So about a half a year ago, my friend Tripp asked me to write a guest post for his blog at anglobaptist.org (see what I wrote here: http://anglobaptist.org/blog/posts/tuesday-colleen-wright/) and it was a scary experience for me. My own friends knew, some of them at least, and only to a degree I shared, the fear that lives inside when you have a special needs child. Probably my largest recurring fear surrounded churches. It's odd to fear church - it's a building, with many doors, most of which lead out into the sunshine. But I did fear church, because I knew from the very start with him that he would die, and one day I would be the grieving mother sitting in the front pew, inconsolable and shattered.
And I was. Except in my inconsolation (Word? Debatable.) I still kept my chin up, and made sure that his service was a proper celebration of him. I stood next to my husband and we spoke to the congregants about how our son had impacted our lives (and their lives).
And now I don't have to fear church again, because I've done the worst thing I could do there.
So, where do I transfer that fear?
A drugstore, also with doors that let you out into the bright sunshine. I have spent an exceptional amount of time in CVS. Up until very recently, his prescriptions weren't quite on the same schedule, so at least once a week I was walking in to pick up yet another one, usually more than once a week. The entire pharmacy team and I became best buddies. I would walk in, and they would say, "Picking up for Connor?" When a new person started to work there, I would walk up and they would politely ask, "Who are you picking up for?" I would smile, and say, "Connor Wright. You'll get used to seeing me." Of all the hundreds of times I've walked up to their counter, 95% of them were picking up for Connor. One pharmacist worked tirelessly with me to make sure that insurance processed them. See, lots of changes happened in this time frame to how prescriptions were covered and handled, and it was a maze to figure it out for the layperson. T was my Inside Person, and she helped so much. About a week after he died, I called CVS to have them cancel his prescriptions (I didn't want ReadyRefill to call me and tell me they were ready to be picked up). As luck would have it, T answered the Pharmacy line, and I told her what happened and asked her to handle their end. As she always, always did, she took care of me, and him.
But I didn't want to go back in. I finally had to on Thursday evening. I needed a replacement watch battery. I was afraid to go in. So as I have had to do frequently in the past weeks, I pulled up my big girl pants and went in. I found the battery, grabbed some new nail polish, and slowly maneuvered so I could see who was back at the pharmacy. T was there, but I couldn't bring myself to go back and say hello. I knew if I did, I would burst into noisy, ugly tears and horrify all the kind, good people there that evening. I sneaked back to the front, paid, and left.
The next day, when I opened the mail, there was a card from the entire Pharmacy department at CVS. What an amazing thing. The cards from my friends and extended family are wonderful, and heartfelt, and full of words I need right now. The cards from near-strangers almost end me. It's a reminder, and a good one, of how far and wide he reached.
But I'm still afraid of going to the pharmacy.