When I brought her home from the hospital that windy October afternoon, I never imagined what the next two years would hold, or that two years later I would leave the very same hospital with empty arms and an empty heart. I never imagined that I could love her so much that it would hurt so bad when I did leave. I never imagined that so many, many years later -she would wander across my mind and catch me off guard as I remembered the days. The days I spent not with her -but the days spent without her.
The days I spent with her were so short. So few. So far between. The memories I made with her were untainted, and unrecorded. I spent time with her not out of guilt or desire to remember, or because there might be a time when I looked back and would need those times to get through the difficult days. No, I didn’t spend time with her because of fear. The fear that I might not see another day with her. The time was short, but it was untainted, and unforced. It was as natural as it could have been.
As much as I have pushed through the grief and everything associated with it, and come out the other side -there is one piece that follows me around. Life will never be the same, and I have come to accept this fact. I have come to understand that I won’t be the same. I have even become ok with life, and have put my best foot forward in trying to understand the future, and what is involved with it. I have put my head in the game, and for the most part -do a pretty good job at living life. Or so I like to think. But there is one thing that still nags at the back of my mind.
Spending time with the people I care about and love is something that has taken me a long time to come around to. Getting close to people, opening up, talking, sharing, and building relationships is hard. It doesn’t come natural or easy. I constantly wonder if I am screwing up, doing it right, or making an un-fixable mistake. If I spend too much time with someone I wonder if it was the right thing. But not spending time with them leaves me wrecked with guilt imagining a day when I look back and WISH I had spent more time.
I long for those simple, untainted days.
Those days where I didn’t look at someone and want to plead with them to just take a few extra minutes and listen to what their kids are really saying. A day when I can spend time with the kids, and people I love and not have to feel like I am doing it out of duty -or for a rainy blue day.
I wish for that dumb, blind and ignorant view of the world. The one that knows there is danger around every corner -but assumes that somehow, it is for everyone but me. The one that sees sick kids, and only feels a small bit of remorse for what they are going through, and not a full fledged panic attack brought on by the memories of hospitals, machines, and death.
To go back to those days -where life was difficult, frustrating, confusing and hard. The life that made no sense, the life that I was screwing up -yet somehow made work. The life where a smile could make the entire day a little bit better.
Instead I try, in vain, to not be held back. To love without restraint, and live without regret. To be without the guilt and constant reminders. Sometimes it works -and sometimes it doesn’t. Some days I am able to say no without feeling guilty, and other days I am so wracked with the feelings that I could have…should have, done more -that I am unable to say no, and instead say yes, yes, yes -a million times over. As if buying extra candy, spending money I shouldn’t and giving time I don’t have will right all my wrongs. As if trying hard enough today will twist the past -and change the future.
One day maybe.