When Half Heart, Whole Life was still titled Informed Consent, the prologue was about my neighbor's suicide on April 27, 2002, nine years ago tonight. It was a Saturday, and I was working on my thesis (which I finally finished last year and then graduated last May). I stayed up all night watching a real life CSI scene from my office window.
The relevance to my book was that, exactly one year later, I checked into a labor and delivery ward and was then induced to deliver Liam. Eight years ago tonight, it was a Sunday, I fell asleep childless for the last time, and I woke up the next morning when my water broke. Death and life and the intense and precarious balance on the edge all tied together with spring weather and a seemingly random date.
I took the prologue out and just use that incident as an anecdote to underscore how cyclical it all is. Half Heart, Whole Life is very different from the first drafts of the book because it changed from a retelling of seemingly random but somehow connected events to a tapestry of grief and acceptance. The texture of the book has made it more absorbing and meaningful, and I don't miss the prologue. It didn't work for the readers, and books are for readers not writers. The book is how we connect to each other.
Still, here we are nine years after a death and eight years after the beginning of a birth. We've covered so much ground as a family, so much fear and so much hope to get to here today. It is a Wednesday, and I am not watching the aftermath of a suicide, not anticipating the birth of my first child whose survival is in question.
It is Wednesday, April 27th, and I am sitting with my husband on a couch while my two children, with their own lives and interests, entertain themselves during "no-TV week." It is a Wednesday and the only excitement in my home comes from the little boy who's been eying the boxes wrapped in Spider Man paper and waiting eagerly for this day to come and end, without meaning or relevance. This ordinary Wednesday is simply the last day standing between Liam and turning eight, between gifts, and cake. He doesn't care about April 27th, he's too excited about the 28th.
Happy birthday to my little boy, who still believes in the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy and who sees nothing extraordinary about the ordinary, misses his TV, and is just like any other soon to be eight-year-old boy. Tonight is just a Wednesday and when I wake up on Thursday, my world will probably not have changed at all. That fact and the simplicity that surrounds me right now is more miraculous than any of the drama I've known over the past nine years.
Wishing everyone on the A-Team the most boring April 27th you've ever had and the capacity to appreciate how truly extraordinary the ordinary really is.