have faded away.
Instead I find that while I can look back at that time and see the progress I've made, the reality sets in that I may always feel this shattered, this lost. I may always find my breath catching in my throat at inconvenient times and adaptation is a myth created to help those around you who need to believe that you can be better.
Or maybe adaptation is an apt word after all. I suppose I have adapted to this half-life of parenthood and mothering a spirit. I suppose I have adapted to the spiritual limp with which I walk, to the sharp pain that may accompany the unexpected reminder, to accepting that the most I have is a few pictures and a ring and a love that aches with longing.
I am learning to live with this constant presence of pain, and I can acknowledge now that it has not lessened so much as I have become accustomed to it. The tears are far less frequent and I rarely indulge in them when they spring up. Sometimes I am afraid that if I open myself up to that darkness again, I won't emerge. I came through it once, and that is enough.
Still, I miss him. How much I miss him still astonishes me. I would have expected the ache in my arms to lessen some, but they are as empty as ever. I wish to see his name today, to speak it aloud, to know it's not just a name pulled at random, it is the name that belongs to my son.