For Ike's birthday, we booked a pirate-themed tour of the glistening green sludge better known as Baltimore's Inner Harbor. It combined everybody's favorite things: Costumes, boats, water cannons, and birthday parties that don't involve cleaning my house.
It also involved pirate-themed temporary tattoos. I chose an appropriate skull-and-crossbones design while the girl applying the tattoos raved enviously about my oh you thought we were all overreacting didn'tcha Nolite te Bastardes tattoo. Then I pushed my sleeve up to my bicep and she spotted the semicolon.
"Oh!" she said quietly.
"Oh!" I said awkwardly. "That's...yeah."
We stared at each other in choked up silence for a minute before murmuring our respective whens and how long agos and she wiped my arm and pressed the tattoo down.
"We're so glad you're here today."
The first questions that fall out of people's mouths after you do Something Like That are usually along the lines of how could you and what were you thinking and don't you know that _____ (fill in the blank some variation on your worth/value/love/rich full life with so much to live for/etc.).
At the time I tried to answer all those questions, albeit with wholly unsatisfactory answers to anyone living outside of my very ill brain. I could attempt to explain the difference between wanting to end my life via a super-conscious, well-thought-out decision vs. what it was really like: Something more like being trapped in a malfunctioning self-driving car that's careening towards a cliff. And your seat belt has jammed and the manual override system can only be activated via a button in trunk and the car's robot voice is assuring you that this is all fine and normal so please sit back and enjoy the ride and also you're a worthless piece of trash, beep boop borp.
That's still not exactly right, but it's the closest I was ever able to come up with.
I had to remind myself of that tortured simile on Sunday, when the only questions that kept bubbling up in my brain were stuff like how could you and what were you thinking and oh my holy god, your children. The guilt was almost overwhelming and distracted greatly from my plans to spend the day focused on progress and healing and life and all that jazz. I cried a lot.
I also went a bread-baking class and made fancy rolls that looked like birds and a baguette that looked (unintentionally) like a snake. I let my children eat the lopsided birthday cake for dinner. It seemed only fair, given that I didn't bring them any bread.
One year down. So many, many more to go. And thank goodness for that.