Thursday, May 31, 2012

Come what May

Last time I wrote here, it was May, of 2011. I thought I was finally back from hibernation, with thoughts and ideas and things to say. It's May again, almost not May anymore, of 2012. Almost 13 months since my last post. Three days less than that since the event that made it hard to speak for a long while. It really shouldn't have been this monumental. My grandmother was in a nursing home because of the rapidly progressing Alzheimer's. She wasn't herself, hadn't been for a long time. Her death was really a good thing for her-- what she had at the end was no life at all. And in that sense, it should've been a good things for all. But of course, as with all things death, it turned out to be much more complicated.

May 6th last year was a busy-busy day. A busy, but a very good day. I took Monkey and a friend to see older girls from her gym compete at a national-level meet, I stopped by an old place of employment to drop off student work, and after a very short pit stop at home, went to a girls' night out. Promising, no? Until the phone call from my sister. "Go outside," she said. I still remember that I didn't understand what she wanted. I didn't want to get up, and I thought she was telling me she's passing nearby the restaurant and wants to wave at me. Instead, she wanted to tell me that our grandmother took a sudden physical turn for the worst, and, just like that, she wasn't expected to last the night. She didn't. She died while I drove home from the restaurant.

The next few days are not actually a blur. I can trace them more vividly than many a day since then. One of the things we did was put together a collage of our grandmother's pictures. Well, my sister, she of software riches, did. I asked her to email me the scans of two of my favorite pictures -- I thought I would write of our grandmother, and soon. I have the pictures, but writing about her has not yet happened. Maybe now, though. I feel somehow steadier.

And so it is May again, and almost not May anymore. And a lot has happened. We have a puppy. By now, a respectably sizable puppy. He's over six months now, and, true to his breed, a lean and beautiful mischief machine. Monkey is 10. That's a little crazy as a concept, but even with all that the age brings, I have to say I like who she is, who she is becoming. The Cub is going on four, and is an incredible mix of sweetness, wiry energy, imagination and stubbornness, with a side order of strange little anxieties.

And (deep breath) I sit here today 34 weeks into what I hope is my last pregnancy. If this baby girl lives. I allow myself small little glimpses of what that might be like. But when people at the school or at Monkey's gym talk about "when" or any other sort of thing that implies how done this deal is, I just want to crawl into a small dark hole. I can't take it, though for the most part, somehow, I take it. It's four days now to the gestational age when A died. JD will be out of town when we roll up on it. But a good friend from college will be visiting. And Dr. Best is as ever vigilant and most kind. "We don't keep track of frequent flier miles. If anything at all feels off, call and come in. We understand." That's on top of my now twice-weekly monitoring. When I first called the practice to say I needed them again, Nurse Kind called me back with appointment dates and just to talk. "Are you ready for this?" she asked. "No," was my answer, with two "but"s attached-- I was more ready than I was a year before, when I first thought we'd try, but more importantly, I told her it would've been a lot harder to decide to jump again if we didn't know they were there to help us along.

Two weeks ago we went to the 50th birthday party for someone who was rather influential in our formative years-- he was a somewhat older grad student who was in charge of our living group for most of my undergraduate years. We were there when he and his wife brought their middle son home, to the tutor's apartment in our living group. So even though it's a terrible cliche, and even though I know it can be incredibly annoying and embarrassing, I couldn't help myself when I saw that kid walking through the room two weeks ago-- almost 17, way taller than me, and still completely recognizable. Last I saw him, a few years back, he was still a kid. Now-- a young man. His older brother, who did homework in our student lounge and had dinner with us, and pretty much thought of us as the coolest thing since sliced bread, he's married and has a baby. And still remembers and likes us. Damn! And a little bit of a mindfuck, I guess-- makes the math of our own ages pretty inescapable.

As the music started to play, I was chatting with the college friends seated at our table. JD, however, was watching the dance floor. He leaned over to me to point out that without being told, the two older boys got up and invited their grandmothers to dance. I knew what he saw, what he meant-- there will never be a day when both of our mothers are dancing with their grandsons at the same time. Another tiny never in a long string of nevers for us, but for whatever reason for JD, this one went deep. This one is not objectively easier or harder than any of the thousand cuts we've stumbled into over the years, or the many that I am sure are still to come. Each one revealing and underscoring the depth of the chasm that can't be remedied, can't be made better.

While I was away from here, I still occasionally wrote for Glow in the Woods. And this week I am there again, talking about that chasm, about how the enormity of it dwarfs all things, and how that makes me bristle at the idea of their deaths having a meaning or a reason. Please stop by, if you are in the mood.

I've been away too long. I am not saying this because I am under any kind of delusion that the blogoverse didn't keep spinning without me-- I am fairly sure my absence made not much of a difference to others. But I've missed this space, as I always do when I am gone. I want to be back in a real way, not haphazardly, as I've done since the Cub was born. So I am going to try to do for my mind what I did last summer for my body-- I am employing a commitment device, my very own blog writing marathon. Last summer I did the Insanity program-- 9 weeks of stringent exercise (on DVDs), 6 out of 7 days a week. I am declaring this to be my blog goal for the next month-- writing 6 out of 7 days for the month of June. For my own sake, I hope I stay on the wagon.