I hadn’t realized the heaviness I’d been carrying around with me until it was lifted. I’d like to be all dramatic and say (hand to head), “I don’t remember how long it’s been,” but that’s a lie. I think I may remember precisely the last time I felt like I wasn’t waiting for the other shoe to drop.

February 10, 2008, 10 AM

The first time Alex slept through the night.

He’d been such a hard little baby – a Benevolent Dictator of a person – insisting that no, in fact, his mother would NOT be sleeping for a year because, in fact, absolutely no one else may touch His Majesty. My parents called him “Devil Baby” because, well, he kinda deserved it.

However, sleeping through the night meant that he’d finally turned a corner. I wouldn’t perhaps, be up every 1 to 3 hours for the rest of my life, so sleep-deprived that I’d manage to dump and entire pot of hot coffee on my hand without realizing or, quite frankly, caring. Functioning on that little sleep was hardly functioning; it was surviving. And I had.


Not two hours after waking up from my first full night’s sleep in nearly a year and writing that blog post, I got a phone call. My friend Stef had died in her sleep. Age 26. Cirrhosis.

I didn’t sleep, eat, breathe or function properly for a very long time. My grief was heavy. Dark. I couldn’t make even the smallest decision.

Then came Amelia’s pregnancy, which, all three of you who read my blog back then, was fraught with peril for the first twelve weeks as my progesterone bottomed out, followed by a nice heaping dose of prepartum depression.

My daughter was born gravely ill, but alive. And so began a nice fresh hell.

I’d told myself I was past it – that I’d accepted she was okay because she was…mostly. If you ignored the gigantic scar and the creepy diagnosis. I would accept whatever hand fate dealt me. If she was special needs, well, she was special needs. If she wasn’t, well, then she wasn’t. Either way, she was my kid, and I’d fucking love the shit out of her.

Which I do.

It was simply a matter of figuring out which kid I loved.

Turns out, being pulled out of limbo has lifted that feeling of dread, that heaviness, and replaced it with an emotion I can hardly recall: lightness. Joy.

While I can recall the last time – by date – that I felt so light, I’d forgotten what it felt like. The world, once again tinged with sky-blue-pink, my heart carefree and soaring, and, for the first time in so long: truly happy.

28 thoughts on “The Very Bearable Lightness of Being

  1. Sometimes are season of grief are so long we adjust and forget that we are even grieving. I am SO happy you are walking out of that valley. You’re doing it mostly intact. That is admirable!

  2. Everyone deserves to remember what it feels like to have a light and happy heart. Congratulations!!!! I still think we should have a party 🙂

  3. Speaking as a parent with 2 babies that lived in NICU for their first few weeks, I feel ya. I’m a guy and my worries and pains were deep. I couldn’t imagine doing it as the mother.

    I’m glad better days are here. Enjoy the high. Bonus points if you can find a way to bottle and sell it. You’d make basquillions…

    Love and Mush and Brofists Galore,
    My Own Private Idaho

  4. I have spent much of my life in a place like yours, and I used humor, anger, sarcasm all mixed up to hide the pain and fear. I could feel it in your words. I now feel a COMPLETLY different Aunt Becky, even in one post. More whole, less afraid, as you said, joyful.

    Try to remember this when you want to kill her in 15 or so years.

  5. I think I remember the lightness of which you speak. I’ve felt it a couple of times. But the best part of it is that you can appreciate it so much because of what you have been through. Enjoy the day, relish it, and all of the wonderfully light days to come!

  6. This is so beautiful that I am even willing to forgive the two “very special” blog posts IN A ROW that brought tears to my eyes! Dance and sing and twirl each other around!

  7. 2 things kept me alive when my son died:

    1) my daughter
    2) the idea, coming to me at my deepest darkest moments, that I had already experienced the worst day of my life and no matter what life threw at me, it couldn’t get any worse. (of course it could, I have an active imagination, but whatever).

    I think I felt that then, that lightness. It wasn’t necessarily uplifting, but it did get me through in a way. I guess it’s what alcoholics refer to when they talk about “rock bottom.”

    Man, now I’m getting all depressing and stuff. Sorry about that.

  8. Yesterdays news was such amazing news. I have watched from this corner through all of these events of your life. Sweet Alex, the loss of your dear friend, and the dramatic entry into the world that Mimi gave you. You deserve to have some lightness. It’s about time.

  9. Aunt Becky, I’m so happy for you to know that feeling again! It breaks my heart a little that you had forgotten what joy felt like. But I’m so glad you’ve found it again!

  10. OH! OH! OH!!!! I’m so behind in my reading. THRILLED to read this and your LAST POST! YAY Amelia! Mwah to you and Mommy.

    And happy belated birthday, AB! (Love the new look!)

  11. Shit, you’re making me cry again….Your short life has had more than enough trials and sadness and grief….and you fuckin kicked ass throught it all. So YAY!! that the lightness and joy has once again found your heart. And your sweet kidlets just glow with joy and love.

  12. I feel like congratulations are in order. Funny that silly saying ‘time heals all wounds’ is so unfortunately accurate. If only time wasn’t so fucking slow. Glad you made it to the otherside, hope its a long long time (if ever) that you forget the feeling of lightness and joy.

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