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Once again, my heart is split open.  I can feel it as an actual ache just behind my breastbone.  It’s the place that provides momentum when my mind can’t handle the pain.  I’m still not sure how we made it to the vet tonight but I guess I’m pretty good at driving through tears.

Our kitty cat Bandha was diagnosed with bone cancer of the jaw about six weeks ago.  The cancer was aggressive and tonight we had to let him pass, and it was awful.  He was such a comfort to us after Silas left us so quickly, and now he’s gone too.

Lu will have up pictures of our big, quirky kitty soon.  We’ll always miss you little guy.  Thank you for all the love over the years.

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As I’ve mentioned a few times, we do humor in our family, even in the darkest moments.  Much of that is a result of growing up with parents that have always showered us with love, compassion and laughter despite the many challenges they have faced. My Mom was diagnosed with MS over 34 years ago.  She was told they had no idea how it would progress, if she would be able to have children, or maybe even worse where she could have children but that she might never get to hold them.

My parents were uncertain about having a child once they heard that news.  But apparently I didn’t get that memo because despite the IUD, there I was.  After me came two more boys, all of us about 3 years apart.  Although Mom’s disease was a part of our family life, it was never something that stopped us.  And they never used MS as tool to control us or influence us.  It was a challenge she and Dad faced, and one of the ways they protected us from this devastating illness was with humor.  No matter how insanely awful things got, my Mom was always the first to laugh and Dad was right there with her.

I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a grown woman sitting in a wheelchair howling with laughter as tears streamed down her face, barely able to breathe with hilarious joy at some utterly ridiculous moment, but I assure you it is a sight.

My brothers are masters of the art, as well, and we have had some howlers here in this extremely comfy and warm house of horror.

For example, during the awful meeting with the very nice director of the funeral home, there was an unfortunate cabbage incident.

I wore a button-down shirt and shorts and had actually accomplished a shower and shave that day.  Lu was a bit more disheveled having just been in bed resting, but we were both presentable.  The gentleman from the home wore a suit.  Together we discussed the options and how everything would be handled.  Halfway through the conversation Lu looked down at me, then leaned over onto my shoulder attempting to hide her laughter and then once she had composed herself, she discreetly adjusted her shirt.  The gentleman from the funeral home seemed not to notice anything amiss, and I had no idea what was up.

Once the director left Lu turned to me and demanded to know, “Why didn’t you tell me there was cabbage sticking out of my bra!??”

Not for a moment did I even notice that said cabbage was sticking out of said boobage.  The cabbage is there to help dry her milk and keep swelling down.  It is horrible that she has to go through that, but it was definitely funny that she cabbaged the funeral director.

Even better was that during all of that that my brother Mark came back from taking Oren for a walk, and that Mark looked like a homeless person that had robbed a woman of her toddler and Blackberry and made a run for it.

He had on striped blue gym shorts, old brown Crocs and a white shirt so stained it looked more like a map than a piece of clothing.  The Blackberry hanging heavily from the elastic of his shorts and the cute kid in his arms only added to the hilarity.  Meanwhile when he looked in he saw a man in a suit sitting on the couch, Lu with cabbage sticking out of her bra and Wilco’s Sky Blue Sky blasting as we three conversed about how to handle the worst thing ever.

We are fools, but we get by together by embracing the absurd and by cheating sadness of the devastation it attempts to inflict.

The Litany goes on but I’ll save some for another day. More are bound to appear anyway.  They are part and parcel of the sadness of life, but we use them to make light.  The grace and strength and humor of our parents have trained us well to face this terrible challenge.

Lu is still headachey and coughing, and we really thought she almost had it kicked. While down in Florida she started to feel much better, but now that we’re back in New Haven this bug is back in full force. My new theory is allergies, even though she’s never had them before. Perhaps living in SF for the last 4 years lessened her tolerance for the East Coast pollen. Or maybe I just like making up theories. Either way she’s got to feel better soon because that cough is just brutal, and a constant throbbing headache makes everything difficult.

As for me, I’m sort of in a constant state of awe whenever I see her. Her baby belly is in full effect!

I’ve known Lu for 9 years and been her husband for 3 of them and now she is transforming before my very eyes. When I come home from work or when we wake up in the morning it is clear that her belly is bigger than before. Without a doubt, she is growing by the hour. I’ve been around pregnant friends many times, but it is truly incredible to have front row seats to this wonderful spectacle.

And by the time pregnancy is done and birth is imminent Lu’s belly and beauty will be spectacular indeed. I’m expecting the paparazzi any minute.

Thursday had been a great day and I polished off the evening with some wings and chowder and a pair of pints at the bar up the road. Watched March Madness, did some work, and just kicked back after a great week of working hard and having fun. Lu was feeling generally okay, but her stomach had started to bother her a bit, so she went to bed early wiped out from the tough work of creating life within her womb all day/all night.

Friday everything went bad. Fast. I woke up feeling icky and before long icky had become full-blown awful. I’m not sure if it was the lukewarm chowder from the day before or an actual virus, but something got inside my belly and it tried to find every way out possible. I was leveled. Friday passed in a delirious haze that gave me a tiny glimpse into what it’s like to pregnant. I was nauseous, extremely uncomfortable, dangerously dehydrated and cloven in two by a powerful headache. Friday Lu waited on me, bringing me Pedialite, water and anything else I needed even as she cooked and fed herself, straightened up the apartment and did some work. Unfortunately, she was only a little bit better off herself.

Her stomach ache had become worse and both of us started to get worried. We knew that all kinds of weird things happen as the fetus grows and the womb enlarges, but this just didn’t feel right to her. Calls were made to the midwife and to Mom even as she searched online for reasons and explanations for her discomfort. The final analysis was either a mild gastrointestinal virus, ligaments stretching in her uterus, or most likely, that it was just one of those weird pregnant things.

But I wasn’t ‘there’ to help her through it like I would have been if I wasn’t utterly wrecked by sickness myself. Which made her feel alone and me feel helpless and both of us feel really scared and on edge. I slipped in and out of sleep all day having bizarre dreams and growing increasingly sore from being stuck in bed while she tried not to get too freaked out by the pains in her belly.

One thing that kept going through my mind both dreaming and awake was “How the hell can either of us ever get sick once we have a newborn? How, exactly, would that work?” And if both of us got ill? Forget it! Apparently as a parent illness is off the table.

Today I felt much better, but I also felt odd and different. Lighter, certainly as well as… shall we say… thoroughly purged. Saw friends at the shop today and although they were totally normal I didn’t feel that way at all. Being sick is such a private thing. It is something that is only shared with a partner or among an immediate family, but it’s also something that everyone goes through at one point or another. I kept wanting to grab them and tell them, “Look at me! I’m different! Can’t you see it? I had an ‘experience’ yesterday!”

But we all have private experiences. Moments that affect only us, that only we see on our own, through our senses and within our brains. Lu is having an incredibly powerful and private experience every day of this pregnancy, and getting sick on Friday gave me the tiniest glimpse of how she feels, just accelerated and condensed into a 24 hour period. That brief illness changed me slightly. I can only imagine how much she will change as a result of growing this baby.

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