Running In Place

Tom and I went to New York City to visit my brother and sister in law. It was a great trip- wall to wall adventuring in the big city. It felt good to feel normal again, even if it was just a few days. But in between fabulous meals and tours of the city, I would remember. I would have a nagging feeling that I wasn’t giving my pain enough attention. I think it’d be better if I set an alarm and hid myself out of the way and cried for fifteen minutes three times a day.


When I’m in the middle of some awesome adventure I think- I shouldn’t be able to do this. I should be groaning with pregnancy and waddling around. Seeing the bright laughter in small childrens’ faces makes me smile for a moment before I catch a lump of tears growing in my throat. I see Tommy in all those soft faces and exploring eyes. I wonder what he’d look like now if he were still in the NICU. Would his skin be turning baby-pink, would he be breathing on his own, would he be feeding on my breast milk? Would his little eyes be open, and light up when he saw me?


Imagining seeing my son with his eyes open makes me feel something I’ve never felt before: utterly hopeless. It’s like my pain has enveloped me completely, and squeezed out the youthful thrill of life that made me like myself. Now I’m just some person I have to drag around everywhere I go. I show up at my brother and sister-in-law’s apartment in New york and want to say- “I’m here! But I brought this awful person too, and she has to be with us the whole time. She won’t say very much, she’ll just oppress us with her presence.” I know I’m good at tucking that person away, and I know that I can still access the other me sometimes. But I can feel her tugging at my sleeve throughout the day.


I think back on the hopeful girl who took a stand up comedy class and fretted about not being able to take another because my due date would be too near. That’s the girl I liked. That’s the girl who is Tommy Jr’s mommy. But maybe she died when he died. Maybe all that’s left is a sad, hopeless person who is going through the motions of life because everyone says things will get better if you keep moving.

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  1. Mary a not so Stand Up comedian says:

    Remembering Tommy and imagining all that he could be is a wonderful tribute to him, but you can’t let that leech away the girl who wasn’t just fat. I promise you will like yourself again. It just might not be as soon as you want it to be. Dealing with the “awful person” you are dragging around is okay because we all know that the girl you like is still in there too. We are willing to wait and do what it takes to make sure she doesn’t leave us.

    Love you,


  2. Catherine W says:

    I wish you had been able to see Tommy Jr open his eyes.

    I’ve also got my own awful person that accompanies me and I’m rubbish that tucking her away.

    I don’t think that hopeful girl died when Tommy Jr died. I think she is still a part of you. I don’t believe that you will ever be entirely the same person you were before you met your son but little bits of that hopeful person you remember being will resurface with time? That’s what I think anyhow.

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