The one thing we insisted on after Christopher died was silence. When we went shopping for his burial plot the sales people treated us like we were picking out a car. The showed us the “volkswagon” plots as they called it, but we ultimately decided on the “Rolls Royce” plot. We wanted to get the Rolls because we wanted silence. He spent his entire life in a hospital, full of noise. There was the beeps of the machines, the chatter from the nurses, and the parades of endless doctors. He needed to rest, it was time for him to be away from the sounds and be in silence. The Rolls plot provided him with a quiet spot, away from any cars, any sounds from streets, up on the top of a hill under a big tree. The only sound was the fluttering of the birds that flew around.
There are sounds in people’s lives. They can be what defines us, what molds our daily existence. It occurred to me the sounds in my life aren’t there anymore. This “silence” is new to me, it has crept into my life like a new friend (or maybe a foe?) that comes in when we aren’t expecting it. For years my life was filled with chaos, chaos is a noise that swirls around a person and can make them dizzy. As a mother my life with Christopher was filled with noise. The hospital was an intoxicating place. The noise, the sounds, all familiar and comforting like the stuffed Snoopy dog I slept with when I was younger. The noise of a hospital was like a sound machine, lulling me to sleep with the comfort it provided. I’d grown up with the hospital noise, it is what I felt comfortable with. It was only right after Christopher died to go back to the noise, to keep working in the hospital. One day, after our good friend brian died, I knew I had to be done without the noise. That is what I sought to do so I left the hospital.
I am trying to figure out this new noise – the silence of stillness. What is it telling me about my life??? As the noise leaves and the silence invades, it pushes me farther away from Christopher. Life feels like a play sometimes. In my first act was the scared girl with the heart condition growing up, the one that didn’t feel know if she could have a man love her, much less have a child. Then the miracle child came and their was happiness, a happiness experienced like no other. I was so in love with that child. There are mementoes from act one. Diet Coke with lime came out on the market when we were in the hospital. The only place to eat was a Subway, so there were lots of meatball sandwiches with diet coke with lime. On those days when there was no subway there were strawberry shortcake good humor bars. Whenever I want to go back to act one I eat a subway meatball sandwich and drink a diet coke with lime. While eating the sandwiches and drinking the diet cokes, act one comes suddenly to a screeching hault. There was so much hope, so much begging for another transplant, that when act one ended and the curtain came down I never saw it coming. It was like a car accident where the person is driving along and their life literally ends in a second, they never see it coming. At 28 years old my life ended. The curtain came down and it was over even quicker than it began.
Act two opened up breathless years of trying to survive. There was Joe quitting his job and opening his own company. Two more high risk pregnancies, and two more babies within two years (both with the possibility they could also have hurler’s syndrome). There was a Master’s degree and working in an Operating Room. All the while the pain of loosing Christopher loomed every second of every day. There was a deep dark cloud, it swirled around and engulfed me. Someone once told me it takes five years after your child dies to come out of the haze and five years it did. There was chaos and just a sense of trying to survive. The world spun and spun. The five years passed and time went on. Somehow the swirl of the day to day activity kept spinning. Yet the tornado that had been our life slowly began to stop. Things seemed to normalize and one day we laughed again. Towards the end of act 2, we smiled again. When I wasn’t looking the curtain came day on act 2 and that left us with act 3. Something that has occurred within probably the six months and is new and scary.
Act 3 is the newest part of my life. It is a normal day to day schedule with soccer games and baseball practices, brownie scout meetings and juggling work and kids. I am trying to figure out this silence and what it means for my life. Act 3 snuck up on me, yet Act 1 and 2 linger and permeate Act 3. Act 1 feels like a distant part of the play. One that is truly a memory of a life lived long, long ago.
I wonder what this new part of my life will bring
All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.