One trimester had come and gone.
We approached Christmas Season with more nervousness than excitement this time. Blizzard after blizzard blended with virus after virus that hammered our family. My husband worked out of town, and while the job sustained us for a short time, the four and a half hour commute one way took a toll on him each weekend. The lovely place he was staying during the week was no longer going to be for rent, and rather than search for another place, he took it as a sign that he should work closer to home.
I was deathly ill at the time, still no money, penny to penny, alone but finding it easier for him to be out of town during the week so that we could finally get the semblance of a routine after several years of chaos, even with all the craziness of holidays and school plays and (insert December activity here.) However, even with knowing that the distance from his family and the long commute was taking a toll on him, it came like a bomb that he lost his job right over Christmas. While that employer seemed a good and ethical man, the next employer who promised him part ownership in the local company proved to have a dog-eat-dog son who made sure my husband was fired within two months of leaving a good job to get this closer-to-home one, so that he could take full ownership despite his father’s wishes to give part ownership to my husband. No unemployment. No nest egg. No savings…. Many families are strained because of employment and income situations, through no fault of their own, but through the fault of an odd culture, despite what the media tells us, or what some people project. It’s tough out there, for just about everyone. And a million degrees and certifications, and years of experience even, are no guarantee of anything, employment-wise.
During and after any loss, relationships are tested. And ours was strained to begin with, because “life.” How do you explain faithfulness when two people really have nothing at all against each other, yet life dealt them so many blows that they lost the ability to communicate effectively? How do you describe an unnamed “what IS this even” that lingers in the room for years, while those shiny happy couples walk by our crucifix and wag their heads saying “shame shame shame”…. or back away, not daring to look.
I’m one who wants to look, wants to see, and I cherish my true friends and family who aren’t afraid of the warts and wounds I carry, but also don’t approach me condescendingly, as if they are living in a bed of roses. I have been “carried” and encouraged by some of the most beautiful people on this planet at times in my life when I couldn’t even turn to a close loved one and explain my heart, mainly because if they weren’t given the gift of empathy, or hadn’t come through a similar experience, I was too afraid that “the wrong comment” could tip my heart over the edge, so I didn’t risk it…
The wounds that exist are largely mysterious regarding my vocation. There is little concrete to point to, and try as I might to grasp at a “definition” or a solid reason or condition or anything that makes rational sense, I keep winding up with a mystery, a huge question, a “why?” that torments me; and when a mystery lingers too long, I become frustrated. And then I become bored. And then I try to find a way to pull myself out of it and chill and have fun… because if I stay too long in the “pit,” I may never return.
So I decided to accept that I was pregnant.
I decided to not only accept it but have a little fun and see if I could keep it a secret from social media and those who didn’t see us in our local community….. how long could I keep the secret? With the number of children I already have, I didn’t see it as a “cruel” secret, but rather hilarious. And that urge to make a game out of the darkness and the mystery, and the beautiful life I WANTED to accept and welcome, kept me going.
The “game” gave me hope.
The “secret” was funny to me personally for a myriad of reasons. Like the prank of all times. GUESS WHAT? WE JUST HAD A BABY! Ha!! And this would be funny since I pretty much always communicated, or over-communicated 😂, about anything and everything on social media…. this was a challenge… and this kept my mind off of all the deep suffering taking place in the background.
And so the week arrived when I would be induced early to prevent preeclampsia… the announcements were sent through social media… everything seemed to lighten up and get exciting. I was suddenly overjoyed at the thought of meeting my new little one at 37 weeks…
… and I never could have guessed that the real “surprise” was unimaginable, and the joke was on ME…
(… to be continued…)