On Sunday I was having a conversation with someone, and I walked away because it felt like it was turning a bit into the pain olympics.
The reality is that I know that I can win the pain olympics, at least most of the time. In a single sentence.
And then I cradled my son – the baby I wanted more than life itself – in my arms and sang him a lullaby, as he gasped for breath and suffocated to death.
I don’t try to win. I suppose because it’s a pyrrhic victory, but more than that, because what would be the point? I know more pain than you? So what? It doesn’t diminish yours, it doesn’t change things, and sooner or later I realized that I wanted to be many things, but I didn’t want to be known as the woman whose baby died, for the rest of her life.
This morning, on my way out to the door for a MS treatment (which should have been Saturday, and is massively inconvenient on a Wednesday, but I digress), a client called.
He apologized profusely because it was early and I was no doubt getting my husband and my child out the door and he was sorry to inconvenience. I didn’t tell him about the MS treatment, but I did mention that the husband was good at getting himself out the door and there was no baby.
He said he was surprised. That he thought I had a small one at home, that he could see me with children. I answered much as I always do, that there is a dog, 2 cats, 6 fish and 9 nieces and nephews, but no small one that is mine.
I say it in such a straight forward way. I surprise myself, even after all this time and all this sorrow – I can make such light of it.
In 3 minutes now, I will rush out the door. I will get my recombinant DNA, cultured in a rat brain, and I will build a road map and maybe start on some guiding principles for prioritization while I am being infused. I will come home, and I will gut through a meeting that I simply have to take, even though the drugs make me horrifically sick, because it must be done. Hopefully after I can sleep and mend.
There is only this – clients and projects and family and trying to manage all of it and a chronic disease as best I can.
There is no baby to speak of. That was, I suppose a great tragedy, but on days like this, I am aware that it is only one of many.