how are you?

how are you? I’ve always felt this question is quizzical. Recently, I honestly hate this question. Maybe hate is a strong word. I cringe when asked this question. Yet, it’s such a common “go to” question in life. It flows out the mouth before you even have time to think about what you are even asking. It’s a question that doesn’t really require an honest answer. It’s more of a means to fill a quiet void and make small talk.

But let’s get real, “how are you” is a very loaded question. Most of the time, the answer, “I’m okay” suffices. But I’m anything other than okay. My baby died. I don’t think you are ever really “okay” after that. You learn to live with it. Or perhaps, “I’m okay” does cover it. You are always in a constant state  of “okay.” Somedays you exceed “okay”. Other days you fall short. But your new baseline is simply, okay. In my line of work, the first question I ask my patient when I bring them back is “how are you today?” And usually I’m hit back with the same question. Most often I say “I’m okay” with enough emphasis to be really convincing. Other times I find myself struggling to get those 2 simple words out.

This past weekend, I lost all content I had on my phone of Logan. To backstory- I had an iPhone 6 in February that I backed up on my MacBook. I bought an iPhone 7 specifically for the purpose of taking lots of photos and videos of Logan. Friday, when I plugged my iPhone 7 into my MacBook, iTunes decided to revert my iPhone 7 to my old iPhone 6, essentially wiping all my photos and videos of Logan gone. I had not backed anything up. I took me a few minutes to fully comprehend what had just happened. My tears started slowly, and quickly became weeping sobs. I begged my computer for 30 minutes, which seemed like eternity. In between sobs I pleaded for my computer to give them all back. I repeated this plea over and over. As if my computer had any intellect into what it had just done to me.

To date this is the deepest, darkest rabbit hole I have been in. It literally lasted 3 days. I’m not proud of all the mentalities I went through in these days. But it is a brutal reality into this life I now live. I wept like I just lost my son. And to me, I had. I lost him all over again. Except the intensity of this was so much deeper than the first time. When Logan died, I had “live” photos and videos to look at whenever I wanted. It gave me vivid reminders of the little personality we got to see. His different stages of breathing through his life. Mommy reading to him. Big brother reading to him. Daddy singing to him. His first bath. His final bath. His hiccups. His smirks. His yawns. His poop faces. His eyes opening. I recorded as much as I could. Perspective : 34 video’s and over 1500 photos. Even though I knew he was gone, I could still watch him. It gave me a sense of peace. It was a main factor in my coping. When I lost everything, I felt as if I had nothing. I had nothing left of my son. It was all taken from me. It’s hard to explain, but there was this sense of finality to his death. In a way, the videos made me feel like he was living with us, alongside us. I would come into his room, and talk to him. Sometimes even tucking him under the blanket in his crib to keep him warm and comfortable. So he wouldn’t feel alone.

I could no longer look at his movements on my phone. I felt as if I could no longer connect to my child. With Wyatt, he is here everyday, I get to watch him. His photos, while I would prefer to not lose them, would not be as devastating. My photos and video’s are all I have of Logan. I continued to travel down this path in my rabbit hole, at an alarming speed. I had no interests in climbing back out. I raced towards the looming black hole at the bottom. Each level I passed in my rabbit down brought about a new insecurity. My role as a mom, a wife, a sister, a person; all under attack. Josh, bless his heart, kept trying to put a rope down my rabbit hole, but I wouldn’t grasp it. I kept saying over and over, “It doesn’t matter, it just doesn’t matter.” Everything I’ve done in life, no longer mattered. I was a good person, lived my life right, made mistakes as anyone does. But yet got dealt a shit hand. I worked so hard to be a good mom and focus on Wyatt and his needs and teach him life, and he didn’t want to spend time with me. He didn’t care. I was a good daughter-in-law just to have that stomped on. I was a good wife, and he didn’t care. I praised the Lord, raised my son in the church, and tried to focus on the holy positivity that came out of Logan’s passing. Just to have my main coping mechanism snatched from me. What was the point? I went over and over that question, many times in those 3 days. Why was I trying so hard to just get shit on? I saw no purpose for continuing this life. I wanted to just die, and be with my Logan. To end this suffering brought on by this world. Something inside me snapped, broke.

10% of my brain told me I should be concerned about how my behavior was affecting Josh and Wyatt. When Josh would look at me, his concern was written all over his face. He couldn’t hide how terrified he was of my behavior. No clue how to help me. He’d never seen me like that before. Completely hopeless. I reached the bottom of the rabbit hole, but when I looked up, there was no light, only blackness. I was surrounded by a cold empty pit. I curled up on the couch in the fetal position and cried silent tears for a long time, mentally going through a list of ways to end my life, wondering which one would hurt the least. I got up long enough on Sunday to get Wyatt an Easter gift, but I never crawled out of my hole. Once back home, I grabbed some beers. Having not had a drink in 9 months and nothing to eat all day, tipsy quickly became drunkenness. My give a damn was already gone, but the pain didn’t hurt so bad. I felt numb. I still didn’t care, still didn’t see a point in life.

We had plans with my sister for Easter that evening, and for some reason I felt like I couldn’t ditch. I had a gin and tonic once we got there and a margarita later. I had a heart to heart with my sister, where I confided in her what I had been processing in my head all day. Instead of lecturing me, she gave me soft words of encouragement. Reminding me of all the good in life I’ve done, and how those who don’t appreciate it, is not a reflection on me, but of them. She pointed out the love my husband has for me. The fact that Wyatt is growing up and getting to an age where I’m not as important. She encouraged but didn’t push me, to go to my therapy appointment the next day. I don’t know exactly what it was about this conversation, it wasn’t anything I didn’t already know, I just hadn’t cared. But I started crawling out of my rabbit hole. Coming out almost as fast as I went in. Finally reaching the top, I felt like I could breathe for the first time in days. I looked at my son with enjoyment. I took pictures of him and his cousin fetching easter eggs. I laughed, really laughed. As the night went on, and I got food in my stomach, I really saw enjoyment in life again. I could feel myself coming back to life.

Later that night, Josh and I talked about what I had gone through the previous days. I could admit that it was bad. I was in a very bad place. I never stopped loving him. I never stopped loving Wyatt. I just didn’t want to continue on a path that didn’t seem to offer me anything. Now out of my rabbit hole, and climbing up the hill, I can look down and see the bottom of that pit. Down there is irrational fear and doubt. Each layer strips your mind of your rational thinking, until all you have left is darkness. All my insecurities in life were blown out of proportion. As much as I love and miss Logan, losing him is not the end of my life. it is okay to say that. It is okay for my life to move forward. It is okay for me to be happy.

I often think that one day, I won’t have this hole in my chest. I won’t get sick to my stomach. I won’t have panic attacks. I won’t always feel empty. I won’t always feel like something vital is missing. But truth be told, I don’t think any of those things will ever stop. My hope is that each of these will decrease over time. And that each episode will get shorter and interpoximally longer. I don’t tell you these things for your pity. Please do not pity me. Instead, understand me. Understand my pain, empathize with my pain. I want to educate you on the reality of this magnitude of grief. My biggest pet peeve is when someone tells me “I know what you are going through, I lost my dog, my dad, my husband, my (insert whatever here).” While I know your grief and pain are difficult, please do not compare. Your loss is not my loss. Losing a 14 day old baby is a completely different role than losing your husband. My job as a parent is to raise and keep my child safe. I am his caregiver, his safety net, his anchor. My spouse is my lover, my partner, my best friend. The roles are completely different. While it would hurt to lose a loved one, you move on with your life, remarry even. I cannot “re-child.” I will never have another Logan.

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