I’m somewhat of a weird guy. When I have something that’s weighing extremely heavily on my mind, I’ll actually have verbal conversations by myself. It’s one of my coping mechanisms. So far…
I’ve had these conversations when I’m watching Alex by myself. One of the earlier ones involved me apologizing to his tear-blurred image for an hour.
I’ve had these conversations when I’m driving Taylor to daycare (although I’m usually talking TO her, albeit at an adult level). Usually these are about how lucky he is to have such an awesome big sister and how much she’ll help him, and how much I love her.
I’ve had these conversations when I’m driving by myself, often about the future, really functional kind of stuff that brings me hope as a technologist / futurist.
The self-conversations, while admittedly creepy, have always been at least somewhat helpful to me as a form of bloodletting. It simply feels more therapeutic than leaving everything inside.
One of my wife Shannon’s many inspirations has been her love for Blogging – she runs a popular site over at sittinginatree-blog.com where she’s posted about everyday things dating back to before we were married. It’s evolved into a family blog which I love reading. I check her site multiple times in the day to see if she’s posted anything. Her writing always makes me smile.
Anyhow, while coping, I considered that I could put all of that internalization to some good use, by creating a blog and posting to it. The internet, if you’re looking for info on something emotionally charged, tends to be both amazing and cruel – look long enough and you’ll find your worst fears or your most naive hopes. While scouring the internet for information on Alex’s hearing loss, the most comforting information so far has come from people who actually lived through such an event and whom took the time to write about their experiences. As Shannon and I have been going through this process of grief and loss, I’ve rationalized to myself that no matter how bad I feel now, I will eventually make peace with what is happening, a new normal will be established, we will laugh again, and most importantly – we will love our son for all that he is AND all that he isn’t.
While I’m actually going through this whole adjustment, I thought it would be therapeutic both for myself to write it and, potentially, for others to read it. A detailed journey, if I keep up the writing. My greatest ambition outside of my own selfish reasons for this blog is to potentially be a source of comfort for the parents who are going or will go through the same thing we did.
To that end, I intend on holding little back. I’ve had some seriously dark thoughts at this point, and I’m only a few weeks into the process at this point. If this is to be as helpful as possible (including to myself), I think it also needs to be as honest and real as possible. I realize that members of the Deaf community may read this and be appalled at the emotions and feelings of loss that I’m having right now, but that’s the truth of the thing for me. Going back to the “Greatest aspiration” bit, I believe if I had access to a detailed blog that went into all of the feelings in detail, good or bad, it would have been uplifting to see what one would hope would be emotional progress toward enjoying life and the blessing we have received in Alex.
I KNOW that my child is going to amaze me already, but I don’t FEEL it yet. From the real-world stories I’ve read from actual parents, none of these people are living lives as sad as ours feel right now, regardless of their outcomes. Personally, that’s a source of inspiration and it’s something to hope for, but acknowledging the raw and intense feelings that come with this is keeping it real.