Thank you

Thank you to all the people who have shown me kindness, especially in the past two years.

The last two years were the darkest time in my life.  I made it out.  You helped.

If you made me smile, even once, you helped.

If you sent me a note telling me you loved me, you helped.

If you gave me a hug, you helped.

If you posted a note on Facebook or sent me a link to read, you helped.

If you came and sat with me, read with me, talked with me, you helped.

I am thankful for each and every moment of kindness you gave me.

I am thankful for your love.

It is doubtful I would have made it out of the darkness without all of you.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Now I am invisible.

My family went to Yellowstone for Christmas two years ago.  My son, then four, went with me to get long underwear.  It can fall well below zero at Yellowstone in the winter and though we had down coats and solid shoes, I wanted long underwear for my little ones.

When we arrived at the store the only pair they had in his size were bright pink.  I turned to him.

Look at this happy color! Won’t these be nice?

I half expected there to be a problem or some scoffing comment about girl colors.  He had never been really particular about colors before, but like all children, he could be particular when it was the most inconvenient for you.  However, this time he was thrilled.

I love pink!! I can’t wait to wear these! He clutched the package to his chest and ran toward the register. Bemused, I followed.

That night he wanted to wear them. I told him he had to wait until we got to Yellowstone.  He kept peeking into the luggage to stroke the bright pink long johns.

We arrived in Jackson, WY and found our way to a hotel.  When we got to the room the very first question out of his mouth was Can I wear them yet?

Yes.  Giving in I unpacked them and handed them to a young man who was literally bouncing on the balls of his feet in excitement.  He ran into the bathroom to change.

A few minutes later he came out covered neck to ankle in bright pink.

I am all over pink! Now I am invisible! You cannot see me!! He chortled mightily as he ran around being invisible, greatly enjoying the laughter his enjoyment caused the family.

Pink, apparently, is the color of invisibility and pink long johns are the equivalent to an invisibility cloak.  He wore the heck out of those things, thoroughly convinced that he was invisible each and every time.

The tick-tick-ticking of the clock…

In two months it will have been a year since my hysterectomy.

I try so hard not to let January 6th, 2014 have any monumental significance.  I have read that it takes about a year to feel normal again, my doctor has told me it can take up to a year to heal.  When a year was seven, six, five months away it was a reassuring thing to tell myself.

You aren’t back to where you were, but it’s okay, they said it can take up to a year.

Now that a year is two months away I stare at my swelly belly and wonder;

What if I am not better after a year?

So much has happened this year that I haven’t had time to deal with my sense of grief, my anger, my loss.  I feel like the whole world has moved on and I am just now finally feeling it.

I am deeply sad.  I am ragingly angry.  Nothing about having a hysterectomy before I was ready to be done having children is ever going to be okay.  This will always be a pang I feel.  I feel as though so much of me was literally ripped out and tossed away and somehow I am supposed to go on as though I am normal.  Somehow I am supposed to reach a point where I have healed.

This was the hardest part of my life and it was overshadowed by marital strife and relationship drama.  It was the experience that cemented in my own mind that sometimes it doesn’t matter what you try to do about it, things will suck.  You can work as hard as you can, harder even, and the world will keep on moving while you fall apart.  I lost my home, my friend group, my intact family.  Those are the things people saw, commented on, dealt with.  But I lost so much more.  I lost my fertility.  I went to bed a 37 year old woman and woke up in menopause.  I can build a new home, I can make one with my family, I can work on my friendships.  I will never get that back.  It is gone forever.

Motherhood is the only thing that has ever come naturally to me.  It is the only thing I have ever felt truly amazing at.  I grow strong, intelligent, beautiful children and I am a wonderful mother.

Except now I can’t grow strong beautiful intelligent children.  And please don’t tell me I already have two so it’s okay.  It’s not. It never will be.  I can be a wonderful mother to the children I have, but that doesn’t take away the pain from not ever being able to even think of having more.

I have had my heart broken before.  I have had it torn out of me by death, divorce, anger, violence, and more.  It always healed.  Now I doubt it will.

The clock ticks away the minutes toward the end of my first year without a reproductive system.  It ticks away toward physical health.  It ticks away to a new period in my life, a time of health and happiness.  Each ticking second carries with it increasing expectations.  From my family, my friends, and from me.  Everyone, including me, is waiting for the healing to end.

The thing is, it won’t.  I am forever scarred by this, forever changed.  The year will roll around and my core muscles may be strong again, I may be able to run and box and chase my kids.  I may feel better than I have in years, but it won’t be me.  I have had to let go of the 37 year old woman who went into surgery on January 6, 2013.  For all intents and purposes, she died.  The person who emerged from that surgery has a lot of similarities to her, but she is not the same.

I don’t think I ever will be.