It sits right on my chest. 

Where does it sit for you?

I have friends who report their stomachs, but that’s not where it is for me. It is right on my chest even in my throat. Strangling feeling. 

And I just want to lay in bed.

I remember this feeling. The feeling of waking up to a nightmare. I remember laying in bed for hours thinking that if I just lay here I can pretend it all away and maybe just maybe the precious gift of sleep will come again and I can forget for a bit.

It wasn’t that long ago. 

This Thursday it will be a year of feeling that way for a good 9 months. 

But it’s back.

Why?

I can’t tell ya. How I wish I could.

And the judgment of the WHY is just as crippling. I am disappointed in my own feelings. This should be a time of gratitude. How lucky we are! The idea that a year ago we would be here today. The idea that against some pretty steep odds Jacob would be running around outside out of the hospital, and that Benno would thrive during these circumstances felt laughable.

A ridiculous dream to dream.

But here we are.

I just wish I could feel it. And I wonder why all of the anxiety is back. Why now?

I try and talk to her, me a year ago, she is present in each step these last few days. I try to tell her. You will survive. While at the moment it is unclear if you can take another breath, you will take many, a whole year of them. You will be okay.

I see her so clearly. I remember every second of a year ago.

I remember Jacob falling asleep at NYU as he was inpatient for a constipation procedure. I was on my phone, flipping through some social media. Sure I was nervous about the next day’s procedure, but I felt the worse was over, the IV was put in and we can finally deal with this chronic constipation that has plagued Jacob since 1.5 years old.  Jacob was still so scared of that needle and even hours later refused to move that arm out of fear the needle would go further (even after explanation after explanation that the needle was no longer in his arm). Oh, how things change. Now Jacob gets a shot daily while playing on his iPad without a second thought.

Knock. Knock.

“Ms. Brody is your husband here?”

“He just left.”

“Is he far? Can he come back?”

I call Steve. I tell them he is wanted here. He and I both know this is not good. I hear him yell, “turn around” to the cab driver. I hang up.

And I sit.

I don’t cry. I sit.

All I can think about is the question: “Is Mr. Brody here?”

It wasn’t obvious that he would be just 7 months ago, when Steve was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. I almost even tell her this. “Maybe you should just tell me. What if he wasn’t here? Would you just tell me? Would you ask for my parent to come?” runs through my head.

And these are the thoughts for the last 3 days now. The moment playing over and over in my head. And more moments that follow. Moments I can’t even write about as understanding what was being said to us would take months to understand. Each day waking up and having to relearn.

And on this beautiful day when Jacob is busy washing cars, I can only think of where I was a year ago. I can only think of how possible it was that he wouldn’t be. 

My mind boggles Steve’s mind. He is brimming with gratitude and enjoying this time. 

He points out everything that is so right. It does help. It is nice to have some rational thoughts thrown in. Look at everything that has happened this year! “We are so so lucky and blessed.”

But can you tell the weight sitting on my chest and throat strangling me? 

It doesn’t seem to understand.

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