Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Day Twelve

I am doing what a new friend suggested. Instead of looking up Shar’s pics/writing/etc that wreck me at night I will do some more of my own writing laying in bed at 2 AM.

JJ is 12 days old and I have been without my baby girl for 12 days as well. That will always be weird, uncomfortable and a little ironic. From watching nieces and nephews grow old I’ve noted how at first you count using days and weeks. “She is 12 days old.” “He is 7 weeks.” At no other time is it the norm to keep track of time this way. Eventually we move to longer time measurements of months and eventually as most big boys and girls do, onto years. Whenever someone asks how old my little best friend is it will also be a countdown from the moment I said goodbye to his angelic mama. Over time when we switch to those longer time periods will the days not be numbing and nights hellish? I can’t say if I even would want that.
In our almost 10 years of marriage I think we literally spent 7 nights apart...total, Four nights in DC last year lobbying for the Earth. One or two nights to say good-bye to my grandma Decker in Arizona before she passed. One night sleeping over with my brothers playing video games. One night where Sharry went camping with a nature writing class. Twelve days is a new freaking record, by a long shot, tomorrow will beat that, and the next day will continue beating records until the days turn into weeks, into months and into years just like our baby boy JJ.

JJ is doing fabulously and will hopefully be out Wednesday or Thursday. Of course I had another rough day and even tougher night but there were sprinkles of goodness. NICU nurses. Amazing co-workers who visited and literally offer me a roof over my head. Two of my students, who I love and adore, have been anxiously waiting for baby news throughout the year came to meet JJ with their awesome mamas. Watched “the Bachelorette” with my mom and brother because Sharry and I used to love to do this (I even was running a fantasy league!). But tonight the horribly well done trashy tv just couldn’t hold my attention or any enthusiasm. Media in its myriad of forms tastes ashen...except for music. I used to have such zest and enthusiasm for great and terrible shows, movies, video games, news articles, books, etc. but for 12 days now I think I have watched 3 hours of tv, read like 40 pages in a book for widows, listened to no podcasts (I’m sure my queue is huge), checked the news zero times (I doubt I’ve missed much, I heard about Brexit from family and hope Bernie is still planning on the convention), played zero video games, and listened to hours and hours of music. Those are all definitely records too. All silly stupid things I did with Sharry. We read together almost every night, out loud together and independently in bed. Of course as many couples do we watched countless hours of all sorts of tv/movies, some inspiring and enthralling others kind of fun crap (The Bachelorette etc). Even video games Shar always said she preferred to some other possible hobbies because we can sit on the couch together while she writes/reads/Instagrams/creates and I fight baddies in virtual worlds. Of course she hated the violent types (not very Ahimsa) and would rather I be a creator like her but as long as we were sitting together it was good. I’m sure the flavor and enjoyment will gradually come back but do any of those things really matter?? To quote Sharry in one of her hidden Easter eggs
“No matter how easy entertainment is to access in this digital age, these are mostly distractions from real-life experiences. Of course, real life has a lot more struggle and hardship than easy entertainment, but it is this living, this living, this living- that gives us meaning.”

Man that was a big Bachelorette tangent! After the Bachelorette the sun was down and like clockwork darkness entered my mind and heart. But then three surprisingly great (with a lowercase g) things happened. I called a friend, while lying in the empty hospital parking lot, who has been reaching out...probably my last best pre Sharry friend and his words were incredibly comforting. At 11pm I told my friend goodbye because it was JJ feeding time. I went in to the NICU and Sharry’s sister was there holding JJ and I love surprise Buhanan sightings. Then the moment that has gave me the biggest smile in 12 days, our extraordinary NICU nurse taught me how to give a swaddle bath. JJ LOVED his little spa time, he was so adorable as he literally soaked it in with all the pleasure and contentment a 12 day old possibly could...I just hope Sharry was there seeing the magical moment.

Tomorrow is my half birthday and I just had a shared calendar update pop up on my computer “Jared’s ½ birthday bash.” My real birthday is December 29th which sucks and growing up I always wanted to switch to June but no family members would comply until I met Sharry. She happily skipped my December day and would throw amazing June 29th bashes. Hopefully she can help make it happen again by busting JJ out on his 13th day on Earth and my 33rd and a half.


  1. First of all, I wish I would have known about these swaddle baths when my babies were little, and kudos on catching those elusive baby dream smiles. I hope JJ can heal your heart with his pure love for you. I still can't imagine the daily roller coaster of emotions you go through. I live in the Buhanans ward, and I hope you know how many of us are keeping you, JJ and Sharry in our daily prayers and thoughts. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  2. Jared- I don't know if you remember but our youngest son, Wesley, was born on your birthday. He shares your dislike of having a December birthday and begs every year to celebrate his birthday in June. How sweet of Sharry to make this a reality for you. We'll have to do this for Wesley, especially since Marissa is getting married Dec 31. His birthday will really be forgotten this year. I hope you know what a great friend you were to Jared when he was little and how much I appreciated you giving him extra attention at church and elsewhere. Back then, he would always refer to you as his best friend. We are all hurting for you and keep you in our prayers. Little JJ is lucky to have you as his dad. I have no doubt you will be the best dad a boy could hope for.

  3. "Over time when we switch to those longer time periods will the days not be numbing and nights hellish? I can’t say if I even would want that.: <--- TRUTH.
    You don't want the hurt to necessarily stop bc it's a sign of having loved them so much. Pain is the price of love and always equal to its proportion. Embrace it! It's therapeutic and never push those emotions to the side. Accept them and validate them. The only way out is through-- that is what I've learned about the painful grieving process and it has been so valuable. Your tears are honoring that person and they are precious!

  4. Jared - you don't know me, but I work at Intermountain Medical Center in the Radiology Dept., I was the one that went back to check on U're little guy when he was getting his MRI. Your story is nothing like I have ever heard! Your willingness to pour out your heart & soul and expose those very vulnerable feelings is truly "Admirable"! Your story has affected so many people that goes "Way Beyond" what's imaginable!! I want you to KNOW I have been praying for you & your beautiful son... I also have put your name and his in the Temple. MANY are praying for you - here and also on the other side of the veil! PLEASE KNOW without a SHADOW of a DOUBT your Beautiful Baby Girl is With you! There are Angels among us each & every day.... Keep talking to her, ask your Father in Heaven to allow for Heavenly manifestations... You'll start Seeing them all around you! I call them the Lords "Tender Mercies". Much Love goes out to you & your Precious baby boy.... Cheryl Brown

  5. Decker, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. Life hasn't been easy, or fair. And you've experienced about the worst thing possible, something none of us will hopefully. But you have been such a good example of how to handle tragedies and hardships. I know should any of us go through anything like this, I think we would be more prepared- if that's possible. Everyday we look forward to hearing your news and your thoughts, hang in there!