I returned to the therapist I had seen for quite a few years through Catholic Charities last night. I know that I am the kind of person that needs to talk things out with someone…or write them out here…or something like that. I hadn’t seen her since early in 2012, so we spent the time mostly catching up and going through the events in my life that had happened since she last saw me.
10 months passed so quickly. I had been promoted at work, gone through a very busy and important time at work, coached Sarah’s team in volleyball, gotten Dani started in swim team, gotten Helen going in Ballet. I now have a middle-school child, a 3rd grader and a 1st grader. Dominic is 4 now, Vincent barreling down to age 2. It was crazy the things I caught her up on — quite a bit has happened in my life in the last year.
But, of course, it was the experience of conceiving, carrying, delivering and burying Gregory that made the passage of time stand out so clearly. As I relayed last fall and all the happenings, I mentioned a meeting I had with a woman I consider kind of like a spiritual mother figure for me as I struggled with what aging does to my sexual relationship with my husband and also pondered with some assistance how age impacts the discernment process with regard to being open to life in our marriage. I marveled as I relayed how my mindset had evolved over the course of 4-6 weeks, and how we had — in an unguarded moment — opened our marriage up to another baby, and how we discovered that God granted that request. I discussed my feelings as I adjusted to being a mother of six instead of five, my pondering on how it might affect me at work, at home, with the children I already had. I laughed as I relayed Sarah’s reaction when we told the kids — she was really quite cute, but since she knows what had to have happened for a baby to result, I could just see the typical teenage-meanderings on that with regard to her parents working through her facial expressions.
We had a fairly uneventful Christmas season so I just kind of fast-forwarded through all of that, discussing the first prenatal visit for Gregory, the treatment of my low progesterone, the second prenatal visit in February with the kids, the faint heartbeat, and then finally arrived at the day we found out Gregory had passed. As I told her about that and the things that happened afterwards, she marveled at how quickly everything happened. I had only just recently started to think about that myself. I mean, we discovered that Gregory was dead around 12:15-12:30 p.m. on a Thursday afternoon and by 6:09 a.m. the next morning, I had labored through the night and delivered him. And we were checked out of the hospital early that afternoon.
That’s a whirlwind 24 hours. But, it felt like a lifetime to me. I didn’t think the time was passing slowly at the time, but perhaps it is because I remember every little detail that it seems like two or three days instead of one. Only 24 hours after we left the hospital, we were sitting in the rectory planning Mass and burial with Father. Less than 24 hours after that, we were in the Funeral Home making those arrangements. And 24 hours after that, we were finalizing the plot at the cemetery. Finally, the next day about 30 hours later, we were in Church partaking in the Mass we’d planned. Forget whirlwind 24 hours — talk about whirlwind 5 days.
Yet, as whirlwind as it sounds as I describe it, it felt like a lifetime. The tears, the searing pain in my heart, the “punches to the gut”, the overarching sadness of everything…made it seem like time stood still. As I think about it, it is very much like when we bring a newborn home — time marches on, we’re caught up in diaper changes, and bottle feedings, and sleeping in the recliner with a baby on our chest, and checking temperatures, weight…we measure time in hours and while it passes the way it always has, it feels very, very slow.
I wonder why it is that it seems that way. I’m sure it has something to do with our human nature, the way we process what we are doing — the stress and the magnitude of the joy or suffering, whichever it might be.
Either way, I’ll wrap this up because I’m starting to ramble. I do wonder when time will speed back up for me. I know it will — it’s the nature of it — but I haven’t noticed it yet. I was giving compensation information to my team the other day and reminding them that we’d already had our performance reviews. I kept saying, “It feels like so long ago, but it has only been four weeks…”
On Monday, it will be one month since I delivered Gregory. In some ways, I want the date to get here so that I can get through it all. In others, I just want to stay five days away from it.
On that note, I thought I would share with you all a picture of my Mother’s Ring. Craig bought this ring when our family had only been blessed with Sarah and Dani. I remember looking at him and feeling so grateful for it, but questioning why he would get it right at that point. And he answered my unasked question with, “It’s a ring that is easy to add on if/when we have more children.” And so it has been.
Due to the timing of Gregory’s birth/death, I still do not have a duplicate birth stone. My November birthstone is in the middle and I have July, August, February, January, June and now March. I didn’t tell them where to put the Aquamarine stone, but when I received it back and saw that it was positioned at the top, it seemed perfect.
No worries, my little Gregory, I don’t need the ring to always remember you — for you are forever in my heart — but I have a way of sharing you with the world this way.