Thu 18 Jan 2007
it’s cold outside, and i’ve been hibernating under the blankets of my own mind, trying to catch up with myself. or hide. this time of year i’m never sure which is the better plan.
two years ago this morning, i woke up in my mother’s apartment as a Canadian resident for the first time in almost five years. i’d flown in at midnight the night before, in the aftermath of a massive snowstorm, to a city buried in white. with my freewheeling snowcab ride home from the airport included, the trip had taken thirty-six hours, door to door. i’d just moved home from Korea. i’d come alone, three weeks in advance of Dave’s return…i was trying to get a headstart on a job, and a house: on settling us into our new life here in the motherland. i was eleven weeks pregnant with Finn. and i thought, when i woke up that morning to a bright white street that i’d known since childhood, that the worst of my journey was behind me.
instead, two years later, i barely recognize the person i was on that morning. i remember her excitement, her rush to get going. i remember the tender, easy connection she had to the baby she was carrying, and her confidence that if something had gone wrong on the long flight, she’d know. i remember her anxiety, which was mostly about repatriation taxes and Revenue Canada, not about the pregnancy or looming parenthood. i remember that she tried to convince her mother that she could shovel the car out, no problem.
i cannot even write that paragraph in the first person, the disconnect is so strong.
i am no longer that person, nor will i ever be again. the breakdown of that first pregnancy a few months later changed forever my deep-seated secret belief that i was charmed, that all would ultimately be okay. the experience of Finn’s little hand squeezing my finger permanently altered my other deep-seated belief in myself as the star of my own life, the centre of my universe. and his death in spite of that, and the emptiness he left, nearly destroyed my belief that i could survive anything.
but i am here, two years later. Dave and i and Oscar, a family.
it’s snowy this morning, too. but i’m not in a rush. i don’t give a fuck about the taxman. and i seldom, any longer, assume that my instincts about things being okay – or not – are particularly good. but i pay attention to the people i love in a way i never knew how to before.
i’m still learning acceptance…this change has been the hardest, and has come most slowly. i asked myself this morning if i’d go back, if i could, to that day two years ago. if i could lay a clean blanket of snow over all the tracks of grief and change the intervening months have made on me, on us….would i do it? and i knew even as i asked myself the question that i couldn’t answer.
i would not trade Oscar to have Finn back, and had Finn lived the chance that O would have been born when he was, as who he is, are slim. even in my fantasies, i know i cannot have both. and so there really is no choice to make. perhaps that’s all acceptance is – coming to terms with how profoundly out of one’s control some parts of life can be.
to come to terms with something, you have to face it.Â so every now and then, i stop along the path and look back…i cannot help myself. and for a moment or two, i turn into a pillar of salt, a frozen pile of tears, gazing at what might have been.
then i look at what is, and give thanks, and keep going.Â this blog is my tracks.