"Congratulations! I'm so sorry."
It's a strange combination, right?
I've heard a lot of it lately.
If you follow me on Instagram, you have probably seen that our son Owen has made his way into the world. He's amazing, and we're thoroughly smitten!
You also probably saw something that I only hinted at in these pictures.
Those legs are my dad. On November 6th he flew home from Arkansas after a successful business meeting with WalMart. That evening, just as I was putting dinner in the oven, my sister called me saying that Dad had had a seizure, and was on his way to the hospital. Off we went.
We met the rest of my family at the emergency room. Dad had had several large seizures, and was still having smaller ones, despite medication. an MRI showed an "artifact" in his brain, but there were no answers. He was admitted to the Cardio/Neuro ICU at our local hospital, fully sedated and on a ventilator. Over the next two weeks he underwent countless tests, multiple MRIs, a wicked bout of pneumonia, and two brain biopsies. In those two weeks, his diagnosis moved from possible vasculitis, something easily treatable, to brain tumors, to advanced brain cancer: Glioblastoma Multiforme. The tumors seemed to grow before our eyes.
On November 19th, we went from discussing moving Daddy from a the ventilator to a trach tube so that he could come off of sedation to learning that our only real option was to take him off the ventilator all together and "keep him comfortable".
On November 20th, I went into labor.
On November 21st, Owen Robert was born.
On November 22nd, my dad died.
"Congratulations, I'm so sorry."
I remember telling a friend, as I was having my first contractions, that I didn't know how to do these two things at the same time. How do you do two things that so desperately do not go together?
I still don't know.
Life lately has been full of things that don't go together.
One of the best days and one of the worst days of my life.
New baby gifts at a wake.
"Congratulations, I'm so sorry"
Every 21st of the month we celebrate another month with Owen, and every 22nd we grieve another month without my dad. Those two days will always be connected in the saddest of ways. I was so afraid that somehow to joy of Owen's birth would be tainted by the loss of my dad. But you know what? It wasn't. This little bundle of perfect was exactly what we needed to get through the hardest days. Just having him settled on our chests made everything a little bit easier.
Grief is a funny thing. Some days are good, and some days I feel like it punches me in the face. I know that that is normal, and that we still have a long way to go on this journey. However, our grief gets to be balanced by joy, and that is something I am so thankful for. Sometimes things that shouldn't go together fit together perfectly.