Monday, October 25, 2010
October 22, 2005: Game 1 of the World Series in Chicago. Chicago White Sox vs. Houston Astros. Joe Crede hits a tie-breaking home run in the bottom of the 4th. Manager Ozzie Guillen famously gives the “fat guy” signal for Bobby Jenks to come in for the save in the 8th. It was a squeaker, but we are one game up. Woo hoo!
October 24, 2005: Audrey’s 18-month wellness check. The day that will live in infamy. The day the Earth stood still. You have got to be KIDDING ME. Of course, my overriding emotions were all of the typical ones associated with the grieving process: shock, denial, and excruciating pain and devastation, but I also had a little of the anger kicking in, perhaps more than Elizabeth Kubler-Ross would think normal on day 1 of the grieving process. But she most likely never sweated her butt off in 100-degree heat watching another grounder dribble through Don Kessinger’s legs, so she can suck it. I could not believe that I was not going to be allowed to enjoy my team finally winning the World Series. My anger was completely irrational, which only made me feel more guilty. Where was my perspective? What exactly were my priorities?
For the most part, I reacted normally, with all of the renewed perspective on life that one would expect. Of course, nothing in life is more important than the health and well-being of your child. There is no team, no sport, no championship that matters a whit in comparison. But here was where the bargaining phase started. I had always thought that bargaining was the stupidest of the grieving stages. Does anyone really believe that God is open to negotiations? “Please, God, don’t let me have cancer. I’ll go back to church. I’ll go every Sunday. I swear.” You know that you totally wouldn’t, and God knows it too. Besides, he’s much too busy making sure that Beyonce wins another BET award to listen to your bull.
I may have never thought that I would succumb to the bargaining phase, but the possibility of an impending World Series win would prove far too tempting.
“God, I know I’ve been praying for the White Sox for almost forty years, but I’d really much rather that my daughter didn’t have autism. If you could just make it so that she doesn’t have autism, I will never misplace my priorities ever again. I promise that I won’t ever again prop her up in front of a Baby Einstein video on the portable DVD player just so I can watch another meaningless sporting event.”
This made watching the final two games of the series quite confusing. Should I assume that God listened to me and root for them to lose? If they lost, did this mean that Audrey wasn’t autistic? If they won, did it mean that she for sure was autistic? Were my prayers really that potent? I became borderline obsessive-compulsive about it. “OK, if Iguchi turns this double play, then Audrey is totally not autistic.” In retrospect, I think I was having a small nervous breakdown.
Five years down the road, we've gotten somewhat used to this new normal. But that doesn't keep me from looking back on that time and still mourning a little. The best way to deal with such an anniversary is probably to forget about it. Maybe someday I will, and it will be just another day on the calendar.
We have spent the last five years doing everything in our power to help Audrey. And she has spent seemingly every minute of those five years working her ass off and withstanding everything we've thrown at her. I couldn't even begin to enumerate all of the therapies and interventions that we've pursued. Ironically enough, she is now the exact age at which that pediatrician said she would be caught up. She is not. But it is certainly not for lack of trying.
For Audrey, that October day was 75% of her life ago and means absolutely nothing to her. She was the same child on that day that she had been for the previous 18 months, and that she has been every day since: a beautiful, amazing, courageous little girl that is loved more than she will ever know.
Posted by Lynn at 11:32 AM