This morning, I briefly – but seriously – considered whether it was possible to simply stay in bed. Maybe, I thought, if I just stay here, this week won’t happen. Maybe if I don’t get out of bed, if I don’t shower, if I don’t make lunches or dinners or do laundry or drop kids off at preschool, maybe I can somehow skip this week entirely.
Maybe if I close my eyes tightly enough and ignore the bright sun slapping against my bedroom blinds, I can somehow fast-forward through what I imagine will be one of the hardest weeks of my life.
We expect a decision this week. An official and very final decision regarding the future of our foster son, BlueJay. We think we know exactly what that decision will be. We think we will likely be packing up his toys and clothes in a matter of days.
The funny thing about those weeks when life seems too hard to fathom is that really ordinary things still need to be done. Bills need to be paid and dishes need to be washed, whether there is a constant dull roaring sound in your head or not.
You still need to buy groceries, even if it means walking up and down aisles you’ve walked up and down every week for years and wondering why it all seems so foreign. Staring down at the lunchmeat bin for a full minute because you instinctively know you are supposed to buy lunchmeat but you either don’t care or else maybe you’re just going to faint right here, right now. But then you see your hand reach out, grab some sliced cheese and drop it in your cart.
You are impressed with yourself when the cashier hands you the receipt, tells you to have a good day, and you find yourself smiling back and hear yourself telling her to do the same. You wonder, though, whether she noticed the blankness in your eyes as you said it.
You are sort of glad there is a cold wind outside because it means you feel something other than the tightness in your chest. And you’re even more glad when the trunk of your car doesn’t quite want to close because that means you have an excuse to slam it, hard.
You’ll decide to make soup tonight. The kind with the tortellini that BlueJay likes because you’ll get to hear him say “mmmmmm, mmmm-mmm-mm” the whole time he’s eating it, the way he always does when you make something he really likes. Or maybe you won’t make it so you won’t have to hear it. No, you’ll make it.
You will want to cry a thousand times a day, but you will only let out single tears here and there because you are afraid that once you really start, you will never stop.
I had to get up today. I’ll have to get up tomorrow, too. Every morning for this whole horrible week, I will have to get up. Because however hard it might be for me, I know it will be harder for him. He doesn’t know it yet, but it will be harder for him.
I have to be strong. Or I have to pretend to be strong. Or I have to at least just get up and let my body move through the day, move through the week. We can’t skip it, we can’t fast-forward through it, we can’t ignore it and hope it will go away. If we want to get to the other side, we’ll have to walk directly through it.