One breath at a time

Thursdays just suck.  Every Thursday is one more week since I last saw Max.  Plus, my housekeeper comes on Thursdays, so I try to get lost.  My housekeeper and I always had a rather contentious relationship.  She wasn't sure that her job in our house was to clean, I always reminded her that, indeed, that was exactly her job.  Whenever she used to see me at home when she got there, she would roll her eyes.  That is, until the day when Max was home with me.  Not sure what it was, but they had an instant connection.  He was flirting with her and she was peek a booing back with him and I was trying to feed him and I just gave up because he was so much more into her than his yams.  After their first love connection, she really warmed up to me and whenever she came over, she would talk to me about Max, asking questions and talking about how cute he was.  Every few weeks, he would be there when she got there and the two of them would go at it again.  I warmed up to her too.  Anyone who loves my son can do no wrong.  The Thursday after Max died, my housekeeper came over and saw me in the house.  She got a big smile on her face because she thought Max was with me.  I should have called her but it was the last thing on my mind.  When she came in she beamed, "Where is the baby?" and I had to say, "the baby died last week."  Sickening.  Her face went white.  She sped to his room and looked inside, as if I was joking and he would be sitting there.  She looked around and saw the gigantic posters of Max all over our living room and she slumped to the floor crying, "No puedo creer!  No puedo creer!" (I can't believe it), she screamed.  I could barely stand myself and found that I began to comfort her (as I did with so many people in the weeks following Max's death.  Totally bizarre, but I found myself comforting the people that loved Max instead of the other way around in a lot of cases).  All I could say to her was, "yo tampoco" (me neither), because, of course, I STILL don't believe it.  She still cleans our house, I get lost because I can't handle her grief.  I am having too much trouble dealing with my own.  Usually I come over to my mother's house and work and read over here.  My mother left for El Salvador and Costa Rica this morning at 4 am.  I knew the house would be empty.  I drove in the gates and parked my car, walked up to the house, opened the door and set off the alarm.  It is LOUD.  I couldn't call my mom because she is in Central America, my brother wasn't answering his phone.  I tried all of the combinations I could think of but my heart was beating through my brains and I thought I was going to pass out.  I guess there has been a rash of burglaries in the neighborhood recently.  I hadn't thought to ask her for the alarm code because I have never had to use it before.  Thankfully, my brother finally called me back with the code.  Not really related, but actually related in my boggled brain (try to stay with my stream of consciousness for a minute if you will), yesterday morning I woke up at 4 am and smelled gas in our room.  I thought it was my imagination and tried to go back to sleep but it really smelled like gas.  I couldn't figure it out and I am not sure why I didn't get up and start checking around but for some reason, I convinced myself that I was imagining it.  Finally, around 5 am, I went into our bathroom and heard a sound like the air coming fast out of a balloon.  I opened the door from our bathroom that leads to an outside storage closet and found that gas valve on the side of the house open and shooting gas.  I have no idea how long it was like that but it scared the living daylights out of me.  I KNOW that even if you haven't had a child die, you can relate to those times in life when if it isn't one thing it is another. It seems like it has been that way since Max died.  Obviously, every other thing that has happened, on its own, would be regretful or a set back or an annoyance, but somehow in the shadow of his death, it all seems so much worse: Ted's insect incident and all of his poison oak, my mom's broken arm, my brother's cat died (which wouldn't have been so bad, afterall, he was over 20 years old.  But my poor brother came over to my mom's while I was here one day and had to dig the hole in our pet cemetery and bury the cat by himself.  It was sad to watch), my miscarriage.... blah, blah, blah, you know the story.  All of the grief experts say that all I can do is "take one breath at a time".  Living one breath at a time is agonizing.  I am the type of person that used to make lists of potential upcoming vacations and count down days and get excited about seasons and holidays before they even arrived.  Now I am living one breath at a time, and I am just getting started.


marirob said...

Dear Abby,

I'm so sorry I haven't contacted you and Ted earlier. I just found out about your blog through Ted's Facebook post and just spent the last two hours reading it. I decided to take your advice and "go public" with my love and admiration for you.

I've learned through my meager craft blog that the hardest thing to write about is your feelings. It's so much easier to write about the superficial that to talk about the difficult times, like our troubles with infertility or my postpartum depression. I find you SO BRAVE. To be able to express how you're feeling and to be so honest with what is going on must be so difficult. I've felt grief but so unlike the depth and level you have. No one should have to go through what you and Ted are going through.

Abby, I just wanted to let you know how I think of you often and you are always in my heart. I wish I knew the right words to say (I'm sure you've heard that many, many times!) but know that I am here for you in any way I can help; knitting, fertility questions, a shoulder to cry on.

I have this weird idea that when you post a photo of someone on the internet, their soul lives on. I know, crazy times. But I see your blog as a testimony of your love for Maxie and the more people read your words and see your photos, the more Maxie's beautiful soul will spread around the world and live on through all of us.

lots of hugs and kisses,
Mari (and rob and julia)

Bianca said...

What!? The alarm, the gas... why in the world are you getting slammed with these things when you already have so much to bear? I'm so sorry! I don't understand the order of the universe and am so ready for good things to come to you and Teddy and your families. I am praying for this, and for sweet Maxie who I love and miss so much.