bad things sometimes happen

 Last Friday I boarded a plane headed to San Diego to visit my eighty-one year old mom. She lives there with my brother Matt and his wife. My sister Caron lives about five minutes away with her husband.

When I go on trips like these, which is not often, I sometimes look forward to the journey, to just sit back, relax and think about nothing, do nothing. But that never happens. Instead, I end up with too much room in my head—lag space—and my thoughts seem to always gravitate toward Calvin and what the hell went so wrong. It’s what happened in the Washington Dulles airport as I sat in adjoining vinyl chairs propped up before a huge plate glass window staring out at the painted lines on the tarmac, sitting between strangers. I didn’t care if they saw me cry.

I always ask myself if I swam too hard when I was pregnant. Was that what happened? If only I could roll back time I’d do it differently. He’d have been such an amazingly extraordinary ordinary kid. If only I could see him now, without the mess of a brain—without the seizures—walking, talking, practicing multiplication tables, splashing in the spring’s rain puddles with me.

And then, as a coping mechanism, I remember the email my sister’s friend sent me, the OBGYN who we met in Boston after the shit had hit the fan, who wrote, “Unequivocally—YOU DID NOTHING TO CAUSE THIS PROBLEM. Unfortunately bad things sometimes happen.”

She got that right.

photo by Michael Kolster

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