Jeff got a promotion at work and he was slowly transitioning from his old job to his new job. That meant that he was working both jobs during the month of December and working a lot of extra hours. Now he is starting to let go of his old job duties and (hopefully) working more normal hours.
I also went back to work full time. Surprise! (To you and me both!) Remember how I said I was slowly going to get back into teaching? And remember how I said I didn't want to take a full time position mid-year? I think my exact words were "been there/done that and don't ever want to do it again." Yeah, well basically my Heavenly Father knows me so much better than I know myself. I found out about a position at my former school, which I love, in a grade that I love to teach. I knew I would be surrounded by people who know what I've been through (many of my co-workers came to Ethan's funeral) and love me. And that was so important to me. So I agonized over the decision to go back for days... and days... and days. But once I made the decision to go back and I started to prepare, I felt SO GOOD about it. I started working less than a week later. It was a bit of a lifestyle change going from working 0 hours for 7 months, to working 60 hours a week for 3 weeks, but I am very happy. I am very glad I made the decision to go back full time. I know it has been the right thing for me.
But having a busy mind is a bit of a double-edged sword. Over the last three months I have found that I could literally think about Ethan 24/7. What is he doing right now? Has he spent time with his great-grandparents yet? How about his great-uncles? Is he watching over us? Does he know how much we miss him? Does he miss us too? Did he know he'd only be with us such a short time? And mostly...
Did that really just happen?
Sometimes I feel like the months of May 2013-October 2013 were a dream. A separate life. When we found out about Ethan's diagnosis in May I was no longer teaching. My entire summer was spent sewing with my mom and going to doctor's appointments. My daily adult interactions went from visiting with my co-workers at work, to vising with my doctors and nurses who I saw on a weekly basis. It basically switched seamlessly over from one to the other. And now going back to work feels like no time has passed. It feels so dis-jointed from my entire summer and sometimes that really bothers me. I know my co-workers know what I've been through, and they have been so kind and supportive. I know my doctors and nurses care about me as well, but going from seeing them every week, to not seeing them for three months has been hard. Is that stupid? I feel a little bit embarrassed to be so bonded to these people who were really just doing their job. But to me, their job was my whole world for six of the most important months of my life.
I am very grateful to our families and my friends at church. Somehow they are the link between these two separate lives. They were there before, during, and after this journey. I think that helps.
On January 13 we get to go back to the doctor's office where I spent so many hours of my former life. (Yay!) We get to meet with the doctor who performed Ethan's autopsy. (We chose to have them study Ethan's heart and lungs to see if they could learn anything about his rare anatomy to maybe help someone else down the road.) We also get to see Megan (our wonderful hospital coordinator), Dr. B (our favorite cardiologist), Dr. H (who was Ethan's pediatrician), and hopefully Dr. M (who was the cath lab surgeon who did everything he could to save Ethan's life). I am so excited. I am hoping that this is the closure that I am searching for.
Please pray for us that we can continue to heal. Grief is hard, but I am grateful for my knowledge that it is necessary and that it does get better. Honestly, we are doing pretty well. I don't want this post to make you think that we are sad and depressed all the time. It just happens to be that it helps me to write about the hard things. I hope that is okay.
And here are some pictures.
Happy 3 month birthday Ethan!
(I promise you that one day we will actually get you a real headstone. But for now, we know where you are. And we love you like crazy.)