Friday, February 23, 2018

Her Name Was Chloe

I was talking tonight to my son about his birth.  He wanted to know details and so I told him his story.  And then, he and I got to talking about the birth of the twins, his older siblings, his sisters for so many years.  When we described them at birth and things about them in their early years, he and I both wavered between calling Chris by his birth name, Chloe, calling that child of our memories by her birth name, the name we knew her as in those times, the person she was ... Chloe ... or calling her Chris.  Back then, she was Chloe, yet, he and I, both, replaced her name with Chris several times ... "When Chloe, I mean Chris, was born ..."  We did this mindlessly.  We didn't acknowledge that the other was doing it, but I caught the times we each wavered.

You can't have this sort of discussion, have these moments when you find yourself switching a person's name, and not ponder on the oddness of it, ponder on the correctness or incorrectness of it, ponder on the truth of it, even ponder some on the frustration of it.

Her name was Chloe, and referring to her when she was a baby, or even up through High School, as Chloe, seems correct, and, yet, out of respect, out of habit, out of relearning ... we both renamed her, for Chris, while talking about her.

There was a time through this journey where I would not have hesitated to call her Chloe, not given it a thought - even been adamant about it.  There was a time when my greatest fear of all was losing her, leaving her behind, never to be known, spoken of, seen, felt, alive again.  It is something I feared and cried about.  It is something I fought, internally and externally, not to happen.  I learned, eventually, through time, through multitudes of thought, through hours of prayer and months of experience and years of living that Chloe was never going away ... she was simply changing.  I've written in this blog about those days I turmoiled over this issue and subsequent days when the situation, and I, somehow reconciled fears and sadness into acceptance and happiness.  Somehow, through giving her the freedom to be who she needed to be, I learned to change her name and leave the name Chloe behind.

Tonight, I tell myself to know that I am right calling that baby Chloe, because Chris has said, himself, that it was she, that little girl, that toddler, that teenager that carried him for so many years, with abundant strength and persevering conviction to get him to where he needed to be.  Without her, I know, he would not be the amazing person he is today.

But ... while my son and I spoke of Chloe as a baby, of details of her birth and young life, I spoke easily, without sadness, without fear, without agitation, and, yet, as I sit here, several hours later and write, I have had moments of longing.  Not sadness, really - not regret that I will never know her as a young woman or mother, as a girl, as I once fraught over.  The longing, I believe, is the reality that I've let her go.  In so many ways, she was another person with a future that will never be known - not her future.  And, so, it is sort of the feeling of death, in a way.  Yet ... from her, Chris was born.  And I wouldn't choose to lose Chris for anything in the world.

If I could have had both, Chloe and Chris?  Would I choose that?  Or, knowing what I know now, given the choice, would I have allowed his life to evolve as it has, to where he is now?

I believe Chris would not be who he is now, the person who has experienced struggling, pain, trauma, sadness, lessons, insight, empathy, compassion, trust, love, brilliance, fortitude, kindness, fear, loneliness, determination, ambition, humility, integrity, friendship, companionship, direction, bravery ... at the level and abundance he has, if he had known another path in his life.  And, because he has gone through so much and is surviving and thriving because of and in spite of this difficult journey, I would choose Chris and allowed his life to evolve.  It sounds like it would be "easier", maybe, to choose to have them both, selfishly believing that having them both would fulfill something in me, allow me to not feel sacrifice, maybe.  But ... I have not sacrificed.  And, Chris's journey has not been only his own.  I've been there.  I've lived it.  Much of what he has experienced and learned, I have as well.  And he's taught me many things.  He's taught thousands of people many things.  He was, for whatever divine reason, meant to travel this difficult path and take me and so many others on this journey with him.  I would choose Chris's journey.

And, fortunately, I was never given that choice, and ... I didn't have to choose, after all.  I'm one of the lucky in this life to have known and loved them both.  Her name was Chloe, and because of her I now have Chris ...

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