On my shoulders

I am carrying around those proverbial characters on my shoulders – you know the ones.  There is one that screams in my ears all day “to hell with everything and everyone! You were meant to walk this earth alone!” The other guy is really soft and supportive, he tells me “Max's life was invaluable and will continue to have meaning always – if you make it so.” The louder guy usually wins the battle and so I sit in my dark house all day crying, shutting everyone of importance (and unimportance) out of my life.

When I let the softer guy in, I think about this knowledge I have now...the deep knowledge I have that our souls go deep and that we can connect to other human beings in a way that is other worldy – the way I connected to and loved Max. The knowledge that this life is short and that I should be making the most out of every minute I have left. The knowledge I now have that so many people are suffering and that to acknowledge that IS, in fact, soft.  The awareness of people who actually care – whether it is because they understand true suffering or whether it is because they actually love us. When I listen to what he has taught me these last nine and a half months, I want to put myself aside, be sweet and loving for the sake of being sweet and loving, engage in the activities that used to bring me joy so that the time passes quicker, and put my sadness aside for the sake of making the people around me more comfortable – all of the people who just want us to be happy again.

Then the louder guy screams at me “They want you to be happy again because it will make them more comfortable.  They don't care about your happiness!  They only care about their own!  It will be no wonder when people treat you like Max's death was something 'to get over' when you start acting like you are over it!”. From him I have learned some terrible stuff - That my pain only matters to me. That there is no justice in the way that life works out...how could there be justice in a world where babies die? It makes me want to rob a bank. That for as many strangers who show incredible compassion, there are as many people who have known me forever that just want me to be all better and for the whole thing to go away because they are bored of it already. I love this post from another blogger about the things that she's learned (honestly, I love her whole blog, though I wish with everything that I am that she never had to write it). And - What about Max? WHAT ABOUT MAX?  The loud character reminds me daily that I hate you for not caring with me that his beautiful life is gone. Will Baby M's life matter more because he is the one that lives?  Don't you understand that they are both my sons???!!!   

I have had the flu for the last few days. The first night was unbearable – to have to hold this much emotional pain all day, every day, and then the pain of this flu on top of it was un-effing-bearable...and I am usually no wuss about being sick – I generally work, drink and exercise right through it, if it hits me at all. Yesterday, as I was falling asleep, I felt a hand on my shoulder – as real as anything I have ever experienced while awake. No joke.  I then heard a voice in my ear, clear as a bell, saying, “When are you going to kill yourself already?” It sucked all of the air out of the room.  I guess my loud friend sits on my left shoulder. If he had said anything kind at all, I would have been convinced that I was having an after death communication with my gramps or someone else I love who I've been trying to connect to. It shook me up badly. Is this what going crazy is like?  

But see, I can't let the loud character win...even though he is so much louder and more articulate! I've got Maxie's little brother on the way.  A JNF donor I love sends me an email every few weeks that says "Chai" in the subject line.  "Chai" means "Life" in Hebrew.  She spent seven years choosing life after the horrific murder of her brother.  She knows how dark it is "in here".  I know that soon, I have to start choosing life.  My little light is coming (in 73 days!)  I have to start listening to my right shoulder friend...my soft little angel.  I've been told Maxie is my guardian angel who will be on my shoulder for life.  If there is indeed an afterlife, he is waiting for me.  He knows that I am counting down the days until I get to see him again much like I am counting down the days until I get to meet his brother.  I just don't have as clear of a timeframe for my reunion with Max (but maybe he does).

The dark side screams while the light side whispers.  If you knew me, you would know that I have always chosen the "louder" people.  When my friends sit together, nobody can get a word in edgewise.  It's no wonder that the loud guy keeps winning.  But, Maxie was a quiet guy and he stole my heart in a more dramatic way than it has ever been stolen.  He brought out the softer side of me.  He was the first one to show me that the quiet ones shouldn't be overlooked.  They may not say much (or anything at all actually) but they will be with you.  They will connect to you (for real).  They will love you unconditionally.  They will wait for you on the other side for however long it takes for you to get there.  I know Maxie's little brother will give me the courage and desire to stay here a little longer.  I have to take care of him, and love him (and sing to him, and change his diaper, and bathe him and play with him).  I have to stay here for my husband - so we can someday dance again, laugh again, go outdoors together again.  My reunion with my first little boy will have to wait for now - however painful it may be...however loud the voice is that keeps calling for me to go be with him.  Most importantly, I have to ensure Maxie's life continues to have meaning.  I am literally fighting with the devil these days for these things.  He is screaming at me and I don't have the energy to scream back and in so many ways I think he is on to something.  But, I know, DEEP in my heart that I have some work left to do in this world and all of it is important enough to stick around for.  Maxie, please wait for me.  I love you.


Taryn said...

This is one of the most beautiful things I have EVER read. You have touched my heart. Thank you so much for reminding us to listen to the softer voices, because we all know the loud ones far too well. Sending prayers and warmest of thoughts your way today!

Tiffany Torres said...

so raw, and so honest. it's true. it's a constant battle in my head and heart between the light and dark. i too got the flu after Julius passed away (i can't tell you the last time i had the flu before that), and it was the most miserable few days i had. being sick on top of grieving is no joke.

Julius' middle name (Luciano) means light. so i often refer to him as my light. we named his sister after him and her middle name (Lucia) also means light. so i say that she is my light on earth while Julius is my light in heaven. it brings me comfort to think of it that way.