A friend of Gary's was in the hospital on Friday so we went to visit him after work. (He is fine and already at home). As we pulled up to the hospital, I started to get nervous. This was not the same hospital where I delivered Allie, but a hospital is a hospital, right? They all have waiting rooms and harsh lighting and musac in the elevators. They all smell of antiseptic and old food and sometimes aromas more extreme. As we walked down the hall to see our friend, I started to feel almost dizzy. The last time I experienced those sights and smells was on worst day of my life and as my senses started to take it all in, I started to get very anxious.
We had a nice visit with our friend and talked to him for a while. He was so happy for the company! It was hard to quiet all the noise in my head and be present in the moment, but I think I did a pretty decent job. The longer we visited, the calmer I became and the anxiety and fear started to fade. Turns out I think it was good for me to experience being in a hospital again and I did not even know that was a fear that I was going to have to overcome. Well, it was and I did!
Yesterday, Gary and I went to a pool party for a dear friend. This friend has a smile that can light up a room and a laugh that makes all your troubles disappear. I should mention that my friend just turned 6 years old.
Going to this pool party, I knew I would run into some people that I have not seen since Allie died. I knew it might be hard to smile and behave like all is normal in our lives. But I knew not going would just make me feel worse. I have heard about people who lose their friends after they experience a loss like ours because they find it hard to relate to others and vice versa. I do not want to be one of those people. I need my friends and family more now than ever. And those that love us, give us space to not talk if we want to be quiet. And they do not think twice about it.
So there were some moments when I felt sad, but then I saw a brave little boy go down the giant slide or a courageous little girl swim under water further than she had before and I felt ok. I felt good when people asked how I was and I could tell that they really wanted to know. I felt like I was with family and friends and I was.
There are always going to be parties and events that I want to skip as it might be easier to stay home. Maybe sometimes I will. I think it is a true sign of strength, though, to be able to go and keep on living.
I wish that I would be able to plan a birthday party for my baby like my dear friend did for her son, but I can't. I can, however, go on with my life and live each day as best as I can as a tribute to her. I think I will choose to do that. In fact, I think I already have.