The Beast is Stirring
There once was a beast that lived in a ditch. He was mean and ugly. Scary too. Let’s name him…Igor. I found myself in his presence after the loss of my first child, my son Marco, almost 5 years ago.
I knew he was there, but my sister is the one who pointed him out to me. She wrote to me in an email about him one night. And she was spot on in describing him and the dark and horrid ditch in which he lived. “The beast is strong and he can whip you around now,” she wrote. “It’s empty and muddy…no flowers or food, no beers or tater tots, or corn on the cob, no summer grilles or Christmas trees, no sunny days in Bethany Beach. No red wine or chocolate”. Yes. Yes! This was it. This was the ditch I was living in with Igor, thrashing me about.
I was stuck in that ditch with Igor for some time, until finally, I managed to climb out. And before I knew it, the ditch started to close, and just as my sister said would happen, it became just a patch of dirt in a field of wild flowers. A beautiful rainbow even formed in the field nearly 2 years later. Her name is Lucia, and she is a vibrant and amazing 3 year old little girl. She shines such a light on the field.
Now, Igor isn’t gone for good. No. A beast of that caliber never is. But he did shrivel into something much smaller. He tries to poke his finger through the soil sometimes, and every once in a while he’ll scratch me with his jagged nails. It hurts like hell, but I put my healing ointment on the cut and carry on. I might take a moment to weep over it, but I keep moving.
I had grown almost comfortable with Igor, accepting his presence in my life. We’ve come a long way, he and I. I can usually anticipate when his nails will come out to poke me. And even when I don’t see them coming, I’m familiar with the pain of the wounds they create, and so they don’t throw me off quite like they did in days past.
But Igor has started to stir again, as he has tripped into a new ditch. I don’t like it. It’s making me feel uncomfortable like it once did before. He’s getting angrier and he’s disturbing my new normal that I worked so hard to create.
Why is this beast stirring, you ask? Infertility. That’s why.
Just typing out that word makes Igor grumble. I can hear him right now as I type this. He’s telling me “now that you’ve written that word, it makes it more real.” Yes, Igor, I hear you.
And it’s true. Writing out the word “infertility” makes it seem so much more real. And scary. There goes Igor, grumbling again.
You see, I didn’t expect this new ditch, this new battle. Granted, I didn’t expect my loss. No, not for one second would I have anticipated my loss. But isn’t one unanticipated HUGE ditch with a grumbling, scary monster enough to have to deal with? Why two? Why?
I know, I know. That’s not the way it works in life. Life isn’t fair all the time. I get it. We don’t always get to pick and choose our battles. But that’s just it. Not only are we battling these disgusting beasts, but we are struggling to come to terms with the fact that they exist in the first place, and got thrown like booby traps into our lives.
So I’m fighting it. I’m fighting this ugly beast, my old pal Igor, again. He’s making me resent him and he’s throwing new jabs at me that I am not used to. He threatens to dull my joy, and he pokes fun at my hope. He also makes me feel guilty for wanting another rainbow in my field, when I’ve already been so fortunate to get the one I have. Yes, this beast, he is a nasty one.
I’ve pulled out my sword, though I haven’t used it. Rather, I’m combatting Igor with all of the calm peace that I can muster. Don’t get me wrong, the anxiety is there. Yes, that fear and anxiety that makes me want to grab that sword and thrust it into his throat, it’s there. But then I take a deep breath and try to put some distance between myself and the fear. I inhale and exhale and remember that fear isn’t going to kill Igor. Rather, it will feed him. So I stay as calm as I can. I hang onto the thread of patience and hope that I have. I pray. I wait. I watch. I listen. And I keep going.
Igor may have started to stir again, but I will not let him do the one thing that he wants so badly to do. I will not let him steal the joy of what I have right now, today. I won’t let him take my attention away from that beautiful ray of light that fills up my house with so much life, my daughter. I won’t let him squash my hope that one day, she’ll have a little, living sibling to play with.
I will keep my eye on him and his threatening ways. Instead of jumping on him and being taken away by his horror, I will watch him from a distance. I’ll be aware of him, but not overcome by him.
I see you there, Igor. You have my attention. Watch and see how I will not be taken down by you and your oppressive ways. My calm awareness is more powerful than you. I can’t ignore you, but I won’t let you win, that I promise.