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I am an Incognito Disaster.
You can’t see the mayhem only millimeters out, but it’s there, inside.

You can’t see my toes curl as I cringe when I re-live the day Silas was born.
Cars swerve around my thoughts as I drive.


We were psyched up about the Tweedy show last week, and when he actually dedicated those songs to our son we were blown away.  Both the beauty of the music and the power of hearing our son’s name in such a public setting sent us both soaring.

Yesterday I clattered to the ground disoriented and upset.

I miss him I miss him I miss him so much was all I could think yesterday.  I was barely holding back tears as I went about my business.  But there’s a rule: No Crying At Work, so I just put my head down and got to it all.  And I was busy.  The business grows weekly and it’s hard to digest each new account and plan for their new needs and schedules.  The thing of it is, our goal at work is to become overwhelmed.  When I finally physically cannot do everything that needs to get done, it’s time to hire someone else.

However, feeling overwhelmed is not fun, and my ability to withstand pressure and chaos is not what it used to be.  My tactic is the same as always, though.  One step at a time.  Do what must be done first and next and worry about the rest of it in its own time.

The high of gorgeous live music dissipated yesterday.  I felt guilty and icky about feeling happy over the previous few days.  It was as though I had betrayed Silas, as if I was somehow wearing his death as a badge.  How dare I feel good when all I really want is him, with me, now. Yesterday I spent a day living in all the future moments I won’t have Silas and it was overwhelmingly terrible.

Today I’m a bit more balanced.  Today I’m walled up and fortified.  Which was a good thing because today Lu called me sobbing on the phone.  Her crash was the same as mine.  The ache of missing him.  That reverberating twang of loss that nearly snaps the strings of our souls.  The guilt of feeling happy for a little while.  But today I was able to be calm and helpful, to soothe her wounds just as she did for me, yesterday.

Oh yes, I am back to pissed off again!  But it’s just a pure furiousness at the injustice of life.  And that’s fucking laughable.  How is it possible to even feel mad about that?  It’s like hating a color, or despising the breeze.  Ridiculous.

Nonetheless, rage it is.  I blasted home today.  Had to beat the storm.  Wished the whole way it was a tank I was driving and could just roll over anything in my way.  I wished my soul was like that, too.  Unstoppable.  Scornful of obstacles.  Armored.  No chance of that, though.  The soul is lucky to have the body around to protect it, and the body isn’t much of a defense.  Agility helps, but really the mind is the means to protect the soul.

That’s how I keep going forward.  My mind tricks my soul into thinking everything is okay for a little while and then shit gets done.  That takes an enormous amount of effort, though, because I’m not even supposed to know it’s going on.  But it is tough to keep secrets from yourself.

Lu’s post hit a nerve yesterday.  We could tell by all the emails and phone calls from friends and family near and far.  The funny part is that everyone that called that thought her post was exactly about them were really none of the people it was actually about.  Those people don’t read this.  They didn’t call after she wrote it and they won’t call anytime soon.

Frankly, I could give a shit.  We are mired in such a quandry of conflicting emotions that I’m more concerned with myself and Lu than anyone else around me.  Some people just can’t deal with this.  So they don’t.  They have backed off to let us deal with our lives as we will.  Perhaps they will come back to us down the line.  I hope they do.

Others have just jumped in to help us any way they can.  I guess I’m more surprised at how many people are still all over us than I am at the people that are not.  I expect imperfection and disappointment from other humans.  We all can’t help but screw up now and then.  And let’s admit it, we are scary people now.  We represent a terrifying aspect of life and it is almost blinding to look too closely.

We’re like a dense black hole of raw emotion and every now and then a little beam of light fires out of it.  People around us, they feel our gravity and then see that beam and they latch on to it and they stare into it to try and discern what exactly is going on behind our darkened veil of sadness, but that is so hard to do.  That little flash of insight is meager and thin compared to boiling plasma within our skin.  Some are able to face that roiling, furious sadness, take the heat and light and pain and calm us with a word or ease us with their simple presence.  Others are burned to a crisp whenever they get close, or perhaps aren’t even sure if they can handle us right now.

We don’t even know how we can handle ourselves sometimes.

Sometimes I don’t care about a damn thing.  Then I care so much about everything I shatter from a breeze.  Then there are tasks to performs and things I want to and must do, and my soul is briefly distracted until I get through another snowy sunset, whole still, yes, but hollowed out inside.

Then the phone rings and it’s a friend on the line and I realize just how much I need other people to lean on.  For long moments at a time I am filled with laughter and everything seems almost bearable, almost.

I’m worn thin by the constant flow of tears, by the friction of my raw soul rubbing against the rough edges of this life.  I’m not pissed off at anyone in particular ’cause I’m too busy being mad at the fundamental axioms of the Universe itself.  More than anything I just miss Silas with every cell of my being, all the time, always, even when I’m somehow dealing with the day and seem okay.

I guess it’s time to get back in the Tank and demolish some of life’s bullshit.  Get out of the way if you see me in the rear-view.  I don’t honk anymore.

“Words are flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup.”

We have been talking to friends and family, trying to figure out what we do next.  One next thing was to get back into work full-swing.  The initial reconnect with each client has been difficult, but it simply has to happen so that our business can move forward and life can continue.

Roasting at the shop yesterday was both extremely enjoyable and absolutely brutal.  At some point in the middle of the day the thought occured to me that I was never going to have a chance to teach Silas how to roast.  That mangled me for hours.

The thought just kept repeating over and over again and there was nothing I could do to stop it so I stopped trying.  The words drilled into me, searing my mind.  It was similar to my experience in the waiting room of the eye doctor’s office two weeks ago.  But I have found that now I can rethink those thoughts, experience those images and feelings again, and they are not as disabling as they were when I sat there waiting.

So yesterday when it started I just let it happen.  I let the thought of what I would not have ignite my mind and thrash my soul, I let the sickening truth roil my belly and turn my skin slick and icky until tears trickled out.  I have a rule about work, though.  That rule is: No crying at work.  But I didn’t feel like I was breaking that cardinal rule because it was about something other than work, and not work stress at all.  However, later on in the day I did almost break that rule because I was overwhelmed on my first full day roasting.

I had been at it for hours, roasting batch after batch and I was finally bagging up all the orders when I realized I didn’t have quite enough coffee to do everything I needed.  Now, in the grand scheme of things, that is not that big of a deal.  We have hundreds of pounds of green coffee ready for roasting and dinner could wait, but I just couldn’t handle it.

These days, I have no buffer, no safe place in my mind where I can pull back and gain perspective.  Usually I can take a step back when things get stressful and talk myself down from the craziness.  It’s just coffee, it’s no big deal, it’s not brain surgery or the end of the world.  Just coffee.

But I am different now.  Now when I get pissed off and stressed out I can feel the adrenaline rise and the panicky rush suffuse my body like it did that day when Silas was born, to the point that I simply cannot think for a little while.

Fuck it, I tell myself.  Who the hell cares about any of this when my son is dead? I shout back internally at the thoughts raging through my tired brain.  All day I try to tread that razor edge between being okay and thinking about Silas incessantly, and frankly it is exhausting.  Every action, every moment, every thought is fraught with weight and danger.  But coworkers stepped up and helped me out.  I took a few minutes outside to calm and cool and I just kept repeating to myself, over and over again, It’s just coffee, it’s fine, you can do this, just relax.  Eventually the stress lessened, the orders got bagged and I drove away truly pleased that I had tackled a full day of work and only barely broke down twice.

There are going to be many moments when the stress of life overloads my battered defenses.  Even worse, there are going to be many, many times like the one yesterday afternoon when I realize another terrible aspect of this tragedy. Times when I am sideswiped by a stray image or idea and it plows my train of thought into the mountainside.

Every time it happens I am going to do the same thing.  I’m going to let the crash happen, let the thoughts wash over me, let them drill themselves into my brain, let the horror and sadness consume me for a time, and then I will step forward into the light again, out of the firey rage of pain and loss.  It is the only way to do this.  It is the only way I will heal.

I have a stew in my gut tonight.  Not an ache.  Not a pain.  It is just a slow, steady churn of everything that has passed through me in the last two weeks.

I couldn’t catch my breath today but I didn’t linger in the shadows.  I spent all day in the sun, among friends and even managed to forget for a few moments here and there that I am living in hell.  The ‘hellness’ still got to me, though.  There’s no escaping it.  My skin felt brittle and dry all day.  My apprehensive sweat dried quickly in the bright, warm afternoon, and nothing could prevent the vivid images of our son’s brief life from cascading through my brain.

I cringe at the raw terror of those instants every time they appear.  But they are mine, he is mine, Lu is mine, this brutal reality is mine, so I will see it clear and true every time the memory reappears and I will be charred to the core every time.

But my core will not snap or melt or blow away, despite the thermonuclear shockwave generated that terrible afternoon.  Somehow I can still feel a shining bar of light that travels up my spine to my mind.  When all else fails, I can cling to that blazing rod, wrap my shredded soul around it and speak the words or perform the actions that are too dreadful for my mind to even consider.

I would very much like to spend an entire post typing over and over again that this is not fair, but I’m certain that would not do anything useful.  Except of course, it might keep my idle, enraged hands from tearing down this apartment wall by wall in a vain attempt to demolish everything around me because in the end, none of it matters since Silas is not here between us right this fucking second.

Another explosion has detonated in my mind just now.  Please excuse me while I am destroyed again for a few moments. The blast is overwhelming, but I can hold on tight to Lu.

She already knows I will never let her go.

It’s just a little knot in the morning.  A hard ball of blackness behind and under my gut.  As the day goes on that loosens and spreads, somewhat dissipating but in another way growing, slipping between the atoms of my skin, into the sweat on my palms, into my tears, between muscles in my legs making them quiver.

I feel the blackness in my breath.  I see the world twist in my eyes, flip over and fall heavy on my retinas.  It is a way of being that I have never felt before.  I do not like it.

The afternoons get easier.  Music always helps as do notes from friends, bright flowers landing on our doorstep, emails and calls.  But the hours are long and I’m uncertain of how to fill them.

Yesterday I went to the bank.  It was torture.  Not just the silly little line and the brutal small-talk with the clerk but the driving and deciding, the sharpness of facts and the brute force of everyday life.  I drove like a zombie.  The non-functioning ATM machine made me panicked and angry.  I had to focus on my breathing to stay calm, and trying to ignore the sickly slick feeling of dread in my gut was exhausting.

I felt wrung out when I returned home from that minor chore.

I drift through the house now.  I read the paper with half a brain unfocused.  I don’t know how to do this.  How to be in the world now, how to act or what to do or where to go.  Do we want to go out somewhere, have dinner elsewhere?  Do I lie in bed all day? Should I try and work?  The idea of having to process and focus on the world around me, on work, seems utterly ludicrous.  But I can’t just hover here in this endless limbo.

Time, I suppose, will do its thing and help me out.  I will be able to handle chores without wracking my brain.  I will be able to face the day and not dread each long empty moment.  For now, though, I drift, clutching to thresholds and trying to catch my breath.

We have been pushed to the edge of the Abyss.  I can see it right there, right in front of us.  A small piece of that Abyss is the obsidian chunk that lives in my gut.  When the sick feeling becomes too much, I open up within and let a tiny trickle flow through me.  That trickle carries a flood’s worth of grief and tears.

I can only take it in doses.  If I touch it too long, if I let that blackness pool and grow too large, the rough chunk of sadness within me becomes tied to the endless Abyss now so close and I’m afraid I will fall in and drown.  The only way to stop it is to find an instant of love or laughter and pull back, take hold and hang on for another sunset.

Every day I don’t drown in grief is an accomplishment.  Every time we find a moment of laughter or love it is flash of light in the endless darkness.

This weekend is the final hurdle before we have a clear path into a calm and focused labor.  Today we’re back on the road to return the truck that carried the tub here, and then to a small gathering of old friends to hang out for the day.   Sunday we have the Coventry Farmer’s Market, which means an early rise, a drive to the coffee shop to brew and prep, another drive an hour north to the market, where we will set up and sell an enjoy another wonderful Sunday at the farmer’s market.  Even though it’s work, it’s still a highlight of the week.

If Lu and the baby can hang on until next week everything would be a lot easier for all of us. Lu is confident that she won’t start labor for at least several more days, but the crazy thing is, she really doesn’t know.  Labor could sneak up at any time!

Uh oh, minor morning meltdown due to extreme hunger is occuring.  Time to cook for my babies.

I’m hoping we’re in our second to last side-effect of pregnancy.  That’s what I’m looking for, here.  This current side-effect of pregnancy: carpal tunnel and then the last side-effect of pregnancy: labor.   We need to get this done with and move on to the next phase of things.

Phase: Baby.  I’m ready, she’s ready, the apartment isn’t ready and the baby isn’t either but it’s clear that the time is approaching fast.  Right?  Please?  And no more weird extra bonus experiences.  Waking up to Lu nearly crying in pain because of her wrists is quite horrible.

Maybe it’s an automatic defense mechanism, though.  Maybe the body is teaching her a bit about pain.  Maybe the achy wrists are a tactic by her body to draw attention away from the astounding growth of life in her midsection.  Or maybe the pressure on her median nerve has increased because pregnancy causes everything to swell.

My wife is not a large person and there is not much space left to go.  She’s gone for the night visiting friends in Jersey, but when she gets back I’m certain there will be a visible difference.  I know she can do anything she needs to until that baby is ready for this world.  However, I can’t help but blink when I see what is going on beneath the tattooed flower around her belly’s button.

A baby grows there and we don’t know if it’s a boy or girl.  We don’t know what kind of person this child will be.  I have no idea what unfathomable series of events this baby will encounter.  I can only hope that they will be as amazing, as beautiful, as challenging and as so damn much fun as my life has been so far.  I hope the pain is less but always instructive.  I hope the anguish is less sharp but equally transformative.   I hope for so much.

Right now more than anything, I hope that Lu’s arms stop hurting and that crazy insane side-effects of pregnancy just back off and let her do the rest of this in peace.

Because after this, peacefulness falls into beautiful chaos.  Chaos is a side-effect of baby, obviously, but the biggest side-effect of a baby is that everything is changed utterly.

Lu doesn’t give herself enough credit.  She thinks she’s complaining a lot, but I don’t.  I’m impressed with how hard she has been working and how much she’s been able to do despite apparently swallowing a basketball.

It has been an amazing three months.  Lu has been able to work, got her appetite back, kicked her cough and even got in a few good nights of sleep.  It has been a dramatic change from the uncomfortable weirdness of the first few months of her pregnancy.  The party is coming to an end, though.  2 months out, 32 weeks in and Lu is really starting to feel it.

The kicks are stronger, the weight is greater and the space is limited.  Some evenings her belly is taut with the very real presence of the child within. For the last few weeks Lu has had trouble catching her breath after walking or stairs, but recently that has subsided.  We think it’s because the baby is riding lower within her, beginning to drop into position.

Lately Lu has awoken with an arm fast asleep.  Turns out numbness and carpal tunnel are sometimes symptoms of pregnancy.  Really what I’ve learned is that basically anything can be just a normal symptom of pregnancy as long as it doesn’t happen too much and become a problem.

We can feel the baby often, now.  Elbows, feet, the strong, tiny back and even the bottom have been identified through the skin of Lu’s womb.  It is surreal and wonderful and more than a little scary.  Good scary sure, but so extremely real and life-altering that it’s almost like staring at the sun.

I look at Lu’s belly and see the next two months collapsing into a series of very brief vignettes of the daily rhythm of our lives falling into one another nearly identically (just her belly grows) until some unknown day in the future where sight collapses.

Imagination falters and fades.  There is only Lu and her belly and the birth and a baby boy or girl screeching into our lives.

Then chaos as all our gears shift.

Then we will settle into a new life and new rhythms will grow until we cannot imagine how we ever lived without the child in our lives.  I can almost see what that all will be like and I’m looking forward to it.  I’m looking forward to being an active participant instead of just watching and waiting and wondering from out here.

And Lu is ready for the babe-in-arms stage, too.  She cannot move like she usually does, and carrying that much weight is no easy task.  Insanely, leading up to delivery the baby will gain a pound a week.  Frankly, I cannot imagine where that is going to go.  Lu has her doubts, as well. Very quickly now we are going to be starting on the Crazy Stage where anything can happen at a moment’s notice.

I believe that Lu will take the baby to full-term.  She’s extremely thorough in everything she does.  But getting there is going to be wild.

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.

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