the anchor and the helms wheel

I asked him on our way if he was nervous or scared.  Surprisingly–to himself–he was not.

He sees flashes of his dad in pictures of himself, in the laugh of his son, in the smiles of his aunts and uncles, in the gait of his brother.

The design he had emailed back and forth on for months–even years–with his best friend and graphic design artist rested in the space beneath the radio in the dash.

He can feel his father on the breeze off the lake, in the waves lapping against the beach, in the embrace of his grandmother.

I had joked with him earlier if he needed to shave his leg himself  and if he was ready for the fun of stubble on his calf as the hair grew back.

There is an emptiness in the dark of night when he wonders what it would be like to have his dad around to help with basement remodels and yard projects and son-rearing.

He is remarkably calm and even jovial as he cracks jokes with the artist and gets settled on the bench.

He has no idea how much he is his dad right now.  Facing pain with a smile and a joke.  Making those around him comfortable in the presence of what will be HIS pain.

He is deep in thought as his wife and the artist chat and joke and discuss the process. It’s good that she came.  It’s good that she is there with him for this.

Even in the pain he can feel his dad.  Each week, in the same arm, a needle was stuck.  But it was not infusing ink under his dad’s skin.  It was poison that was being injected.

Sooner than later–after winces, but no sound–it was over.

His dad is his guide.  Even in spirit.

His anchor and his helms wheel.

His Pops.

This week’s prompt was to tell a story–fiction or non–about a tattoo in 300 words or less.  This is a true story from my imaginationFor a picture, go here.

keeping the worst to remember the best

This week we asked our members at Write on Edge to write about their worst memory and whether they would forget it if they could.

I’ve already written about the time we found out Cort’s dad’s cancer was terminal.

I wrote about the first miscarriage.

I shared about how badly that due date passing hit me (and how it was probably the start of my depression).

I wrote about the second miscarriage.

I’ve written countless times about my stupid depression and once about how I tried to go off my meds.

I could pick any of these as worst memories.

I could pick all of these as worst memories.

But there are things I haven’t written about yet…bad memories that are still rolling around in my head.

If you’ve been hanging around you know I am dealing with some depression with this pregnancy.  I am struggling to get through each day, only holding on to the hope that this will all be better in a couple weeks with my second trimester rolls around.

Not letting myself think what the next course of action will be if it’s not Ok.

Not letting my mind wonder if this is the last time I can handle being pregnant.  If my own mental health will be what decides how many children we have rather than Cort and I making the decision that we FEEL complete.

Anyway.  There are memories that are all mine and they suck the big one.

But you know what?  I wouldn’t choose to lose those memories.

As much as I hate remembering what it was like to lie on the floor writhing in pain from a miscarriage?  It also made childbirth somehow less scary.  And it made me realize how powerful my body is.  And it made me never, ever take Eddie for granted.

As much as I can’t stand remembering what it was like to watch my father in law go from a healthy, robust, hilarious man to a gaunt, sick, pale, fraction of himself?  It also made me closer to his family.  And it meant that I was there when Cortney needed me the most.

We all have terrible memories.

But being able to recall my terrible memories here…in my space…with you has been healing to me.

And it’s been good for many people who have gone through the same thing.

If I were to lose those memories, I would have nothing to remind me why I am so blessed.

And I am so very blessed.

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