Fifteen minutes ago It was that day. The day I flew. The day I decided not to counteroffer on a house I really liked. The day I last heard “I love you so much.” The day I last shared a newspaper with anyone. I wonder when this day’s awareness will fade from my brain. When it will not feel both numbing and prickly at the same time. I wonder when I will stop replaying the next three days over and over again in my mind. Stop rehashing the feelings – anger, frustration, disappointment – all up until the moment I learned he was dead. Then I just stopped feeling and became nothing but a feeling all at the same time.
This week I found out that I don’t have cancer, which was very, very good news. I still must have surgery on my head, but it is not cancerous. I’ve never had to wait for any kind of pronouncement like that before. It is like a low-level hum that hovers around your peripheral vision. There’s nothing you can do in the interim, while waiting, which would or could make a difference. In a massive introverted fit, I’ve drawn in nearly every tentacle I have in anticipation of …what I don’t know. And then…
Right behind “There’s no cancer cells present” came the statement: “There will be some post-surgical deformity.” I just smiled and nodded.
I’m not sure what ‘deformity’ will mean. I already knew I’d have a lengthy and possibly prominent scar. I can tell you what ran immediately through my mind. “Will anyone ever love me again?” Why that is what ran through my mind I am not sure. There’s nothing wrong with me at the moment and no one loves me. I don’t normally think about that. I consciously quit thinking about that. Why then, did that rush unbidden into my thoughts? I swat it away like a particularly whiny mosquito. What’s love got to do with it, anyway?
My oldest daughter was in a four car pile-up recently too, and I rushed to the ER several counties away to be with her. People call her tough, followed by “…just like her mom.” But when I showed up, she finally cried and allowed herself to be the scared and shocked girl that she was. I looked at her, drawing near to thirty years of age, and thought of how young and fragile she looked in that bed. I absorbed how the bruising under her skin made the rest of her look impossibly pale and delicate. I felt anger like bile rise up in me towards the person who never even hit their brakes prior to plowing into her and two other cars. I swallowed that anger and used it for fuel to become the strong, the capable, the calming and soothing, the dependable. I brought comfort food snacks, ginger ale for upset tummy, and her favorite fruit yogurt. I donned motherhood in order to provide anchorage in a scary and worrisome place. Thanks to those friends who took my terse calls en route. But when I returned home late in the dark and quiet, there was no one for me to collapse into. So I collapsed further into myself. If I become a nesting doll set and suddenly find myself crawling inside of the tiniest one, what will that mean?
All of these fragmented things make me suddenly aware of my aging, of my mortality, of my impermanence – the fragile thread that keeps us connected to life. I am aware that I withdraw; wind up tightly like a coil and then sometimes go off into a spiral of sorts. Not that lethargic and leaden depression like I experienced after the death, but the swirling like a Tilt-A-Whirl come off its track. Suddenly sprung from where day in and day out it normally and safely whirled to the left, to the right and sometimes an entire circle or two. Nope, I get to flying and bouncing mentally; questioning everything and everyone. I feel at times like I am standing outside of myself and acting as questioner. I often argue with myself. Maybe I am becoming that loony lady that mutters and totters about in weird unmatched clothing. Wait, I was doing that before, so I can’t blame it on this!
The company that I work for was acquired as well, becoming a subsidiary of another, non-competitive local business. We’re told the status quo will continue until at least the beginning of 2016. What then? Who knows?
Over and again I think “…the best laid plans of mice and men.” (Thank you, Mr. Burns!) We know nothing about tomorrow, next week, a year from now. Yet we plan, we set goals, we placate ourselves that this will happen or that, never really knowing. If you think about it too long, you might just throw caution to the wind and say to hell with it all, I’m having donuts for dinner! Part of me thinks this is self-absorbed, one-dimensional angsty drama. The other part feels like even if it is such, I need to talk about it (errr, write about it?)
I am without home internet still, closing in on two months now – so I’m not out and about on WordPress or much of anywhere actually. I have Pinterest and YouTube withdrawals. I am still writing, but most of what I have written I have deleted. It rained nearly non-stop for the last month here, making escaping to the outdoors a no-go thing too.
Instead I have gone to visit my children and grand-children, helping them grocery shop, meal plan, and organize. How I am able to do that last bit is a complete mystery, but it has happened in their houses. I’ve read books, blown bubbles and issued discipline. I’ve doled out healthy fruit snacks and scolded my children for their food choices for their kids, all the while knowing that I didn’t set a very good example when I was a working Mom myself, coming as I did to a healthier way of living once they were mostly out of the house. I’ve laughed until I cried with the girls. I’ve listened to them cry and also to them talk nonstop. I’ve held little sweaty babies and toted them around on my hip until I was worn out, all while practicing my out-of-date “Mom” face to see if it still works. It isn’t quite as successful on the second generation I’ve learned
Now we have the potential hurricane bearing down upon us. I’ve made sure the kids are stocked, cars gassed up, a little money tucked in, water and non-perishables set aside. As for me, if things look dicey, I will load up the mutt and drive over to my parent’s place which is high and dry. At least it is never boring! Would I like boring? Mayyyybe
I will leave you with a song, a poem (by someone else) and a short..something (mine). Until next time, if you see a human Tilt-A-Whirl, just smile and say “Hi!”
First Aid Kit’s “Walk Unafraid” – check them out. This is the song I cannot stop listening to right now – it is often under my breath, along with “Summer Breeze” by Seals and Croft.
There is a Solitude of Space
There is a solitude of space
A solitude of sea
A solitude of death, but these
Society shall be
Compared with that profounder site
That polar privacy
A soul admitted to itself —
I think of you.
Bending and crafting your frame from the mold of my memory inventory. I give you an essence that brings life to something flat and not-mine.
Create other-worldly vignettes where we interact in ways that are probably absurd. I dip into my doppleganger world emotionally with you – nuances, and a personal scent that make my mouth water like a citrus spurt on my tongue.
I don’t know you; might not even really like you should I have to share time or space with you. But my body thinks that I could lick you from the back of my hand and be satiated for a very long time.
Sometimes I make up conversations from your mouth- wait, no; that is not true. I make up conversations of others that you are privy to and imagine what emotions you feel when you hear their words. Most often, there are few words when it comes to you.
You are a man made of the substance of the thoughts I think; like an emotional marionette that is nearly devoid of anything of your own. I don’t know enough for there to be anything there.
Your eyes. Your facial hair. Your efficient and brisk movements. You are the string of my imagination that I pick at, until you begin to fray into something fuzzy and ordinary.
Ordinariness; a word that belies the heat of my body when you are passing by and muffles the shouts of my heartbeat in my mouth. It categorizes you as a common thing.
You think nothing of me.