The sun goes down. The stars slowly start to twinkle. It is quiet. But mostly, there is darkness.
It is night.
At night there are boogeymen and bad dreams and scary things lurking in dark corners waiting to come out. Night time means monsters under the bed and racing thoughts of all the bad things that might happen.
Since losing Calvin, I have had an overwhelming heaviness that something bad is going to happen to our family. Something else bad. It is a big giant, rotten watermelon sitting in my gut, eating away at my insides.
When I met with my therapist and told her of my irrational fears about something horrible happening to one of my daughters and how I just know I could never be able to deal with it, she reminded me that before this summer I probably thought I would never be strong enough to go through an experience like my pregnancy and loss of Calvin. She's right. I thought, and felt my shoulders instantly relax.
About twenty minutes later, on my drive home, the anxiety came back at about about two thousand percent. Wait a second. Maybe that's why this happened. Maybe that's why we lost Calvin. It was God's way of showing me that I'm a stronger person than I realize. What if it was His way of trying to prepare me for something even more devastating to happen? Immediately, all those terrifying scenarios of bad things that could happen to my two living children, filled my mind.
Mostly, I am able to keep worst-case scenarios at bay during the day. But at night? In the quiet and stillness and dark? They come creeping out of the shadowed corners.
My boogeyman is not of the under-the-bed-monster variety. My boogeyman slips into my mind and fills it with all the ways my children can get hurt. It reminds me that as much as I want to be able to protect them from everything bad, I can not, and there will be things in life that cause them hurt.
My boogeyman taunts me with visions of bruises turning into terminal cancer, school lockdowns, kidnappings, and things I can't even get myself to put down on paper. He encourages my imagination and tells me over and over that there is no rhyme or reason about bad things happening, that just because it feels like your family has been through enough, life just doesn't work that way. More bad things can come.
He slides toward the watermelon in my gut, injecting it with poison, making it bigger and heavier. Making sure I know that it is there. That my gut is telling me something is wrong. Something else is coming.
I want to say that I know it will all be okay. That everything is fine and it's just a mixture of anxiety and grief. But even today, with the sun streaming in and the girls playing on the floor at my feet, I can't say that, because I don't know. No one knows. Maybe there is something waiting around the corner, another journey that feels impossible to navigate, but maybe not.
I just don't know.
All I know is that at night, in the dark, my boogeyman is waiting.