This year the day almost passed by without me knowing what it was.
I’m not sure if it happened because yesterday was a kind of gnawingly crumby day–in which Esmé moved over from “maybe getting sick” to “sick” while I am still not over my own awesome bronchitis, in which we have the third caregiving cancellation of the week, in which the hubbie has to work late and be there early, in which Ez banks five hours of rocking between 8pm and 5am–that makes me all-round pretty grumpy.
Maybe the grumpiness masked the feeling of dread that builds up in me around this time of year like some kind of internal clock…or perhaps my impatience with the last day was fed by that dread without my realizing it.
But last night, as I was holding Ez, relaxing into the minutes between her rounds of exhausted crying–trying not to yawn or clear my throat or move or breathe audibly–I realized what day it was: The fourth anniversary of Esmé’s cardiorespiratory arrest.
I have spent the winter and spring working on an account of that day. I suppose I have looked so closely at that day, re-experiencing a host of emotions about it, that I feel sort of numb about the whole thing at the moment–much as I wish I had some new insight to write about it all, I just don’t.
Last year I wrote about seeing the positive in this day–about seeing this as the anniversary of the day that Esmé didn’t die, rather than the anniversary of the day she almost died. And I suppose some of that has sunk in–but I do know there is some kind of palpable loss associated with this time of year for me. With time I realize that what was lost that day was something I never actually had–but it was an idea of motherhood, of our future, of predictability, of security.
And as much as I still feel those losses–and as much as part of me longs for the simplicity of my life before that day four years ago–this time of year is also reminder of renewal, a chance to take stock of how far Esmé has come–how far we’ve all come, really–since that day. A reminder that the things left behind just weren’t for me…that they made room for a different path with different views a degree of clarity about who and what actually matters when nothing seems certain.
It is also a time that need to mark the things that would never have happened without Esmé, without those painful and frightening moments so early on in her life.
It does seem that somewhat magically good things happen around the anniversary of the days spreading from her ER visit on April 29th, to our release from the hospital on May 14. Last year we spent several days with a photographer for the Novartis Annual Report, which was a truly amazing experience. The year previous The Cute Syndrome Foundation was formed in time with the anniversary.
This year another exciting Esmé-related piece of news happens to fall around this anniversary: An account of our genetic testing journey will become available tomorrow both as a stand-alone e-book and part of a paperback/e-book anthology (more information available here). I hope all of you will read it and enjoy it at least a fraction as much as I enjoyed writing it.