the smell of my desperation has become a stench

No, I wasn’t punched in the face, this is just what happens when I weep

The past three days have been a whirlwind of chaos, and this is honestly the first moment I’ve had since Monday to sit down and catch my breath. I had planned to sit down and write about this funny thing that happened at the grocery store the other night, but right now I’m just too sad to do it. And I’m sitting here trying not to cry because this afternoon I’m doing a taping with the local PBS station for a show that’s running tonight (see here), and when I cry my eyes swell and bloat to the size of a watermelon.

A couple of weeks ago my dear stepfather, the one who almost had me sentenced to death by firing squad for eating his last slice of bologna, was diagnosed with a lymphoma when they found a tumor the size of a football in his back. He started chemotherapy last week and has since been in and out of the emergency room for complications at least twice. I’m not quite sure how to explain my relationship with my stepfather, only that he is as important to me as my own father and has played such a significant role in Leta’s life. He is her Grandpa Rob, and she will carry with her the most amazing memories of sitting at his coffee table to put together puzzles. He has been the most indefatigable support for my mother throughout her busy career in Avon and has sacrificed many of his own ambitions so that she could be the success that she is. He is honest, stubborn, sometimes a total pain in the ass, but mostly he is the type of person who would throw his body in front of a bus if it meant helping you out in the tiniest possible way. He means everything to our family, and now we are all facing the unknown.

Suddenly I’m facing some very confusing feelings. I’m not going to get too much into that here, only to say that where once I had the Mormon religion to inform me, I’m here now without that safety net trying to piece some things together. Which I guess is a way of saying that I’m still trying to figure out what I believe. And I know that admitting that is going to open me up to all sorts of judgment, but I don’t think this makes me much different from a lot of people out there who are also trying to figure it all out. I don’t think I’m alone in saying, yeah, I don’t know, and I’m mostly okay with that. Sometimes, like right now, I’m not okay with that.

I do know that I love my stepfather deeply and want nothing more than for him to get better.

This week would also have been the 40th week of the pregnancy that ended in a miscarriage last October. Is it morbid that I remember the due date, will always remember the due date? Or that I am so incomprehensibly sad about it still? My life has changed so much since that horrible Wednesday afternoon, and Jon and I have had endless debates and conversations about our future and whether or not we should try for another baby knowing that I might have to go through that again. And if you want to know, we are still undecided. Every time I see someone who is pregnant I get a very weird feeling in my stomach, and I think it’s from a wild mixture of feelings, one of loss, one of hope, one of knowing that they are having a tremendously difficult time trying to roll over in bed at night and how exhausted they are in the morning, one of envy that they soon will meet that new little person in their life. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to see someone who is pregnant and not immediately feel my stomach turn a flip.

Right now I am just barely holding my shit together, and I know that I’ll be better to handle these feelings if I could just sleep through the night. I’ve had insomnia for three straight weeks, and my body is slowly collapsing. This may be one of those many instances when I head back to my therapist and say listen, I’m having a hard time, please help me climb this mountain.

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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