Time has a way of bending and stretching, making some moments seem fleeting, while others can go on forever. Anything can transport you back to a moment of time and the feelings that went along with it. The fear that took up residence in your bones comes hurtling back as if it never even left at all.
Two years ago I had a surgery that ended my first pregnancy and my first baby’s life with it. Thanksgiving will always be a painful reminder of that day. This morning as we went to my son’s daycare to drop off some cookies, our daycare provider gave us a picture of some Turkey Hands my 9-month-old made. I cried upon seeing them. On our walk home, I asked my husband if he knew why I was crying. “Because the turkey hands remind you of your play?” This is true, turkey hands play a pivotal role in the play I wrote— so much so that they are the graphic on the flyer. “Yes, but that’s because they were going to be our birth announcement,” I responded back to him. I asked if he knew what today was. He didn’t— or maybe he just didn’t want to bring up what we both already knew. That’s the difference between Nate and I. I need to wallow in my sadness and grief in order to process it. He would rather just move on and pretend it didn’t happen. Neither method is wrong.
And now I’m once again facing uncertainty and anxiousness. Maybe this time of year will always be a lighthouse for chaos. Maybe in addition to to being a time of gratitude and comfort, it’ll be a time of reflection and pause. Because even amongst that uncertainty and residual mourning, there is so much to be grateful for. My marriage — despite its’ flaws, or maybe because of its’ flaws, continues to be a source of strength and calm. My family, who I’m so grateful to spend the holiday with tomorrow after a two-year hiatus of non-celebration. I have money in savings and an actual concrete plan for buying a home soon— things that I’ve worked very hard to generate and have been fortunate enough to continue to get jobs in a freelance world to do so. My friendships, that have withstood lots of changes in this past year, but are stronger than ever as a result. The opportunity to hear my play read aloud— a play that is about the very thing I continue to grieve — but has now led to so much gratitude from people who have gone through a similar experience and now have an outlet for their own feelings. And of course my son — a living and breathing reminder that things truly do happen for a reason, even if it doesn’t seem like it at the time. Even if you have to go through immense pain to get there.
But that’s the thing about weathering a particularly rough storm— it gives you the strength and courage to weather other storms that come your way. That’s the one constant in life, unfortunately. Unless you are one of the rare, lucky ones, there will be constant storms to battle, obstacles to overcome, fears to triumph over. And even in these times of uncertainty and fear, there’s always something to be grateful for.