Hanging on by a thread.
Dangling precariously over the pit of despair
Knuckles white, breath coming in short gasps
Fingers loosening with each why?
Why did this happen? How will I survive? How can I balance who I am with who I need to be and who I was and who I will be and the fact that nothing will ever be the same again?
I wake in the night with a splitting headache. No, wait...the headache's not what wakes me. I wake to Gabriel climbing in bed with me, slipping himself in the protected space between me and his sleeping daddy, and I realize that I have a headache.
Because my teeth are clenched so hard I can barely prise them apart to open my mouth to whisper the words
'Go to sleep, sweetheart'
to the little one snuggling up to me for protection from the night and the cold that the darkness brings with it.
I listen for his breaths to get deeper and slower and I feel his solid little body pressed up next to mine, and I know that I have to hang on.
I need something to anchor me. I need something to hold on to that can keep me here, feet planted firmly on the ground.
They need me here as much as I need them...the children with all their vitality.
I once had a balloon, you know how you get them at the end of birthday parties when the parents are eager to be done with the festivities and the decorations and the kids invading their house and they hand you a balloon with a goodie bag tied to the end of it? But what I didn't realize at the time was that the goodie bag was what was holding the balloon in place. Without the weight of all that goodness in the little plastic baggie, the balloon will float away. And so, when I opened my little bag of dollar store treats, the balloon let go and floated away. I still remember how that blue globe looked as it bobbed and floated away from me getting smaller and smaller in the sky until nothing was left of it but a speck which soon vanished behind a cloud.
I am that balloon, and Hazel Grace is the goodness that is holding me here. She's the treat at the end of the string all wrapped up in her little cotton blankets...
Only I can't take her home.
So every day, as I leave her bedside, I am a lost, bobbing balloon that someone let go of at the end of the party. I drive away from the hospital that both sustains her and holds her prisoner, and I get home to my solid house filled with solid children and I land temporarily in the safety of their grasping hands. But sometimes it's just too much...
the neediness of it all...
the house, the laundry, the dishes, the breakfast lunch dinners,
and those needs turn into needles that prick and poke until I'm sure I'm going to explode.
How do I balance all of this? Their needs, her needs, my needs...
How do I keep my sanity and do and be all the things that I need to do and be right now?
And so, I have not written here. I don't have peaceful words right now. Life is on high speed whizzing all around me and yet I am getting nowhere.
Schooling is slow, dishes laundry dust are piling and the days drag
with no end in sight
and the breath is shallow and painful squeezing through a tight throat and pushing back the tears.
And I will myself to get up, to move, to put one foot in front of the other and plow through the day so that I can crash into the bed again at night, in the wee hours of the morning when it's barely night anymore
because right now, it feels like that's all there really is.