Sunday, June 26, 2011

Half a year

30 weeks + 1 day, 13 weeks + 3 days post rupture, day 3 in hospital (again).

When I was in high school I took art classes. I started in Grade 9 and continued right up until I graduated. I loved those classes. I got pretty good at drawing faces especially (if I do say so myself) and in my last year of high school I even won the Grade 12 Art Award.

One thing about art that was always lots of fun were the teachers. They were generally warmer, creative type people who were kind of 'quirky'. One of the 'quirkiest' art teachers I ever had was in Grade 11. He was short, with beautifully groomed grey hair, wore pastel coloured pants, had very strong opinions on art (and everything else), was totally gay, and had the most appropriate name: Mr. Flowers. I kid you not.

Art teachers just seemed funnier, cooler and usually more 'with it' than say, my Grade 10 Geography teacher who reused the same jokes every semester. Kids who had already taken Geography would ask "so has he told the radioactive rock joke yet?" and sure enough, during the exact same lesson they warned you about, out came the radioactive rock joke. It wasn't funny the first 20 times he used it, so I'm not sure why he kept it up.

One of my favourite art teachers was Mr. Ludlow. He was middle aged and pudgy around the middle. When not smiling his face kind of had a hound dog appearance, and he always looked sort of mildly unkempt, like he was in his Saturday afternoon lounge clothes all week long. He was one of those types of teachers who 'got it'. He knew some kids took his class because he wasn't a hard ass and didn't get all bent out of shape when kids didn't show up on time. He treated his class more like a college class in that each student was responsible for his or her own work, and he would fairly grade anything that was turned in...but he wasn't going to chase teens down (some of whom were already 18), to do their school work. You either showed up and worked, or you didn't. It was no skin off his nose.

Anyway, I'm getting to the point of this whole story now. Mr. Ludlow lived with his wife and I think he had a kid or two, maybe school aged at the time. But one day he told us about how he had decorated his living room (we might have been working on furniture or housing designs that day?). He said that in his living room he had painted a phrase on the wall. I thought this was so original...words on one's wall??!! That was interesting to me (and unheard of in my white bread little city). And the phrase he chose?

This too shall pass.

This obviously struck me as very bold, original and somewhat contemplative since I remember it even now almost 14 years later. I liked that it wasn't a happy statement about "home is where the heart is" or "bless this mess" or some equally kitschy or cute. It spoke to the fact that nothing is stable. Not even in one's own home. Nothing is for sure. Nothing lasts. Not sadness. Not happiness. Your only sure bet is that things will change (and death and taxes of course).

I remember on the evening after we first found out that Aidan was not likely to be okay, after both Brian and I threw up because we were crying so hard...I remember thinking about my Grade 10 art teacher and the writing on his wall. I tried to imagine us being happy again one day, because I knew we could not go on living in such a pit of despair. Things must get better. They must change. They could not stay the same. We could not bear it. And we wouldn't have to. We could count on the fact that "this too shall pass". And from that point on, until a few months after Aidan died, things were pretty shitty...until they got a little better...and a little better again...and hope for a new baby arrived and things were looking up....until they weren't (again). And then weeks and weeks and weeks passed and things still looked grim, and then they looked a little better, and now things still aren't great or perfect or even a sure thing...but they have changed (sort of).

I write this post tonight in honour of my (HOLY SHIT), HALF A YEAR (26 weeks), of bed rest in LESS THAN A YEAR AND A HALF. I write to remind myself that while I sometimes feel like I have been doing this forever, and that things have felt so wrong, so sad and so depressing for so won't always be like this. Hopefully things will be much better (soon? pleaseohpleaseohplease), but they could also be much worse (*sob*).

But this too shall pass. Nothing stays the same forever. Even when you're on bed rest.


  1. Thanks for the reminder that nothing stays the same. The sameness and stagnancy I feel seems eternal.

  2. Yes Emily, this too shall pass.. but my hope is that when it does you will look back at these entries- through all of the fear, the grief, the pain, and the longing- and find yourself standing in one of those moments where the sun is shining brightly. I know that there is no guarantee, but there is certainly an abundance of hope.. and somedays (not all) I have to believe that it all starts with hope- no matter how it ends.

  3. I think you're insanely strong to be remembering that 'this too shall pass' on such a milestone. It will, and hopefully you'll pass on to something better!