I mentioned in my last post that the last time I had ridden the bike was at Challenge Maine last year. A lot of that has to do with my back and still trying to recover. But the other reason, I think, is that there is a part of me that isn’t ready. The last time I rode the bike, Owen was alive. And maybe, somehow, I will wake up in a wormhole and Owen will be with us.
I’ve felt a lot of pain in my life. I thought it had been completely re-calibrated when I fractured my spine. I was wrong. You know the sound that you hear in the woods, an animal howling in pain, that cuts through your bones? It is unmistakable. It is guttural, instinctual, the only thing that can possibly express the profound level of hurt. And it reveberates through your chest, rattles through your bones, when you’re the one making that sound.
The moments that are so difficult are often the ones you don’t expect. I have an incredibly hard time with special needs toddlers. Seeing parents in pain over their little ones. But sometimes it’s little things like “the weather feels like the day he was born” or seeing something from Winnie the Pooh or driving towards Hartford in the dark that melt me.
I can’t step foot in the city of Portland. I miss that city. I miss the people in it. I miss places like Rising Tide, Sonny’s, Eventide, Arcadia, and Novare Res. But my stomach turns in knots. I want to be able to visit those places again. But I don’t know when I might be able to.
I’ve been talking with a therapist. One of the more interesting things that I’ve learned, as I continually search out things, is that there is a lot out there about grieving mothers. There is little to no information for grieving fathers (or, I suppose, grieving non-carrying parents would be a better phrase). I think, in part, this is because of the extraordinary burden that pregnancy places on mothers. I would think, however, as we move towards a more progressive society with paid parental leave (both maternity and paternity), that there is further recognition of the grief that non-carrying parents share in. I’ve found a few books (surprise, surprise), but very little in terms of groups outside of the hospitals. If anybody has recommendations, I’m all ears.
I’m incredibly excited to meet our little one this summer, and for her to get to know her big brother. I want to be the best father I can be. I hope I can live up to that, for both her and Owen’s sake.