At Camp Mabry in Austin, they hold a yearly event called American Heroes day which brings together first responders, our armed forces, and importantly, all of their gadgets and vehicles to central Austin. We have attended every year since Henry was born – at first he could barely crawl up the helicopter skids, now he is dashing in and out, asking questions about medics and war crimes and North Korea (who makes bad choices).
It has been in many ways a barometer of our family – I didn’t go when pregnant, I didn’t go when sick (last year) and this year I am not going. Is it because I have a physical excuse? Not really. It’s not because I’m fatigued and nauseous and miserable like last year. But I did make excuses – I’m going to get sunburned, my back hurts from standing at soccer, I need to rest. It’s true. But mostly it’s because I need space – quiet, a blank screen, the endless love of the dog and my thoughts.
I am cool and collected and completely and utterly falling apart inside. I believe it’s been that kind of week for a lot of people.
I was euphoric after my trip to Duke. I was sobered by my pre op appointments. I was thankful for my birthday and all the wishes. I was transfixed by the scenes in Boston. I was shocked at the magnitude in West. And in the middle of it all – reconstruction looming.
It’s an interesting word after this week: reconstruction. Boston will have to reconstruct what happened with the bombings and the physical and emotional space of the Marathon. West clearly will have to reconstruct its facilities, its community, and its livelihood. I am reconstructing myself physically – a long, arduous process that takes almost as long as chemo, so that I can be whole again. I am terrified that the pain will be too much. That I have just adjusted to this new normal and can not do the same again.
But I know that reconstruction, though hard, is the most critical piece to get right.
I have surgery on Monday and start it all again. Pain management, physical therapy, a step by step process towards a goal – not normalcy this time, but close.