I just wouldn’t be worth my salt as a blogger if I didn’t do something to acknowledge the new year. It being January third, I imagine that, like myself, you’re about all set with top ten lists. So I’m going to keep it simple, and talk about my number one high, and number one low, of 2011. I have to warn you, this might get a tad self indulgent. But, I’m nothing if not that:-)
Jimi’s death was probably the lowest low not only of 2011, but probably ever. When I got the news he was in a coma and probably would not survive the night, I was at work, on Easter Sunday. I popped into the breakroom to grab a beverage, and snuck a peek at my phone. Saw that our mutual friend, whom I was on the outs with at the time, had called me. Why is she calling me? I texted Jimi and asked “Any idea why she would be calling me?” (How you like that irony?) He didn’t respond, and he never would again. I checked my voice mail. I heard her voice crack as she said “It’s about Jimi.” I called her back. She told me what was going on. I said “Should I come home?” solidly expecting a “Nah, he’ll be alright.” Because he was always alright. But instead, “Ah..I don’t know man. It’s bad.”
My heart dropped into my stomach. I don’t really remember what happened next. I remember being bent over the toliet, hands on my knees, trying to catch my breath and keep the vomit down. Crying. Lots of crying. My makeup smeared and running down my face. Trying to get my locker open, I was getting the fuck out of there. One of my managers walked into the breakroom, assumably looking for me. He had just started at the time, didn’t know me very well, but took one look at me and said “Whoa..you ok?” I tried to form a sentence but I think it came out something like “My friend…coma..not gonna make it…leaving.”
He said “Go.”
So I did. I texted John. He didn’t answer me, he was taking a nap. I called my friend Tess. Tried to tell her what was going on but I couldn’t hardly even catch my breath. She kept saying “Jimi. JIMI Jimi?” “Our Jimi?” Because, he was always alright.
Well. This time he wasn’t alright. (Fuck it’s still so hard to talk about this.)
By Friday morning, I was on a plane back to Chicago, seven months pregnant and numb from the pain. I walked around those first few weeks in a haze. It was like my body was trying to protect me from the pain, so I went into an emotional shock, feeling nothing. I remember saying that I was in a shell. Every couple hours the shell would crack and the icy pain would seep through, I’d get a dose of the misery and it would knock me into the fetal position. I’d weep until the hole closed again.
I was not an easy person to live with for the next three months. Third trimester + extreme grief. But that shell protected me. I think, it protected Xavier, really. I put one foot in front of the other, I put my pants on, I went to work, I functioned because I had to. It distracted me enough. But when I
sat still… Hell, when I sit still, it gets bad.
Thank God I was prohibited from drinking. Smoking. Snorting. I’d probably still be on a bender if it weren’t for Xavier.
And that would be the number one high, again, not only from 2011, but my entire life: Xavier James.
I never wanted children. I can’t ever remember feeling maternal, or looking at a kid and going “Aww..someday…” In fact, I begged numerous doctors to just tie my tubes so I could quit worrying about it. I regularly referred to them as “Germbombs” (Oh but they are!). There were a few children I liked, but I definitely didn’t mind sending them home. They were sticky and annoying.
But..I was having extremely painful periods. I was smoking, overweight and getting older. The pain was under control as long as I was on birth control, but being on birth control with those three risk factors for extended periods is asking for trouble. So the doctors were trying to figure out a solution. One possible solution was basically lasering off the lining of my uterus. Which would “essentially wreck your fertility. Forever.” So. I thought “Before I do this, I better be REALLY fucking sure, cuz it’s forever.” (When it’s forever, think HARD.)
So I sat with it for awhile. A few months, I thought about it. I liked my life just fine without kids. But would I regret it? Maybe. So..this is going to sound crazy, but one day I was watching tv, and a Pampers commercial came on. A chubby, giggling baby..and I thought “I could handle that.”
And just like that, I went from 60/40 against, to 60/40 for having a baby. Uh oh.
A few months later, I went to John with it. A few months later, we started trying. A few months after that, I was pregnant.
Now, I won’t bore you with my birth story all over again, if you want to read that, it’s a few posts back. But I’ll tell you this, today he’s six months old. Not once have I regretted the decision. In fact, it was the best goddamned thing I’ve ever done. For the first and probably the only time in my life, I made something perfect. The moment the doctor laid that slimy, coneheaded little creature on my belly was the greatest moment of my life. I’m SO obsessed with, so owned, so consumed with this child it’s pretty disgusting. I’m everything I said I wouldn’t be. I post pictures of him on Facebook every day. I talk about his poops at work. I’m overprotective as all hell. Believe me, I’m aware that it’s all going a bit far.
But I don’t give a fuck. That’s how far gone I am. He brought me back to life.
But they didn’t quite cancel each other out. I don’t feel any less joy at the birth of my son, and I don’t feel any less grief at the death of my friend. But because of the birth, I survived the death.
So that was my 2011.