Three months have gone by. The length of an entire season. The time covered in each of those new episodes of Gilmore Girls.
It feels like years. It feels like yesterday.
When Maddox was in the NICU, someone said to me “Having a child is like having your heart walking around outside your body.” It felt accurate. I was, for the first time, completely out of control of everything that mattered to me. This is always the case once you become a mother, but when you’re a mother to a sick baby, you feel it times 10.
Losing your child feels like having your heart walk around outside your body, get trampled on, torn to pieces, then stuck back on your outside where the whole world can see your pain. But most of them can never understand it. It is having every challenge, tough moment, tragedy on display. It’s a pain like none I’ve ever experienced.
But. As you walk around with your ripped and tattered heart barely hanging off your sleeve, you discover that the world may be cruel but most people are not. You realize (or re-realize) the overwhelming support of the community you don’t feel you deserve. And you see that, even if you never wanted to push through anything this massive, in time, you will.
During marathon training, one of my mantras that got me through tough workouts was you can do anything. Simple. Cheesy but effective.It got me through tough hill repeats, 20 mile runs and the foolishness of training for a marathon through the Phoenix summer (seriously, why did I do that?). I felt so empowered, as if there were truly nothing I couldn’t do.
I never wanted to truly test that sentiment. Obviously. I never imagined I would find myself struggling to keep my head above water in the most heartbreaking circumstances. But, I can do anything. Even if it fucking sucks.
My sweet Maddox, I miss you more every single day. That will never change. But if I believed in heaven, I would know you were up there and I would want you to know that I will be okay. Because I can do anything, even living in a world where you do not.
Nothing about this will ever feel right or okay. Learning to be “okay” means learning to live in this new, sub-par version of okay. Wondering every day what my life would be like if you were here. If things had turned out differently.
Attempting to “persevere” or whatever you would call this feels wrong, too. Like, I don’t get to praise myself for putting one foot in front of the other when Maddox didn’t get that opportunity. It’s an almost impossible place where every step feels wrong. All I know is I should never have to live in a world where my son does not. But that is the world I live in.
Today, I got out of bed, put one foot in front of the other and made it through a seemingly normal day. And sometimes, that is the best you can do.