I’m not going to talk a whole lot about work today. The evidence just keeps piling up that the return to work was going to suck one way or another. I will just never know if I really needed more time or not. I can’t begin to describe the difficulties that flow through my head when I am at work in order to make myself stay a productive person. I have been getting a lot done (more like getting caught up), but don’t get me wrong there is way too much bouncing around in my head.
This just may have to suck for a while. I think this comes down to how I am going to find what the right place is for me at work. I am like a different person walking back into the same role working around the same people. Because of that, I am getting the past and the present blurred together every time I walk through the door. No one knows what to say to me, or at least that’s what it feels like. Other than the kind words of support or condolences there hasn’t been much dialogue between myself and my coworkers. It has left me feeling like they just don’t know what to say or if I even want to be talked to. I think there’s a transition period for both sides. This ultimately rests on my shoulders. The more open I am with others, the more welcomed they will feel to talk to me. Honestly, I am not there yet and I have accepted that is just the way it is right now.
What I struggle with the most is keeping my cool and maintaining some sort of piece of mind while dealing with the norms at work. Sometimes I am under deadlines which is expected every month-end and quarter-end in the world of finance. I am in the midst of a month-end right now and I am also trying to catch up. I got very frustrated today. That turned into irritability which kept me very quiet with no desire to talk. I hate feeling that way at work. But when my emotions are all over the place there really isn’t anything I can do. There are times where I just tell myself I’m not ready. The pressures of work and losing Ava is just too much. I am trying everything I can to hold on.
Enough about work. Leah had her rheumatologist appointment today. This wasn’t bad news and it wasn’t good news. It was more like, “Here is some information for you.” I can’t really recall all of the technical information. But the bottom line is Leah’s tests suggested she has Sjogren’s syndrome but she was not diagnosed with it. This is because she has no symptoms. A lot of people can go on for quite some time, even their entire lives, without ever being diagnosed with anything. The doctor was aware of what had happened with Ava. He said there was a one to two percent chance of Ava developing heart-block because of these antibodies which we knew. From what he could gather, once you have had one child that has developed a heart-block as the result of these antibodies, the risk of recurrence is 10 to 20 percent. I can’t say I really like those odds. But what can you do about it? Nothing. If you want more children which Leah and I definitely do, it is a risk that will have to be taken. The entire pregnancy would be different the next time around, but I can’t imagine how I will feel when that time comes. I don’t know if I will be a nervous wreck the entire time or if I will just leave the worrying alone and let whatever has to happen just happen. That’s a ways down the road though.
What matters more than anything are Ava and Leah right now. We met at the cemetery after I got out of work. I was still pretty quiet from my day. Leah asked me if there was anything that she could do but there really wasn’t anything to be done about it. I knew why I felt the way that I did. I felt this was unfair. I want to complain and say that I shouldn’t have to go back to work. I should be able to take time with my wife to heal as long as I need to. Society says that’s not okay. I could go on and on about the social injustice in this country but I won’t do that. The last thing I want to do is start talking about politically electrifying topics just to justify my not wanting to go back to work.
I really do think that I am angry it is just an anger that is low-grade, ready to latch on to something that irritates me. I’m angry that the whole world just can’t stop for me. When Ava was delivered and when she passed, the whole world did stop. For the first time in a very long time I didn’t care about anything except for what was right in front of me. I didn’t care about work. I literally only cared about three people. I am angry because that world cannot stay still forever. There is the enduring need to be comforted and told that it’s okay to be lost and upset because I lost my daughter. I have no idea if I specifically mentioned this or not, but what makes it tougher is I really, really wanted a daughter. I don’t know why but I did. Ava was a dream come true. It makes me angry that dream ended and I am left to not only grieve but also be a productive member of society. The two are simply not meant to go together.
I just want to be a dad to Ava when she is here. That’s what I wish. I wish that I could just have her here so that I could do all the things I dreamed of doing. I obsessed constantly about what I would do with her. What would she look like? What would be her favorites? Would she and I be best friends? Would she look up to me? Would she get married? Will she be happy in this world? I never asked myself how long she would be here. I completely took for granted that she was coming. I assumed she would be fine. Dreams can set you up for serious disappointment in the worst way.
This entire grieving process so far has pulled me in every direction imaginable. I know I don’t know the path to the light at the end of the tunnel. I am just choosing to believe the light is there somewhere. I have to turn to gratitude when I get into very dark places. Unfortunately adopting an attitude of gratitude is not something easily accomplished when all you want to do is be upset but I will try anyway.
Three weeks ago someone came into my life I wasn’t expecting so soon. She came so quickly and then she was gone. There is a giant hole in my life and my dreams as a father were absolutely crushed, all but maybe one. I mean this when I say this: I had no clue what it would feel like to be a dad. Not a clue. In fact, the majority of the time I sometimes struggled to picture what the feeling would be. Ava gave me a gift that I only got to feel for such a short time. I watched her. She held my finger. I cried so much next to that incubator. But like I have said to Leah, the love that I felt between Ava and I was instant. I wanted to do everything in my power to protect her. Every dream I had about her was intensified. All I wanted was to hold her and be with her. That love is not like the love between Leah and I. We fell in love, I dare say we learned to love each other. It developed over time. We have tested the boundaries of that love in almost every way possible. Our marriage has been tested in almost every way possible. But with Ava, my love for her was immediate, it was like it was genetically programmed in both of us only to be “turned on” the moment she was born. I would give anything, anything to feel what I felt with her again. Just the feeling that I had when I was with her… its something I miss, so much. There is nothing in this world that can bring that back. It rips me apart, but I can’t tell how what kind of gift it was to experience that. Ava gave me that. She gave me something I have never felt before. The gratitude I have for that is endless. I just wish I could have it back.
That’s why this is so damn hard.