When your children die, I suppose your relationship has two options.
To make it, or break it. You either lean on each other or you don’t. Neither one of you needs more or less support than the other, because as parents, you are both grieving.
Grief, is a state of mind I can not properly explain to anyone that has not been through it, and not just grief over losing a parent, or a grandparent, or friend, but grief of losing a child, or in our case, children. It’s the most horrific pain you could possibly imagine. There is nothing worse. A parent, should never have to bury their child. Never.
We did though, we had to, so now we are here, grieving.
There is no rational thinking anymore, there is no plan, and there is no expectation for what our minds do next.
On Friday night, after my post about medication, wine, and caffeine, I was up all night. I was up, hallucinating. Straight up, seeing things, that were not actually there. Not just the little girl, but everything, was different, nothing was reality.
After putting Piper to bed, we did our typical nightly routine. Wine, time on our respective computers, eventually deciding to go upstairs, crying, and then having sex. Sometime after sex, I went somewhere else. Somewhere I was certain I was, and I could not be convinced otherwise.
I was in the hospital, pregnant, and begging Robert to call the nurse. I was desperately pleading for him to dial “2061” which was the number for my nurse, Robin, who I had had the last day in the hospital. I was BEGGING him to call her, to have her refill my water, so I could fill the babies’ sacs. I was reaching for the nurse call cord behind the bed, I was demanding he help me get dressed, so Robin didn’t see me naked, and I was completely, honestly, convinced I was in the hospital, pregnant, with hope.
At one point, I started calling Robert Ian, who was a very close friend in high school, became more than a friend on a few different occasions after high school, and who, at one point, I very much loved. We’ve since lost our friendship, after the tragic death of our close friend Tommy, exactly a year ago last Friday. We had attended the funeral, and I am only to assume that Ian’s girlfriend was not pleased by our closeness, and asked him to stop communicating with me. I haven’t talked to Ian since that night, until last Friday, when he called to offer his condolences for the boys. We had a brief chat that ended with him telling me it was best if we didn’t speak going forward. Okay, fine.
Robert knows this, he has heard about Ian, and he knows the history, so imagine how it must have felt to hear me screaming, ” I love you Ian” while looking into his eyes.
I eventually calmed down, and somehow, we both fell asleep, for an hour or two.
We woke up, and I could tell something was wrong. We have never woken up angry at each other. We are extremely good at communicating, and typically can resolve confrontations before they start. We woke up, I reached for his hand and a kiss, but he didn’t want either. He got out of bed, brushed his teeth, went down stairs. He didn’t look at me, he didn’t talk to me, he just went down stairs.
I followed. I asked him if he was okay, I asked if we were okay, I asked if I had done something to upset him. He repeated “it doesn’t matter” several times.
We went about our morning, got Piper breakfast, made coffee. It was so strange to have him so quiet. I wasn’t sure if he was just upset about the boys, or if he was upset with me, or what was going on.
At some point, I demanded he tell me. We are such a strong couple because we are honest with each other, at all times, even when the truth hurts. We pride ourselves on our honesty, it’s something we have worked hard at. It’s something neither of us had in our previous marriages, so it’s something we’ve had to learn, but we’ve mastered it, we have.
I looked him in the eye and I told him that whatever was upsetting him, he needed to tell me, right then. I either needed to help him, or apologize to him, and I needed to know which one.
I knew that I had gotten emotional, I remember I had cried, but that’s nothing new. I said I was sorry for getting upset the previous night, I said, I was sorry if I had said something wrong or out of line, but I needed to know what it was.
He told me. He told me I had screamed at him, I had thought I was in the hospital, and I had asked for the nurse.
I was confused, I remembered saying something about the nurse, but that was it. He told me that I spent a while trying to pull a cord that wasn’t there. He said I was pulling a blanket over my face and then yelling that I couldn’t breathe, because something was on my face. He told me I couldn’t control my breathing, I was panicking, I was begging for a nurse. He had reminded me that we were home, and I didn’t understand why. I was convinced I was still pregnant.
All of this, I have no memory of. I stood in the kitchen, looked at him, and knew he wasn’t telling me everything. As much as that must have been obnoxious to deal with, and probably scary, he wouldn’t have been mad at me.
I asked again.
“What do I need to apologize for, just tell me”
He put his coffee down, he looked at me, and he told me about Ian. He said that I had called him Ian for hours. He said I begged “Ian” to leave his current girlfriend, so we could be together. He said I told “Ian” I loved him, repeatedly.
I have, no memory, of that.
I was completely ashamed of myself. I am completely ashamed of myself.
I looked at Robert, and I told him I didn’t know. I told him I didn’t remember it, and I asked him to forgive me. I asked him to let me hug him, and I asked him to stay.
He took a few moments to breathe, and then he came to me.
He walked over to me, hugged me, and told me it was okay. He understood.
He understood my completely irrational, fucked up mind, that somehow brought me to another world, for hours, and had me to look him in the eye, call him by the name of an ex-love, and scream at him.
He held me, and he told me he understood.
Well, fuck. I am fucking lucky.
I have always disliked the saying “I’m lucky to have him” because, really, I’m worth more than feeling lucky to be loved. I deserve love, I deserve happiness, I deserve security. I’m not lucky that someone loves me. A dog is lucky when someone adopts them from the pound. A human, should never feel lucky to be loved…we all deserve it.
Well, most of us…
Anyway- I fucking hate that we’ve become a society that feels lucky to be loved, but in that moment, after hearing what he told me, feeling his arms around me, saying it was okay, he understood…I felt lucky to have him. I felt lucky to be loved by him, I felt lucky to be his.
We have talked about luck before, and we agree.
We are lucky to have found each other, that is true. Nothing else about our relationship is luck. We work, because we work hard to make sure we work. That’s not luck, that’s dedication.
We communicate well, because when we first started dating, Robert lied to me, and I mean, a massive lie, to avoid hurting my feelings. I found out the truth, because, I’m a women, and that’s just what we do. We talked about it, talked about why he lied, talked about why he had done what he did, and why he thought for one second it was even okay, much less, okay to lie about it. We talked about ending things, and for a moment, we did. Like, a few moments, maybe 10, before we realized how dumb we were being. We decided to fight for each other, he decided to fight for me. We promised each other then, that we would always be forthcoming, no matter how much it hurt. That’s not luck, that’s honesty.
We get along, because we make a point of telling each other our expectations, all the time. We make sure that we each get down time. We make sure that we each get to do whatever the fuck we want to do, at least for a portion of the weekends. We make sure that if one of us is triggering a pet peeve, we speak up. We try our best to avoid each other’s pet peeves. I hate it when the “these are here for decoration” towels get used over the “these are here to dry your ass” towels, and Robert hates when our cars have less than half a tank of gas. He will tell you less than a quarter, but really, he loses his mind at just under half. Instead of ignoring these stupid little things we each could not give less fucks about, we smile, nod, walk away from the perfectly hung towels, and fill our damn gas tanks. We do that, not because of luck, but because of compromise.
We do it because we love each other enough to do it. We are lucky to have found each other, the rest, is on us.
The rest is because of our dedication, honesty, compromise, and just plan wanting to be together, and willing to work hard enough to stay together.
That’s not fucking luck, I’m not lucky to be loved, but in that moment, when he held me, and told me it was okay that I had screamed another mans name at him, for hours, I felt lucky. I felt damn lucky to be loved, and specifically, to be loved by him. I felt lucky.
I felt lucky that he chose, in the worst of times, to make it, rather than break it. Then even when I lost my fucking mind, he loved me enough to “understand”
I can not tell you why I lost my mind that night, I do not know.
I can not tell you what is normal and not normal about grief, because, I do not know.
I can tell you, that I have stepped away from all medication, other than my already comfortable dose of adderall, and I haven’t gone to crazy town since.
With the help of just Benadryl, a glass of wine, and quiet time with Robert, I’ve been sleeping, soundly. As a bonus, Robert has gotten to sleep too, since he’s not up dealing with my hallucinating ass, or having to talk to me while I can’t sleep, or having to check on noises that aren’t actually happening.
We are lucky to be sleeping, soundly, but we are not lucky to be sleeping together. That’s because of love, not luck.
Three weeks have come and gone, and each day we get stronger.
I love you very fucking much Mr. Girard. Thank you for being here for all the times, not just the fair weather times. Thank you for for staying awake with me at night, despite having to work the next day. Thank you for loving my little girl as if she is half of you, and showing her what a father is. Thank you for not drying your arm pits with the fancy bathroom towels, or putting the sponge in the sink. Thank you for shoveling the driveway without me asking, and taking out the trash, even when you’re drunk and bust your ass on the ice that you missed while shoveling. Thank you for, after busting your ass, not bleeding on the new carpet.
Thank you for our first date, our second date, and the countless ones since then.
Thank you for asking me to be your wife. Thank you for the rest of our lives, I can’t wait to see where we have yet to go.
I love you, with everything my heart can hold.