Two months ago today, I woke up and knew that James would die. I woke up with the sound of his labored breathing in my ears and hoped it would pass. I bargained with myself even then. A few minutes on oxygen will get him on track, just a few. I won't turn the oxygen on all the way- I'll leave something in reserve for when it gets worse, because it's not the worst yet. I think the mask is broken. That must be why it's not working- I changed the tubing, that will make a difference. Small things, little deals that mattered to no one but me.
There was no bargain to be made though, no deal to be struck. Within a few hours I'd given up and turned the oxygen on full blast- the obnoxious whir that at first seemed so annoying completely faded into the background. After he died I couldn't get it out of the house fast enough.
This month went faster. The timelines are accelerating, especially as we insert ourselves back into the world at large, in roles that were suspended totally while we watched James. Even so, the world still seems to have lost its axis. In many ways, it's a question of relativity. Your child is the thing in your life by which the rest of your roles are defined- your world in many ways revolves around them and their needs. Your work feeds them and provides for them, your family is based around them after they're born, not your parents. Your relationship with your spouse is triangulated by them. Without them, the central narrative around which much of your life depends vanishes. The rest of the roles have to readjust themselves without a common point to fix themselves on. Everything suffers collateral damage, and the process of adjusting is colored all the while by grief. No matter how much time passes, it still seems to me on some days that it didn't happen, that it was all some sort of nightmare that I am almost certain to wake from. But that's just more bargaining. I'm not waking up.
So I wouldn't say it was a better month. Faster, yes. But better is also relative. James didn't die this month, so this month was relatively better than July. Thank all of you for your continued support and prayers, it is a great blessing to know that James is in your hearts.