I spend a lot of time imagining conversations and interactions based upon current emotions or concerns. Today I envisioned sitting down with the principal of Early Childhood Special Education (my boss) before returning to work, in the same conference room in which I had my interview, except this time being the polar opposite of composed and professional. I imagined myself with my head in my hands, somewhere between screaming and sobbing, rocking, my face some Salvador Dali version of itself, crying out in a nonsensical jumble “This was the one thing that made me Me, she was what has always mattered the most, since I was a child myself, WHERE IS SHE???” and ongoing versions of the crazed litany that exists constantly in my soul - erupting. I pictured my principal sitting there perplexed and stunned. Wondering not only what to do with me but thinking “She is not getting better. This is behavior I would expect 2-3 weeks out. Not 2-3 months out. This borders on psycho, maybe. Shouldn’t she be getting some help for this? I don’t know that this should still be so fresh.” Etc etc.
Understand that the principal could be anyone, the scene could occur anywhere. In trying to explain my imagined behavior, I came up with the following analogy. In those few minutes in the operating room taking in that Anna had died, it was as if every dream, hope, wish, expectation and desire we ever had surrounding her got wrapped up in an enormous, billowing transparent material that wound quickly around us. As the hours went by, its space transformed into a solid mass. Immense. An iceberg. As that iceberg slowly thaws, pieces of those dreams and expectations are exposed. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to their order, nor to their depth within the berg itself. One day it will be seeing a darling item at a flea market and realizing that you’ll be buying gifts for your 3 month old niece for the rest of your life and no one will be buying for your daughter - including you. You and your immediate family will always buy just one (dress, toy, book, necklace ), not two. A few days later it will be the screams that got buried in order for you to survive that night. Another day the children’s books that sit in her nursery are unearthed, and the whole section that held rocking with her as you read Guess How Much I Love You and Pajama Time for the 200th time comes crashing down. You become aware of the piece that has her snuggling next to you in her twin bed, her soft brown hair all mussy and freshly washed in her fuzzy pajamas with feet as you read your childhood favorites (Corduroy, Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day ) and hers (Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse, Fancy Nancy, Knuffle Bunny, Olivia), lies dangerously close. Or maybe the screaming in vain, again. Because the screaming was simultaneously created, silent and split into shards in the moment they said “she’s intubated and they’re doing CPR”, and the shards found their places in the cavernous space that was beginning to harden by the time they said she has severe brain damage and her pupils are fixed and dilated and you should let her go.
It’s an iceberg. It melts slowly. You never know what you’re going to find.