More than a month with your absence has come and gone, and I am still standing. Human resilience is an amazing thing, sweet Flicker. Though I am standing, I will admit that my stance is not always perfectly upright. At times I find myself leaning backwards, reflecting on past moments that I so deeply wish I could change. Other times I lean forward, brooding with anxiety about a future that I in no way control. It is difficult to stand upright – to live in the present – when I spend so much time woeful about the past and worry-filled about the future. This back and forth can be paralyzing.
I returned back to work this past week; a big leap of faith in re-integrating into a part of my life that never stopped moving forward. The last time I parked in this garage and walked up this hill you were with me. I paced this beige-toned hallway as I listened to the nurse congratulate me as she read back the results of our positive blood pregnancy test. During my last conference call I was able to rest my arm on my belly, connecting to your world. Then all at once quarter end and deadlines and strategic roadmap and [insert corporate buzzword here] flooded a brain that is clearly still filled to the brim with your life, sweet Flicker. Under the fluorescent lighting of my workspace I found living in the present nearly impossible; straining to assign meaning to concepts that I so quickly filed away when you entered and exited this world. No vacancy. This brain is full with things that are real, thankyouverymuch.
At the same time there is a new pressure (self-imposed, of course) to live in the present while honoring your past. I had the pleasure of spending an evening after work this week with dear girl friends who mourn your loss alongside me. As I left their company feeling grateful for continued goodness in my life, I came to the unfortunate realization that car had been towed, the result of mis-reading a cryptic sign in an unfamiliar neighborhood. I was frustrated and angry and could not believe that the sign was so unclear. Almost immediately I was even more frustrated and angry that I had frustration and anger over something that ultimately does not matter. I, of all people, should have some perspective. I have real things to be angry about, thankyouverymuch.
But you know what, sweet Flicker? Being towed stinks. Workday tasks are important. I need to give myself the grace to take things at face value. You are forever part of my past, present and future. But I cannot live all three at once – to be present while honoring past and dictating future. Rather, I need to focus on putting one step in front of the other and feel what I am going to feel. That is what moving forward looks like as I navigate this new life without you physically here, but always present.
What I have come to realize, sweet Flicker, is that moving forward is entirely different from moving on. I can move on from a bad presentation, a negative exchange, a hefty towing fine. These things are simply archived from working memory – forgotten – so as to not be forever jaded. But I will never be able to file away your life and loss. I will never be able to forgive limb body wall complex for stealing our future together. I will never be fully at peace without you here with me. But that does not mean that I cannot move forward by continuing to step – step – step – with grace and submission and trust.
Forward motion inspires a hope in me that the future will be brighter, sweet Flicker. I do not know what that brightness will look like, but alongside the sadness I can promise that your life will be part of it.