SEPTEMBER 6 — What will happen?

I keep thinking we can turn back time. An illogical thought, of course, and one which only lasts for a second, but which comes to me every single day.

Inside my kitchen medicine cabinet, I have always tacked up recipes, poems, cholesterol counts, phone numbers of relatives in Ireland. I noticed this calendar last week. Early in 2014, at the beginning of the transplant nightmare, I had taped it up.

I remember looking at all the days still to come and wondering what they would bring. I wrote, What will happen??? Knowing there would be an answer, impatient for it.

IMG_8828.jpg

Then, a day later, cleaning out a desk drawer, I came upon an email Caitlin had sent me, again in early 2014. I don’t generally print out emails, but had printed this one, and oddly enough, when I mentioned it to Katie, Caitlin’s closest-to-a-sister (is there an easier word for her??), she said that she, too, had just happened upon the same email, which I had forwarded to her, back then. Another funny coincidence.

Caitlin to me:

This is what has been bothering me most about our argument the other night. We need to make this time as ok and as enjoyable as possible. Who knows what’s going to happen once I get that call. I don’t want to live this time as if “this sucks” or “this time is really crappy and stressful.” I just can’t do it and I don’t think it’s true or smart or good for our hearts. I feel like this is your underlying sentiment despite that your brain tells you to “appreciate what we have.” The truth is is that this could be it. As hard as that is to say, once I get the call I’m going into a hugely risky surgery. There aren’t any guarantees. So this isn’t just a time to get through –it’s a time to try to be happy and make something worthwhile of it.

Everything from the bottom up here is unknown- someone has to die for me to get a transplant, so it doesn’t get any more unknown or unplanned than that. The only option is to go with the flow as best we can and that means basically, assessing everything as it comes, and dealing with things but letting them go just as quickly. That includes like stress and freakouts and fights. There’s no way to avoid them so just deal with them.

This isn’t a sad time we should be waiting for to be over. It will be over soon enough and you could be wishing we were back here. Or we could be glad we never have to go back here. The point is we don’t know, we can’t know, and I don’t want to live like I’m just trying to get through it, when this is still my life.

I love you

Sent from my iPhone

My response:

I love you.
It is interesting that while you were writing that, I was making coffee and thinking about how I needed to tell you that I feel shame when you have to talk to me like that.  You do a very good job of taking the high road, and restraining yourself from fighting and all that.

Sorry.

You are completely right about all of this.  Let’s make today a happy day !

 

So.

We are into September already. September of this year 2017 that has not had Caitlin alive in it. I look at my calendar from a year ago. September 7, 2016: Kitten admitten.

It was the first of three separate hospital admissions she would have. One each: September, October, November.

During the final admission, with such a high score, we were actually happy, expecting that transplant would be imminent, but she was more scared/somber/nervous than I realized. Of course. I see now, reading through much of her stuff, how much she kept inside. One of the things she sent to me then, and which breaks my heart a little:

The Afterlife, by Billy Collins 

I haven’t been writing in the blog all that much. I plan to write this story in a more contained form. I’m still figuring out how.

 

–Maryanne XO

9 thoughts on “SEPTEMBER 6 — What will happen?

  1. jane McCafferty

    That letter from Caitlin was amazing. What a teacher she is. I’m thinking of her so much today. A friend’s son had a bad fall and is having brain surgery, and the outcome is unknown. This happened the day after his wedding. We never know what’s coming. Caitlin lived with that knowledge so gracefully, and is an inspiration, to say the least. XO

    Reply
  2. Shelley

    To have that kind of clarity in the moment is just so remarkable to me, it’s hard to really get my arms around the enormity of it. The human instinct would be to hunker down, to survive, get through it. That’s what I did, mentally, when we were in the hospital. I’ll never forget this one nurse who kept saying to me, ENJOY HER! Enjoy this! And feeling like, I knew she was right but that I couldn’t fully, my heart wouldn’t let me, until she was better. And I do feel like I missed out on something as a result, a part of me was frozen for her babyhood, but I also know that I tried really hard to be as present as possible and enjoy as much as possible. I tried my best, but a part of me was shut down from full enjoyment out of fear. (And truthfully, sometimes I wonder if that part is still shut down.)

    Caitlin was remarkable and continues to amaze. Wisdom is timeless like that.

    Reply

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