Every night, Jason would call me on the ward and put his phone on speaker so I could listen in on the familiar, boisterous chaos. He'd put the groceries away while the boys squealed and shrieked over all the new cereals and bickered over which box to open first. They'd all try to talk to me at once and the dogs would start barking and someone would say "whoops" and Jason would say "get a paper towel" and I'd sit there on the other end of the line with a big grin on my face and tears in my eyes because I missed it all so much.
And then the ping of guilt, because I missed so much of it all. So many morning when I couldn't get out of bed to pour the cereal or scramble the eggs or kiss them goodbye before school. So many evenings when I was irritable and impatient and snappish, when whatever mess required the paper towel would be like, the last fucking straw. I'm done. I'm out. I can't deal with any of you right now.
(And then the vicious, downward spiral of guilt, because I'm a terrible mother/wife/friend and I'm failing and I suck and everything is bad bad bad and will always be bad bad and etc.)
Exhibit A, The Mental Process of Amy Corbett Storch
The boys knew I was in the hospital. We talked to them about depression and anxiety and the fact that people's brains can get sick just like the rest of their bodies. Mom's brain was trying to tell her to hurt herself, so the doctors and nurses at the hospital will keep her safe and find the right medicines to make her better.
(Thank goodness for Inside Out, by the way. I've referenced that movie a lot lately, even though I'm fairly sure re-watching it right now would utterly destroy me.)
They were ecstatic when I came home, though perhaps a touch disappointed that I hadn't brought them anything home from the hospital gift shop. And then everything went pretty quickly back to normal, from their perspective, at least. Mom went away, and then she came back. Okay.
(It's been a much tougher path back to "normal" for Jason, admittedly, since he was the only member of the family who didn't get to sleep through the more traumatic parts of the whole experience. I've offered him this space if he'd like to write about it or share his perspective, but he's not really ready yet. Completely understandable. Just know we're both taking good, patient care of ourselves and each other, and maybe he'll drop in with more of his story later.)
A few days ago, after serving Ezra his breakfast, he remarked that I must be feeling better. Because I made him eggs. "It makes me so happy when you make me eggs."
"It makes me so happy too, buddy," I told him.
And it's true, now, again.