This actually starts on Thursday evening. Maggie worked the full day as it was her last day at work before her maternity leave kicked in. She got home and around 6:30 had a sneezing fit. She sneezed like 12 times, I'm not kidding. I tried to get her to take an allergy pill, but she was having none of that. We were getting ready to go out to dinner, and she went to go to the little mommies' room. I went across the hall to get a change of clothes and she called out to me that she suspected her water broke. Indeed it had, and we called the doctor. He said to go to the hospital, so we called Nathan and told him to meet us there. Mags and Cole and myself went to the hospital and got her all checked in and stuff. After a while, it occurred to Mags that the baby waited until she was home from work on the very day before her leave to be born. A while after we got there, some of us who had not eaten dinner went downstairs to get a bite and Cole started talking about the baby and how excited he was to be a "Big Brudder". The entire family came and a few friends were calling and coming by, and Damien came to wait out the labor with us. He finally got to meet some of the people I had been rambling on about. We spent a good bit of time with Mags in her labor/birthing room. Eventually Damien had to leave, so I walked him out to his car and then went back upstairs. We were sitting and talking and when the nurse came in to check Maggie's dialation, the baby was crowning. After a while, Nathan came down the hall to tell us that Avery Gail had pushed her way into the world. He was crying and elated at the same time, which we were all pretty much resolved he would do anyway. He's a big ol' softie, that boy. I love him to death. An hour after she was born, I was holding her in my arms and watching Maggie look more beautiful to me than I think she ever had before and making a promise to the baby that I would love and treasure her forever.
Damien has had a very rough day all in all. This morning he went to the vet with his parents and had to have Oscar, his dog of many years who was in failing health, put to sleep. Then later that afternoon they had to do the same thing with Mila, a cat they had in the family for just as long. For as heartbreaking as all of this was to bear, I personally think it was a tremendous act of love and compassion on behalf of them all. I'm glad that they love their pets as we love ours - enough to prevent their inevitable suffering when life becomes cruel and painful.
He spent most of the day with me, I tried to be there for him as a source of comfort and a distraction from taking too much of this in at one time. Several times I had him laughing out loud and others I just held him and let him talk to me - and listened to him. There's a concept, actually listening when someone else has something to say and not being the important one for a change.
This day has been full of so many highs and lows that it has been at times rather surreal. I cannot blame him for feeling bittersweet and somewhat detatched from the baby with everything else going on in his heart and mind. I would feel the same I'm sure in that position. Perhaps the baby might be a sense of renewal for him in this time of familial loss, I hope so.
I'm dreading next month in the worst way. So much has happened in the past year alone, let alone the two since Shane has been gone. This baby coming into our lives now on the cusp of all that looms before us is to me the universe's way of giving us back some of what we've lost.
June 28th will be 16 years ago that my best friend from childhood, my beloved Staci, committed suicide. Two days after that will be two years since Shane died. My life is very rich and full now, but there is still that part of me that feels sincerely cheated that I don't have them to share all of it with. I know that nothing is about to change that, and that nothing can ever replace them - it's just that for as much as everything that is good now is, I have to be reminded on these days of just how much better it COULD be but isn't. I have to give into these couple of days a year to grapple with that fact so I can come to appreciate what is good the remaining 363 days I get to spend in this amazing journey I'm on. I just don't look forward to that at all. I'm no good at being vulnerable that way and displaying my grief, so I accept that for the most part I keep it together and two days of being completely unglued is my sacrifice for moving forward. It may sound rather confusing, and I agree that it is - but you do the best you can with what resources you have to achieve balance. No one said it would be easy, at least no one said it to me.
All in all, I'm in good spirits. I see grey clouds everywhere, and that is fine with me. I have the stars on my mind and I know they are just beyond those clouds - and if you look closely with the right eyes, you just might catch a glimpse of them until their time to shine again, just like everything else.
Goodnight Oscar and Mila, thank you for your time well spent in love and for all that you provided. Visit him on the wind, and do it as often as it pleases you.