It didn’t seem to matter that I had plans for this weekend. They weren’t big plans, for my SweetHeart had been sick for most of the week, and I was a bit tired myself. But, I did have mini- plans nonetheless~ little things to keep the checkmarks going on the to-do lists of life.
By Friday night though, I knew something was wrong. I didn’t know what exactly, just that things didn’t feel right.
Not only was I unusually fatigued and suspect that I was catching the hideous cold or flu or whatever my SweetHeart had been down with, but there was also this huge and heavy fog of what felt like sadness that seemed to be enveloping the air I was trying to breathe.
I couldn’t name it and I couldn’t explain it, but I could just tell that something was wrong.
Saturday morning came and I felt all around worse.
Physically, every little bit of activity exhausted me. My head and chest were full of mucus and my asthmatic lungs were not impressed. There were random shooting pains throughout my body and my skin felt like the fabric touching it was leaving bruises.
As awful as all of that was, I could chalk it up to the traveling illness. But emotionally, the sadness had become so heavy, and at points there were tears so close to the surface that I was relieved to go in the shower so no one would see me.
The thing is, I’m not a cryer~ like almost never~ not unless a baby or a dog dies or something~ so I couldn’t understand why I would cry over being sick or if that wasn’t it, what the heck was going on.
I accepted the fact that I wouldn’t be altogether mobile for the day, and tried to think of things I could get done from a chair or bed. I’m really good at being super productive in PJs, so I shouldn’t have had any trouble, but even work from bed seemed like too much. Something was telling me that I needed to just stop.
Not just slow down, but altogether stop.
Stopping is not something I do anymore than crying, but since I was in such bad shape, I figured I’d better try.
So, I stopped. I spent the entire day not doing anything productive at all. I didn’t try to create anything or make any plans or check any lists. I sat under a blanket in a chair in the sun for a while and watched my chickens, drinking tea, sniffling and occasionally moaning. I read random passages from books and took a few naps and pondered how very awful I felt.
Around six o’clock in the evening, out of the blue, I realized what day it was.
It was the 22nd anniversary of the day the day my world had actually stopped~ the day my oldest son had died.
Not long after that wave hit me, my SweetHeart got home, came in to check on me and asked how I was doing.
I replied “awful” and, he said “I know” thinking I was referring to the sickness he was just getting over.
But I told him, “No, you don’t know.” because he didn’t. He has never held his baby that he knew wouldn’t grow up, and he has never buried a child.
Because he’s a good listener, he sat while I blabbered random and odd details that sprang to the surface~ about how none of it made sense and about other people’s solemn voices and horrified faces and paintings on the hospital walls~ about days curled up with my dog eating nothing but bites of bagels that friends had sent~ about rain for weeks before the first flower of spring.
In my rambling patchwork of details, I realized something~ that my body had probably known before mind could even entertain the possibility of what had happened.
And it seemed like this weekend my body again seemed to know something before my mind remembered. Maybe that’s why I felt like a blanket of doom was smothering me and I had been on the verge of tears that I couldn’t explain.
It’s funny because in every Breastfeeding class that I’ve taught in the past 12 plus years, I’ve told the expectant mama’s that after they have their babies, if their body tries to tell them to slow down, they should listen, because the body will get their attention one way or another.
Somehow, it came as a surprise to me in this case.
Sometimes the body just knows, well before the mind can understand, and the body will make you listen..
At times, I’m still surprised that I didn’t lose my mind from the whole situation with my son. It wasn’t the kind of thing I even knew could happen to people today, but was like some sad tale from a pioneer story set in the 1800’s.
Only it does still happen. And it did.
To my kid.
He would be 22 years old now and his name is Hans.
So, even though I had another blog post planned for today~ some cheery post about traveling with kids~ I’ll share that at another time because right now this feels more important.
So many things have changed in the years since his death and birth. A lot of people in my life now don’t even know he existed because it’s not really the kind of thing that comes up in everyday conversation.
In the days immediately after his death, one of the harshest things was realizing how the world at large just kept on going like nothing had changed, even though my world had stopped.
Eventually, my world started moving again, but there are times, like this last weekend, when whether I like it or not, I just have to stop.
For whatever reason, no matter where my mind wants to go, my body is making me stop.
My acupuncturist once told me that grief is held in the lungs. She hadn’t known that my Grandmother was dying at the time, only that I was seeking help with asthma. I still don’t really know anything about how all that works, but I was definitely grieving then and my lungs were clearly not working very well either.
And as I’m lying here hacking like an 85 year old smoker and puffing an inhaler, both of those things seem to be true today as well.
So, I’m trying to honor where I’m at with this sickness and to take care of my body, my mind and my heart. I’m listening and stopping.
And I’m remembering.
Writer, Artist, Empowered Living Advocate, Wanna-be Organic Gardening Foodie, Travel Loving Life Explorer, FunSchooling Facilitator / Former Goat-Herding HeadMistress for our Mostly Happy Homeschool, Semi-Crazy Chicken Lady and Mamacita Extraordinaire to a couple of Cage Free Kids.