Sometimes it’s like it never happened. I think about Alex and it’s this terrible story that happened to someone we know, but it wasn’t us. It was this tragic story of a perfect, suburban family that lost a beautiful baby, but went on to have two more great kids. Not sure what that is… a Lifetime movie or something? A tale ripe for Oprah’s book club?
It’s not even about moving on anymore. It is what it is. The feeling of missing Alex is there. The hurt of not getting to hold him is there. Realizing that your family if different is no longer a shock. You’re back to the routines of your life like nothing ever happened.
The thank-you cards are going out. The dreaded task I couldn’t handle before is gradually being completed- 10 cards at a time. I’m running out of stamps and cards, but not out of energy yet. I am expressing gratitude to all the people who sent love, prayers and support during the worst time of our lives. It feels good. I can’t imagine how much lonelier this house would have felt without the commotion of visitors and the stream of cards and flowers and even frozen meals on dry ice.
A few more birth announcements have gone out too. Birth announcements that were addressed, but not mailed. It felt weird to send out birth announcements after Alex died, but I realized that sending them was yet another way I could honor his life. I am proud of this family. I want to show the ones we care about how beautiful our little Piggy was. So, the cards got mailed.
If people are weirded-out, confused or disturbed by it, I’m sorry. I wasn’t trying to be morbid or wacky. I just wanted to make sure that people got to see how great my boys looked together. Two and a half hours at the photo studio were worth it- and won’t go to waste.
I feel like I’m looking all the demons of grief squarely in the eye and continuing about my business. My baby died. What else could be worse? If our family, and our marriage can handle that, doesn’t that mean that the rest of our lives will be okay? I hear a noise in the middle of the night and my heart doesn’t even skip a beat. A burglar? No worries. Our family has been rocked by tragedy and nothing else can possibly touch us.
Humble and fearless. A business leadership book describes this combination as the ideal executive. Someone who can handle any challenge with confidence and poise, but does it without arrogance. That’s where I aspire to be in life. I’m not made for crawling into bed, pulling up the covers and crying myself to sleep. I’m made to protect my family from grief and to bring joy back into our lives.
I don’t worry about what the future holds for us anymore. (Not that I don’t have a long list of preferences about how I want things to go… when I want things to happen, and the order in which they should happen…) I have got preferences galore. It’s just that I’m not idly waiting for the other shoe to drop in our lives. With prayers and faith we will survive. With the love and support of others, our family will thrive.
I know we’re not done yet. I could wake up tomorrow with nothing but sadness, wracked with grief and tears about our baby Alex who’s gone forever. But today, I’m strong. I’m pulling for our family with a divine confidence that we will be okay. I can be impatient to know what the future holds for us, but I’m not scared.
For today, that’s good enough for me.