Asher has been feverish this week, and I've been a nervous wreck. He's doing okay--the doctor at Urgent Care (the first doctor he's ever seen in his life) thinks it's just a cold; his ears are fine, his lungs are clear, etc. I should be relieved, and a good portion of me is, of course, but I find myself catastrophizing the situation, thinking of all the horrible things that could happen to him. I did this to some extent when Arin and Hannah were little (I remember having awful obsessive thoughts about accidentally stepping on Arin with ice skates when he was a new baby) but it seems worse this time around. I have become a real germaphobe, freaking out inside if someone coughs near him or touches his hand and he puts his hand in his mouth before I can wash it. I want to keep him safe and healthy and happy and it makes me crazy that I can't protect him from everything, that all it takes is a tiny little bug breathed in at a supermarket to wreak havoc.
Of course I realize that this is coming from dealing with the utter chaos of my mom's death (and the weeks preceding it, which were also chaotic and scary as her delusions got progressively worse). I find myself wanting to keep things as simple as possible now. My nerves are still so raw, so blasted open, and I cringe at the thought of any further upheaval (plus it breaks my heart to think of Asher suffering in any way.) I have never been the type of person who wants to be in control--I have always been more of a go-with-the-flow gal--but right now I want to be in charge, be a superhero, keeping germs and other mayhem at bay with the force of maternal fierceness. And I know there is little I can do but remember to wash our hands. We are ultimately so small in the face of the world, a fact which often gives me comfort, but which also sometimes creates a hole for me to fall into.
Suicide of course is an attempt at control. A way of choosing one's own fate. It's been hard today to hear about the suicide of Alexander McQueen (my daughter's favorite designer) especially because he chose the same method of killing himself--hanging--as my mom. I imagine his death was more premeditated than my mom's, which appears to be have been an act of desperation, in a parking garage far from home, but it's similar enough to give me chills (and the fact that he did it so closely after his own mother's death gives our stories a strange connection, as well. Not that I have felt suicidal since her death--if anything, I feel more of a mandate to LIVE, as fully and openly as possible now.) There is so much pain in the world, and ultimately the desire for control leads to more pain, I believe. But how can we not want to keep our loved one's safe? How can we not do whatever we can to keep chaos at bay for as long as we're able? We offer infant Tylenol, offer a breast. We whisper and sing words of comfort. We pace the floor for hours. We wait for the fever to break.