My mother spread some lovely new dirt from her compost pile on and around her rose bushes sometime early this summer. Hidden in the dirt was a plucky seed, which sprouted. “I think it is a squash”, she told me, back in June. “It made me think of your sink plant, and laugh, so I’m keeping it”. (Sink Plant being a plucky tomato seed that sprouted out of our sink in our tiny Toronto apartment, which Pea planted (of course he did), and which provided us with ~10 cherry tomatoes that summer). I was back at the house last Wednesday, and her sink plant is a jungle behemoth, sprawling over the lawn, enveloping the roses, tendrils crawling up and over the deck. With lush, abundant flowers, burgeoning squash (butternut, it seems), it is the very essence of a fecund living thing.

I had an OB appointment yesterday. After the (now routine) 1.5 hour wait, my doctor bustled in, clicked open my chart, and started to summarize aloud. “So you’ve gained 18.5 lbs, and you are due February 8th. So that is quite a bit for 3.5 months, we will be keeping quite a close eye on your weight from now on”, at which point she noticed that I had politely been saying “No…. no…..no…” at regular intervals. “Are you sure that is my chart?”, I asked. “I’m due January 9th”.  She found the right chart, which shows me up less than a pound since my last appointment (because I weighed in so heavy that time from poutine bloat). “Oh” she said, “I am not worried about your weight at all”.  She gave me the official all-clear for Spud’s anatomy scan, other than the low-lying placenta (1.84 cm from the cervix, needs to be 2 cm for a vaginal birth, so an ultrasound at 28 weeks to confirm it has moved up). Spud’s risk for spina bifida came back as 1:11,500, identical to the risk for Down’s Syndrome. I’m measuring perfectly, despite my barely-there bump. “That will change soon enough” she laughed. While searching for Spud’s heartbeat, we got to listen to Spud careening around, kicking the wand once. Eventually we caught it: 150 bpm, steady and strong. “Such a busy baby”, she remarked. This new life in me continues.

I got the first bill in the mail for embryo storage fees today, for our three embryosicles stored back in Hilly Quirky City. I had been expecting it, so am relieved address changes have successfully been applied. We will pay, to keep these tiny proto-lives on hold a while longer. I think of them often, these little clumps of cells, small bundles of frozen potential.


My step-father died on Saturday evening.

It is a quiet empty spot in my brain, his death. I have not cried. I have felt numb, perhaps a bit relieved, and then guilty to feel relieved, and then sad, and then numb again. I have gone to work the past two days, lugging my head cold around with me.

I posted on facebook because I wanted my network to hear it from me, and the news was already on facebook. I posted on facebook because I wanted everyone to know all at once so I was spared telling people many times a day. I posted on facebook so I could have a compartmentalized place where people could reach out.  People have commented, or messaged. I can choose to look at those when I am ready and in a good space. People, mostly very good friends, have emailed, texted, called; shunning the relative informality of facebook. I resent them for this, I am angry with them for this. For disrupting my day unexpectedly while I am at work, trying to get my head above water. For late night texts when I am half-asleep and coughing. For long emails that require more from me than my current mechanical response sentence. I would do the same in their place, though. I know it is meant well. My grief is a box that is tightly tied shut, and I resent it being poked or prodded. I will need their shoulders later, it is not their fault I am not ready.

And so, now, I am angry.  I am angry that my family has experienced so much trauma this year. I am angry my mother had to bear witness to a terrible death. I am angry that it took so long and angry that it came upon us so soon. I am angry I was not strong enough to kill him when he begged for death. I am angry that he asked this of me, and angry that it was not possible to tell if he was himself or not. I am angry I was not there, in the end, and angry that I feel I should have been there. I am angry he will never meet Spud. I am angry on so many levels that it cannot be let out until I can be sure it will be as tears.


2 thoughts on “Juxtaposition

  1. thecommonostrich

    My dear… This is unfair. I know these feelings all to well, and I’m so sorry your family is going through this. Lean into every feeling, even the ugly ones. Do your best to hold both your sorrow at losing someone you love and the joy of your new little spud.


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