I bought this gem of a journal on what was most likely the worst day of my life thus far. When it arrived two days later, I was asleep on the couch, a liquified ice pack arched and sticky across my eyelids. Anthony was home, post-call. He unwrapped the package and Cameron brought it to me, announcing, "Ma, your space woman journal's here."
From that moment on, I mentally refashioned myself Space Woman, with three responsibilities: 1. Give the kids great days, 2. Attempt to remain healthy myself since backup runs thin when you're catapulting directly into the sun, and 3. Here, in this journal, I would chart our survival as if reporting back to Mission Control. (Mission Control being God, but also Future Abbey, who would also know how this particularly scary voyage panned out.)
Somehow, I knew if I wrote what was happening to me and my dearest people in real time, if I attached words to the experience, I could keep a more level head. Today, I hate and love this full journal.
I hate every number in it (God, do I hate numbers): fever logs, symptom tracking for the pediatric rheumatologist, Covid case counts, important phone numbers, important dates, important addresses. God, do I hate this brand of Important.
But there's some good stuff, too. Some unquantifiable, marrow-of-life stuff. Some heart-wrenching gratitude lists. Some very angry, very entertaining letters to never be sent. And, best of all, notes from my conversations with Howie, Michael, and Pete. Undoubtedly, they would say something I'd never want to forget. No euphemisms, no fluff, no promises. Their words were my lifeboats, and always seemed to arrive just before we'd be tasked with dodging a new black hole. I honestly don't know what I would've done without their words.
One surprising thing, combing through it today: "Anthony" is seldom mentioned. I realize now, every "I" is actually a "we." All eyes glued on the asteroids, we lived in each other's peripheral -- separated, seat-belted, but gripping hands. And you can get through most anything like that, with three dear friends who always answer and always deliver, one steady hand to hold, and a good journal.