Ways of the Force

This was originally published to Tumblr, before this website existed.

For better or worse, as long as I can remember, my brain has had what I think is a really weird, and often uncomfortable, habit.

When I’m presented with a situation, be it personal, professional or somewhere in between, my brain kind of “snaps” to the closest example of this situation that I’ve seen in a movie.

A good example of this is when I was 16 and my grandpa passed away. For the entire month after he passed away, all I could think of was a very particular scene from Star Wars.

It goes on and on, to the point that my therapist does it when explaining things to me.

Oh yeah, so you’re the Luke in that situation.

Earlier this Summer, for the first time in maybe my entire adult life, I was presented with something that my brain didn’t have a reference for. It felt like a car failing to start. I could feel the ignition click but it never turned over.

We were pregnant.

After years of fretting, giving up, trying again and nearly giving up again, we’d done it. On July 2, I was on a conference call and Audra came out of the bathroom, within range of my webcam, screaming and crying. A couple of close friends from my office who knew we were trying were on the call and it was incredible to be able to share that with them.

We heard the baby’s heartbeat for the first time on July 23. It didn’t even seem real, or possible. I couldn’t even stand up. There was no movie for that.

Through sheer coincidence, I read a trilogy of Star Wars books this summer that take place while Princess Leia is pregnant. I read about her “feeling the babies” through the Force. I read about her reassuring them, spiritually, and trying to let them know that despite the state of things in the outside world, they were safe with her.

And I’m not ashamed to say, I did the same. I focused so much positive energy at our little one. So much love and care, just trying to send out whatever positive energy into the universe would help.

As the old saying goes, I’d piss on a spark plug if I thought it would help.

That was a pride like I’d never felt. No matter what happened, one way or the other, this little soul had done it. It had carried on when up to that point, no other had.

And this month, I’ve experienced another new sensation that I did not have a reference for. Over the course of several weeks, our pregnancy began to fail until finally, very early this morning, it ended.

My brain tried really hard to grab something. People becoming one with the Force. The king of Rohan burying his son. Hamilton and Eliza losing Phillip.

But this isn’t quite that. Comparing this to losing a child you’ve come to know and love is different in a way that is both a blessing and a curse.

You were never given that chance because that story never started.

For whatever reason, if there is one, that story wasn’t meant to be told.

After my Uncle Eddie passed away last year, we were helping clean up his house and found the last movie he’d watched: Alien.

For the unitiated, Alien is a horror movie from the late 70′s disguised as science fiction, largely centered around a very badass, capable woman named Ripley trying to protect her ship and her crew from, as the title suggests, an Alien. Over the course of the series, Ripley becomes a fierce protector and mother figure in an otherwise inhospitable universe.

We had a name. We’d thrown around others, even going so far as to label them boys’ names and girls’ names but we both knew the truth. That baby was Ripley and the gender didn’t matter.

We packed up their diapers and clothes today, placed them in their room and closed the door. That stuff is not going anywhere and we may even end up needing it one day.

For now, that’s as far as Ripley’s story goes.

I have my own feelings about what could have been and for the moment, that will have to be enough.

And I do have a reference for that.