There was always something about saying goodbye to C. that made me feel so ancient. It was a weight that pulled me down. If I sat around in a room of eighty year olds, I would feel like I was the oldest person in the room.
This is not something that has slipped away from me. I still feel old. After 30-odd years on this planet, I suppose most people would consider me in the tail-end of my youth. But I just feel old.
I don't know if or when I will shake this feeling. Perhaps it is something that I will just grow into. Instead of feeling old, I will just be old. Who knows?
Recently, I was listening to Stuart McLean read a Vinyl Cafe story. In it, a 40-something Morley is asked to stand up for her friend's second marriage. The friend has a 20 year old daughter who is horrified at the idea of her mother marrying a younger man. Morley recognizes the "confidence of youth" in the daughter's self assured dislike of the marriage.
It was this phrase that struck me. Frankly, I think this is what I am missing - this is what I lost in January 2005. I lost the confident arrogance that fuels the spirit of the young. It was this loss that left me feeling like a wrinkled, withered up old shell.
During my pregnancy with C, I distinctly remember feeling irritated by those who wished us luck. I was appalled that these people would imply that anything bad could possibly happen. I took prenatal supplements and read about the "right" way to be pregnant and went to the breastfeeding class and avoided soft cheeses. I did everything right. I believed I knew how the story went. I believed there was only one ending.
I remember feeling a certain envy for my great-grandmother in those early days after C. died. She had at least 2 children die before their second birthday. However, she would have had a much better sense of infant mortality than I did. She was a European immigrant who was homesteading in the middle of the Canadian prairies, with the nearest neighbour miles away. There was an understanding that every pregnancy is risky - for both the mother and the unborn infant. That isn't the world we live in - we live in a world where tragedy is defined as not getting the crib linens we want.
I regret being so over-confident in my youth and I regret losing that confidence, both at the same time. I see young people around me all the time; I hear what they say. They see nothing but opportunity in the world and they have all the answers. I would have liked the lose that with the passing of time. This way was impossibly hard.