I just realized today, on April 10th, that Liam's five year fontanniversary was five days ago. I missed it completely. That day upon which so much was hinged and a week after so much became unhinged was pivotal in Liam's survival and near-loss. It was the bridge we waited three years to cross. Literally, for years it was called "the bridge to transplant" when in reality it was the detour away from transplant. It was monumental, and five years later I forgot. Thank God!
I didn't write my book for catharsis because I thought I was already there. I forgot the Fontanniversary last year too before I was far into writing Half Heart, Whole Life. I forgot his Fontempt anniversary, six years, this February. I forgot about the Glenn, and I let these terrible memories slip my mind year after year lately. That's a good thing. I'm not hung up on those moments anymore, but the book did help, unintentionally. Mostly, the five year anniversary that's two days from now has lost some of its bite because I've taken hold of it and decided what I want to take from it. That part of writing the book was empowering and meaningful.
You've already read about that bad day, it's Chapter One, and it wasn't the Fontan on April 5th but the infection disaster on April 12th. April 12th was not the terminus of months of paralyzing anxiety. April 12th just happened and it was worse and better than the surgeries in its sneak-attack quality. It was easier to bear the oncoming since it was sudden and brief, but the fall-out of nearly losing my child was more violent with no time to prepare. There's never been a surgery, not even a simple cath that didn't bear the risk of losing my child, but April 12th of 2006 was as close as we'd come since May 12th of 2003 to that reality.
I know what hangs over our heads. I never go easily into an ultrasound room. Even now, just a few weeks ago I watched Liam's heart on the screen and I knew what I saw. I watched the vacant room inside his chest, like a tiny forgotten closet that would have been his right ventricle when the tech showed it to Liam. I could see the effects of surgery and the cause for all of it. I saw with my own eyes that Liam's mitral valve was regurgitating without ever being told.
In these eight years, I've learned how to read the screen and the faces in the room with me. I know the deepest meaning of the term "cautious optimism," because it's the tone that colors my life.
So, I am cautiously optimistic that I'll keep forgetting those days of worry and woe, and I'm glad I wrote the book when I did so that what mattered from those moments, the lessons to how to tend to a garden of cautious optimism are preserved. More than anything, I'm pleased to be practicing what I've preached. I'm so blessed in deed.