People talk about life getting back to normal. A “new normal” they say. Normal is such a weird word. Our lives are anything but normal and it’s hard to imagine they will be. But I know it will come. It seemed impossible that we would ever live a normal life after finding out about Gabriel’s T18. But soon enough I found myself living life, doing things just like I used to. Obviously, it wasn’t the same as before, but we had found our “new normal”. And we lived in that for a long time. 17 weeks really. It shifted some as things happened and there was always the waiting. It’s hard to live life with a giant cloud of uncertainty hanging over your head. The when, the how of it all was a lot. We knew an end was going to come sooner or later. We knew that any day I could stop feeling him move. We knew that we could go in to any doctor’s appointment, any ultrasound, and there be no heartbeat. And we lived a “normal life” with all of this hanging over us for 17 weeks.
We also knew Gaby was different. We knew he was strong and we knew he was beating the odds. We didn’t live in fear, and looking back on it I find that surprising and amazing. How one has a constant cloud of impending death hanging over them and doesn’t live in fear or become consumed by that is beyond me. See how this was so not us? I hope that no one looks at our lives, looks at Gaby’s story, and thinks we’re really good people. That’d be a shame. I hope people look at us and think those are some really broken people who have got to have something bigger holding them up. Because that is the truth of how it is.
So a little over 3 weeks ago I was terrified of anything being normal. I was terrified of people moving on, getting back to their lives, when ours would never be the same. I was mostly just terrified of people forgetting our sweet baby. I have some wonderful people who have promised me that they will never forget our boy. And I believe them and trust them with all of my heart. So I was able to come to peace with people moving on. But we didn’t just yet. We had more time to be in a bubble. We spent 17 1/2 straight days together all the time — Tommy and I did. And that 2nd week Tommy, Jack, and I spent a lot of time together. I call it our little family bubble. It was safe and glorious and unfortunately had to pop. And when it did, when Tommy went back to work, I realized life outside the bubble wasn’t so safe and was really hard. I hated that we had to have a “new normal”. What a terrible term. I liked normal with Gabriel. I was disgusted by the thought of having a normal life without him. And now I’m sad to say that not even 2 weeks later, we are settling into that very thing. Days are becoming routine again. And life is moving on and it’s ok and it’s so very not. I wish I was more upset about our new normal, like I was a week and a half ago. I wish I was still fighting it, rather than settling into it surprisingly well. I wish I thought deeply about Gabriel more than I do. I wish it didn’t feel like he was born forever ago. I wish my biggest reminder of his birth wasn’t the 3 bruises on my spine from the worst epidural ever.
But instead we are settling in over here in some state of normalcy as the 3 musketeers who have been through so much together, deeply missing our 4th family member.