Danae and Zane are crossing the ocean now at 36,000 feet. The pilot has put the plane on auto-pilot.
I’m waking up. I’m putting Lyol on the toilet. I’m wiping his butt. I’m smiling when Lyol offers, ‘Daddy crying? Here you go Daddy. Drink some water.’ I’m giving him his vitamins. I’m dressing him. I’m getting him breakfast. I’m forcing myself to eat a little, even though I don’t feel like it. I’m going to work.
I’m thinking of what I want to tell Danae when I get back to the house. Then auto-pilot kicks off and I remember that she’s not there anymore. I prefer auto-pilot.
I’m smiling and talking to staff, patients, families. I’m saying fine when people ask how I’m doing. I’m treating patients. All of this I can do without switching on my brain.
A baby cries. Auto-pilot comes off. I’m alert. I’m looking for Zane. Oh, right. He’s not here. He’s sick and on his way home. Home? Where’s home? Isn’t home where I am? This is too much thinking. I’m more comfortable on auto-pilot.
I take Lyol out to the garden to help me water plants. We go on a walk.
A baby laughs. Auto-pilot comes off. I’m alert. I’m looking for Zane. Oh, right. This happens again and again. It’s just so much easier on auto-pilot.
I thank Lyol when he offers me toilet paper to blow my running nose and wipe my tearing eyes. I give him a bath. I put on his diaper. I put on his pajamas. I read him a book.
Then I finally see him, really see him. Auto-pilot comes off. I squeeze him. I tell him I love him. I pray with him. I lay in bed with him, exhausted, yet unable to sleep.
Seriously? There are so many stronger, braver, more deeply-rooted people that could handle this. Not me.
I pick up toys. I shower. I brush my teeth. I walk back to my own bed. I’m back on auto-pilot. I like it this way.
Don’t ask me how I’m doing. What do you expect me to say?