Otherwise known as taking each day as it comes. Day by day. It could be said we all live here, trying to ‘live in the moment’. I probably thought I did an alright job of that before Rufus. Now I see that I didn’t. I just took my future for granted, it was going to be like today, but I would be getting older, and most days were good. I hadn’t suffered unjustly, I didn’t really know of grief. There had been heartbreaks, but wine and chocolate and a daft amount of self belief meant that they were fairly short-lived in the grand scheme of things. All part of ‘the plan’ I guess.
We found purgatory by accident, when things went off the page with Rufus. My version of purgatory would involve an uncomfortable chair and harsh strip lighting. Perhaps a little box of single ply tissues that the hospital dole out, or scratchy paper towels next to the door marked Hell. It smells sterile, and it is dull. Time is immaterial, it’s slow.
Next door I can hear the quiet thud of a party, laughter. During various times I’ve peeked through the door and seen babies going home from hospital straight away. I’ve seen first birthday parties marked by a child’s first independent steps. First words. Children that love eating. Their parents, whether falsely or not, planning their future. Sometimes I’m allowed to visit, but I have to leave after a while.
Last week we got a hall pass. The amniocentesis came back normal, mini-est D may be, just may be, alright. The surprise in the voices of the bouncers, in their white coats. But I can’t stop clinging onto the door frame, the radio in Purgatory playing that familiar tune of disappointments past. News on the hour from the other side, the scan still had a kidney anomaly. Mini-est D gives me a boot, come on Mum, go in. But I can’t, I don’t feel dressed for the occasion, and where can I leave my emotional baggage? Purgatory doesn’t have a lost luggage.
So I teeter back on my plastic chair, not looking to the other door. It’s always wide open. Come on in, google me. You’ll see stories from both sides, but you won’t remember the stories from the party side long term. In the middle of the night statistics will emerge. Unknowns. Doubts. So you heard Rufus giggling away on the other side? Playing with his toys unburdened. I can prove that that may not last, if you think hard enough about it, look hard enough.
People come through the open door. They look friendly enough, they may even be offering help. But their words are barbed, who knows intentionally or not. The physiotherapist who casually points out his small feet. Or whether they will ‘do’ anything about his jaw. His knee caps appear to be moved to the side. Chit chat from the dark side. A fellow blogger so accurately portrays the look of those troubled by this side: http://orangethisway.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/when-did-you-know.html?spref=fb. They’ve seen it, are they about to issue you with your marching orders?
So this is where I spend each day, taking it as it comes. Somedays it’s unbearable because the door to the party side is locked. Or it looks too far away, and I’m like Alice in Wonderland trying to see though a tiny door or keyhole. And it’s all too easy to turn around and look for the familiarity of the open door. But yet other days, Rufus props open the party door with his foot, kicks the bouncers in the nuts and lets you play in there all day, oblivious to the fact that it’ll be going home time soon. Occasionally there’s a sleepover too. And I’ve never been fully through into the open door on the other side, it’s too scary, so that’s where it remains. Daunting. But who knows, maybe they have parties in Hell? Bet there’d be a lot of booze.