Our dogs have to have brown rice cooked for them every couple of days. This morning I put the pot on, turned the gas way up so that the water would boil, dumped the rice in, and then forgot about it. I usually remember to turn the heat down once the water is boiling. Today, I didn't. And we left, to take the dogs for a walk. We came home to a house full of smoke and a burning pot on the stove. We were probably 5 minutes from flames, I'd wager.
E's sister is in town with us for the week. Harder than I thought it would be. She and I are very close, and became even closer in the week following Otis's death - she was instrumental in our funeral arranging and dealing with so many details that week. She wanted to come back out, to be a support for us, to show her love, yadda yadda. I am finding it really difficult to have someone here right now. I am falling apart by the hour, pretty much, and it feels really odd to have her here. E is in better spirits than I am, (and that's an understatement, at best), and he is very happy she's here. So it's the two of them, chattering away, talking about going to yoga classes and out to dinner and this and that...and meanwhile, I am wondering which closet would be the most comfortable to spend the next six weeks inside of.
Last night we went out to dinner and ran into an old, old, old friend of mine. She is in town from Holland, visiting her dad (who lives in my neighborhood) and we ended up sitting next to them at a family style table in the restaurant. She knows about Otis, she is on my face.book and she sent me a one line condolence on there...her dad knows about Otis, he also is on fb...but neither of them mentioned a single word about him. This is the first time they've seen me in person since Otis died. It's not like they've forgotten. I made reference to being pregnant at some point in our dinner conversation, and it's like they both just blew over it. I think this was the first really extended conversation I've had with someone where they didn't mention him once. It stung. I have had moments with others in passing, where people stumble over their words or we pass each other quickly on the street and they don't say anything, but an outright omission during an entire dinner conversation felt so so wrong, and so sad. I wanted to scream at them to JUST SAY IT. MY BABY DIED. Did they think I had forgotten, and that their bringing it up would somehow make me remember and ruin my dinner? Here's the thing, people. There is not a moment in a day, not since September 12 at 1:24 am when he came out of my womb and into my world, that I haven't had a constant stream of OtisOtisOtisOtisOtisOtis running through my mind. It doesn't stop, ever. Sometimes the stream makes me smile, sometimes the stream makes me cry - but it's always there. Not acknowledging it feels a bit like the sky turned purple as we stood and watched and you decided not to comment on it.
My birthday is on Friday, as if the week of Thanksgiving weren't already enough of a whopper to deal with. And everyone is trying to accommodate me and my grief and nobody wants to make big plans but at the same time everyone is "we just want to honor you and show our love for you and no, it's not celebratory, it's just that we love you so much..." and I should be grateful, sure...but I just want to fucking yell at all of them and make them angry enough so that they don't want to spend the day with me. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, I can think of that will make this week feel okay to me. I can't even envision a "bearable" version. Oh, did I mention that I have a doctor's appointment on Friday? Because my fucking episiotomy is still not healing and I am in more pain now than I was in those first few days postpartum? And after almost ten weeks of pretty steady postpartum bleeding I finally stopped but just today I started back up? Because, you know, it's just not enough that my baby didn't survive childbirth, but my body can't figure out how to right itself now either.
And having a birthday also brings up the usual "I'm getting old" stories, except this year the stories about getting old have this beautiful new stain on them, the "I'm destined for infertility" theme. I was already of "Advanced Maternal Age" when I got pregnant with Otis. The numbers and figures scared me, but we bucked the odds and I got pregnant really without too much trouble. I am so terrified that this time around (if I am ever able to have sex again) we won't be quite so lucky.
Last year on my birthday, E gave me a poem and a dandelion necklace. The poem was titled "the wish" and he wrote about our dreams together - we were trying to get pregnant, we finally were ready to take that jump together, it was so exciting, so fun, life was one big adventure and we were ready to embark on it together... We celebrated my birthday in Portland with our best friends. It was one of the best weeks of my life. His poem made me cry. I was full of hope, full of love, full of eager anticipation for the life ahead of us. 3 weeks later I got pregnant.
One year later, and it was the very best year of my life and the very worst. Distill it down to September 12 and 13 - the very best day of my life and the very worst. It's a wonder that anyone's brain continues to function after having to assimilate such extremes in such a short time period. Or, well, perhaps the brain ceases to function - hence, the burning down the house.
I am not functioning well. I am barely scraping by.
I am terrified of the year ahead. I am terrified to imagine my birthday next year and being stuck in a similar place, or, even worse, being in a more hopeless state. I would like to think that next year at this time I will look back and be able to count my blessings from the last year, be able to rub my big pregnant belly or snuggle my newborn, blissfully madly in love with my husband and with a greater sense of peace about Otis's death...but I just can't see how I could ever go from the point where I am now to that point there. Instead, I worry that next year at this time I will just be one year older and a whole lot more desperate.
Oof, it's all doom and gloom around these parts.