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Slow

I move slowly through the world now.  I used to rush all the time.  Always on the go ready for next next next.  Busy at work, busy with friends, I was always looking forward to whatever it was that was happening tomorrow or next week or next month.  Throughout Lu’s pregnancy I had my gaze focused on the end result, on having our child in our arms and the whole rest of our lives to get started, finally.

I’ve always enjoyed my birthday, but when we lost Silas an edge appeared in that day and I felt a deep slice every year as it rolled around.  I still feel that today.  Silas should be here too and I have to fight to hold back the what-if’s and what-should’s.  That path is so painful I simply cannot tread down it too far.  How different this day and our lives and the world would have been.  There is only what there is, though, and so here I am ready to embrace the happiness I have.

Woke up to a tiny laughing face.

Last year he was still potential for me, and I was terrified of hoping to much.  As my birthday slipped by with Lu only a few months along I tried to exude a calm confidence I couldn’t quite believe.  Nothing could be certain and true until I held him in my arms and heard his scream and felt his breath and saw the living, vital force in his eyes.

This morning Zeph was all there, loud and squirming and full of life. My son to teach and help grow.  Lu brought him in bright and early and when he saw me he broke into smile and started laughing.  Him knowing who I am, that I’m his dad, I’m the guy that will always love him more than anything he could possibly imagine is everything I’ve wanted and more than I dared hoped for.  Time to get up and get at and enjoy this day with him to the fullest.

We are beyond thrilled to introduce our son Zephyr Rigel Gallagher.

He was born at 8:15am this morning via planned c-section.  He weighs in at 6lbs 13oz and is 19.5 inches tall (long?)

Lu was amazing throughout the surgery, our doctor and nurses have been incredible, and the grandparents are swooning over their brand new grandson.

I feel happy and calm in a way I have not felt in years.  It is like my heart is finally unclenched from the fist it has been twisted into since we lost Silas.

She’s calmly asleep in bed, I’m on the couch wide awake and waiting.

I have to breathe.  It is all I can do.  I can’t help her or him or Silas or the past.  I am in stasis, hovering, hoping.  I have to breathe.

Struck dumb.  Silenced.  I can’t…  There’s no way to…. Just… us.

Lu grows larger by the moment with our second son inside her and everything I want is right there next to me, within her, and I can do is wait.  The wait has been…

I have to breathe.  In through my nose in calm inhalations, out through my lips.  Like we were taught in the birthing class last time.  Now I’m the one who needs it but it doesn’t seem to take.

Give me everything that comes next.  I am…It is simply impossible to describe how finely wrought are the molecules of my soul, down to the edge, the breathless, bitter, blazing edge of hope and of fear.

My nervous system is firing spasmodically whenever I think of what is coming next, exactly next.

Friday we drive to the hospital together and avoid all obstacles, hand keys to valet, hand future to doctors, wait, hope, focus, hold hands, wait, hope, focus, beg.  Hope… wait… swallow my fear and lay back into the couch as I breathe and wait, again.

I’m used to the lies by now.  They are common and easy to say.  I say them for the sake of other people, but also for myself.  I have to lie so that I’m not always the guy that sucks the air out of a room, even if that room is the entire outdoors on a glorious fall day at the farmer’s market and someone has questions about me, about my life, about how I’m doing.  There is no point in ruining every idle conversation and friendly chatter with truth about my dead son Silas.

The moment stretched for eternity.

I could see the screen as the image shifted, the doctor moving the ultrasound device.

He paused on a void.  He twisted and focused.

I saw a whisper of motion and then his smile broke the sound barrier and I knew what he was going to say before the words existed.

“There, you see it?”

I saw it, so did Lu.

“That’s a heartbeat,” he said.

It was true.  It is true.

There is a flutter of hope within.

Our choices, our perspectives, how we handle adversity or celebrate happiness, each instance of decision is another step forward through the twisting path of our treacherous lives.

Music may have saved my life, my marriage, my soul.  Even in the darkest, bleakest hours of those first days with Silas suddenly gone, music pierced my impenetrable grief and keep something alive within.

I fucked up.  It was the two year anniversary of Silas passing, Lu and I couldn’t be together because of work, and I had no idea what to do.  So I planned nothing.

Didn’t call anyone in advance, didn’t make any plans. With Lu away it was  doubly difficult for both of us.

As the day approached I could feel myself tightening into that same awful shape again, where simple things like food and sunlight became taut and painful.

What do I do with the day my son was born and passed away?  The sheer awfulness of the anniversary immobilized me.  I was locked up completely.

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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Kindness