The blueberry bush sits dry and likely, dead, but still a part of my home amid the greenery in my front yard. It seems like watering it when needed is such a simple task that there is no real good reason why it shouldn't get done. But there are no simple tasks these days, and many things don't get done. Every once in a while I am horrified to discover a dirty diaper under a pile of laundry, unsure as to how long the diaper has been hidden there. I feel like I must be the biggest slob in the world, which doesn't make sense, because I also feel that I am constantly on the go.
Nothing gets the attention it should these days. Not my kids, not my husband, not my dogs, not my house - certainly not my work. Direct file referrals are pouring in for me these days, and I'm on the brink of two appellate decisions that I am fairly confident will be favorable. Maybe they will be. Maybe they won't be. But either way, I am moving files - exactly what clients want.
Actually, clients want a lot of things. They want to be your priority. They want everything done right now. Everything is a rush. Everything should have been done already. Nothing can wait until tomorrow. Everything is extreme. EVERYTHING.
There was a time in my life when I was motivated by this kind of pressure. How many A papers have I written in the 12 hours preceding their deadline? The appeals mentioned above were written and submitted within a crunched statutory time limit. I can pat myself on the back, for I have shown a tremendous capacity to take pressure, grief, anger, and pain and turn it into steam to propel me through life.
But I feel like I've run out of steam. I don't know why. I guess we all have our breaking point and I suppose my breaking point is a lot farther and a lot less destructive than others' might be, but it's still devastating.
It is then that the weight of the loss of my son crushes me. I live with his absence daily, the ache is constant and painful. Now, as I tread water to stay afloat I feel the hole inside of my heart being crushed by the heaviness of having lost my son. Five years ago today I held my son in my arms through his seizures and labored breathing until his heart beat one last time, and he died. I felt his tiny body stiffen with death in my arms, and I kissed him one last time before giving him over to a very kind and solemn undertaker so that he could burn my little boy to ashes. I took those ashes and placed them in a little, tomb-like cavity and marked his place in this world with a little plaque, and a few times a year I visit that final resting space but every single day I long to feel him again.
Am I blue? How can I know anymore? How can I distinguish between the depression that I have experienced all of my life, and the grief of the traumatic experiences that I've been through, and the postpartum depression compounded by back-to-back pregnancies, and the stress of every day life? When are my responses selfish, and when are they self-loathing, and when are they natural, and when are they wallowing? I don't know anymore.
Above all I am thankful that Gabriel was trusted to me to love and care for. I know that this was no accident, I know that I was blessed - Blessed with the gift of a child, blessed to be charged with the care of a terminally ill unborn baby, blessed that I got to spend ten days with him when most people walking in my shoes will never get that opportunity. I am blue, but I am blessed. I don't have time to water plants, but even in life's rush I carry Gabriel with me every day. His life and his loss are a part of me. Even as the branches of the blueberry brush dry and harden and threaten to break every day, I keep and guard them. Life isn't easy, hearts don't break evenly, and all I can do is hold on for the ride.