A year ago

Right around this time a year ago I was sitting, about panicked out of my mind but trying desperately to stay calm and stay present, waiting for Laura to be prepped for an emergency C-section. It was pretty clear that the two nurses who were staffing the otherwise empty recovery room where I’d been told to wait hadn’t been briefed on the complete picture of what was happening. I don’t remember the exact conversation, but I remember one of them asking me if I was excited and me explaining that I was more nervous than excited considering that my wife wasn’t supposed to be due for another three months. That was when the entire mood in the room changed. Excellent. Now they could panic with me.

One of the nurses pulled out this secret-decoder-ring-type cardboard wheel thingamajig that would calculate the baby’s approximate size and weight based on the original due date we’d been told. Thinking back on it now, I’m not exactly sure how this was supposed to make me feel any better, but at the time I didn’t mind so much. Maybe I was already so saturated with worry that I simply couldn’t take on any more. I think you could have told me that robots from outer space were landing outside and killing everyone in sight and I wouldn’t have cared—that is, of course, if I even would have recognized the sounds coming out of your mouth as words strung together into sentences at that point.

In many ways it doesn’t seem like a year could possibly have passed already; these feelings all still feel so fresh. But in other ways it feels like these things all happened in another lifetime. When fear turns to relief it’s easy to relax again, but when fear turns to grief where are these emotions supposed to go? The same perfect little man who so infinitely expanded my ability to love has left me with no earthly outlet for that love. I don’t feel empty—I feel overfull… All the things I wanted to be able to share with him are just pent up scratching, sometimes screaming for someplace to go.

The same memories that hold the purest joy I’ve ever known bring with them more pain than I thought possible. This is the knowledge of Good and Evil.