My anxiety has no place to go.
So it’s morphed.
Slipping into the shadows and seeping into every move, every thought.
I am never without the second guess, the unsurety, the doubt.
It used to have a purpose. It kept me alert and aware.
It kept him alive and safe.
But now, it’s like a toxic mould. Its tainted everything and is burrowed so much deeper than what is visible on the surface.
And I have retreated. Hidden in plain sight.
I have not surrendered but I have pulled back from the front lines of every day.
I just know that I can’t begin to engage in combat when I know the gun locker is empty and I’ve run out of ammon.
How do I begin to regain that ground I’ve lost over the past 6 months?
It slipped away so easily, as if it were a natural progression of loss.
It was intuitive to let it all slide, let the tides wash over me and accept what was out of my control.
(if we can find a match, if he is a candidate, if he will make it that long)
It was like being caught in a sandstorm.
surrounded by stinging, biting, howling winds.
losing balance and any sense of direction.
eyes sealed shut but desperately needing to see.
barely breathing for the sand filling my mouth and nose.
so close to being consumed.
And then it’s gone.
The chaos evaporates like it never existed.
Calm and silent. Just cool, vapid space.
And yet I can still hear the screeching echo of the wind in my head; I can feel the raw patches where the sand blasted my skin.
My lungs still aching for the air that now fills them wholely.
This has been my time away.
Reliving the memories but constantly second guessing that they really happened.
Because in the end, it was just that easy.
(aren’t we lucky that’s all it was? couldn’t have asked for a better outcome. gosh, wasn’t that a scare)
It all seemed so trivial in the moments that followed. The months that followed.
I still have to tell myself it was real. It all happened, that I was prepared to lose him. To come home without him.
But then he came alive.
He became another child entirely and it seems like an impossibility that he could have ever been that close to death.
I know it wasn’t all in my head but that’s how it feels sometimes.
Like it was a horribly detailed, nightmarish fantasy that my brain concocted to feed an unholy appetite for pathos.
At times, I feel so ineffectual. So ungrateful.
He gets to be a growing, thriving child.
We get to hold him in our arms, so tightly, so sweetly.
We have once again stolen back time.
We’ve hit the reset button and get to start again.
And still knowing that it must play out the same way once more.
This storyline is meant to repeat itself, too many times over.
This is how its meant to go.
This is how it has to be.
The clinical parts of the story are so black and white.
Factual, logical, explainable.
It’s the other side.
Grief. Heartache. Anger. Hopelessness. Disbelief.
The intensity of each emotion, dehiscent and re-exposed again and again.
And it becomes the “in-between” that enables me to forget.
When we are closer to “normal” than we’ve ever been.
When I lose track of appointments and statistics, doses and test dates.
When I can’t remember the last time I put my stethoscope to his chest.
When I can hold my breath in anticipation of him learning to walk, exploring his world unencumbered.
When I get to scold him for harassing his sister and being a quarrelsome 3.5 year old.
When I can happily fall asleep with him snuggled beside me, without silently crying into my pillow.
When I can hear him talk about being a grown-up and not wholely doubting that he will get there.
“In-between” is all we have right now.
That’s why I’ve been gone.
I am living the “in-between” and wanting to keep it all to myself, not wanting to lose one single moment of it.

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