For possibly the first time, I am writing this without giving it a title first. I just can't think of one that will encapsulate this week yet. I may not.
In a nutshell, these are the things that happened:
1. I called the insurance company to see how much of the procedure to remove the last vestiges of my teeny cancer. During the automated portion of the call, the female robotic voice (or, as we called the voicemail lady in college, Sylvia) asked me to give my birthday, "For example, February 9, 2007." Thanks, Sylvia. I needed the reminder of Connor by you randomly selecting his birthday (not year, at least) (and also, what seven year old calls the insurance company? I mean, wouldn't it make more sense for the year that was randomly selected to be one that indicates an adult?) while I'm calling to talk to someone to see what of my cancer treatments are covered. Awesome.
2. I played a gig and helped the Arc raise $2000 in support of their efforts for individuals and families with disabilities. During that gig, I cried a little but luckily not while singing, I saw a lot of friends I needed to see, and I accidentally fell into an opportunity to help raise even more awareness for the Arc. And also, it was a beautiful night out.
3. I was asked to and did an interview with CBS Radio (to be broadcast tomorrow morning, Monday 8/4) about the Arc and my family and Connor. It was hard, but it was so important. We fell into knowing about the Arc after an offhand comment to someone who happened to know them. I said in the interview - when you are suddenly handed a serious, life-altering diagnosis, there are so many new things you have to learn and to adjust to, and the most likely reaction is to internalize everything. You have to learn about the diagnosis, the background, get additional doctors, realign your life. People want to help you and offer to bring food, take the kids, run errands. One of the most helpful things I wish I had known about was the Arc. It will be my go-to from now on. Everyone should know about the amazing people there, and how they assist and advocate.
4. Megan came to visit after a whirlwind trip to DC. Seeing her smiling face as she drove up was one of the best things I've seen all year. However, it arrested to me that as we stood together on the front yard, she whispered as tears poured out of us, "I don't think I can go in." I forget so often that I am in a different place than many, but she was about as close to Connor as our family was, and she hadn't yet crossed the threshold of our now-Connor-free home. I said, "Take your time." Eventually, we went in, and had dinner like we did so many times after therapy, and she admitted that she'd tried to maintain a professional distance when we would invite her, every time, to stay for dinner. We blew through her resistance many, many times, and I'm glad that Lee's cooking helped break down that wall. She played a little with the boyos. I think Drew was having a hard time with it because he remembers her much more than Tucker does. Drew was there through so many therapy sessions. He doesn't like to talk about Connor's death. He is fine talking about Connor, just not about his passing.
5. Sunday afternoon conversation last week:
Tucker: Wouldn't it be great if we asked Santa to bring us Connor for Christmas, and HE DID?"
Me: Well, that would be miraculous.
Drew: He can't do that - that's not the kind of magic Santa has.
Lee: silent - hiding in another room
Me: True, Drew. But it would be really nice if he did.
Tucker: But what if he DID?
Drew: Maybe it would be a Connor-bot - like him on the outside but a robot inside.
Lee: silent - hiding in another room
Me: Tucker, he can't.
Lee: (finally!!) Tucker, they're right. His magic doesn't work like that.
Tucker: BUT WHAT IF IT DID!!??
Gotta say something for that kid - he wants to believe in the very best outcome. I hope I can help him retain that positivity.
6. Friday - six months.
7. A conversation via messages with a friend after my last posting, in which we talked about my shitty luck this year, and how it's ugly and painful, and I realized in writing back to her that despite all the badness of this year (now dubbed Two Thousand Suckteen or Chudley, take your pick) and the sadness that I have and I know I will have forever, I'm still happy. I am. I don't think there is anything wrong with having sad and happy co-exist. Sometimes one takes over for a little bit, but much like everything else in the world, these opposing notions have to co-exist for my reality to continue. Before Connor was born, I had both happiness and sadness. When he was born, I had both. When he was diagnosed, I had both (except for a few days, when I really didn't). When I had to have surgery in 2005 - both. When the other boys were born, when we renovated our house, when I changed careers, when Lee got his MBA, when everything in each day happened, I had happiness and sadness moving on a sliding scale inside me. That's the hardest, and easiest, thing I've learned this year. There's an expectation that I will be grieving, and I will be. But sometimes, it will come out looking a lot like happiness.
So thanks for everything this week, friends, and please - keep being happy.
P.S. Still haven't thought of a title. Crap.