I had been dreaming of her the whole time I was asleep, I think. There were these hazy flashes of days long gone; in which she was healthy and full of life, never slowing down to breathe – never really having learned to make any time for herself, always talking until the minute she fell asleep. She was always one of the most unpredictable people in my life, good –bad – or otherwise. I was dreaming of how her incredibly long hair smelled when I was small, and would cling to her neck for the time she’d hold me, which was never long enough in my recollections. I was dreaming of being in total awe, watching her rub “cold cream” into the soft skin covering her sharp cheekbones in the wallpapered bathroom on Skylark Drive. The mint green soap dish I don’t think she ever cleaned once. I dreamed of her ever-present, and accurate, self-comparison to the Princess from the Princess and Pea. I even dreamed vividly and randomly of the vacuum running at 11pm when she was manic…which reminds the waking me of the total absence of any sound other than her snoring coming from her bedroom when she crashed and got depressed. But this morning, I was dreaming of her voice and her smile and her OCD quirks that I always knew I’d miss the instant they ceased. It was the second time I have slept in my own bed at home since whenever it was that she was taken by ambulance to ER with the fever, and I was actually sleeping (dreaming). Oddly, there was already some conscious piece of my mind that was begrudgingly aware of the fact that I would soon have to awaken, so there was some hazy and sleepy hesitancy and disgruntlement already present when my phone started ringing loudly in my ear and woke me from such things.
Let me say this:
Never, have I been yanked from snuggly sleep in the early morning hours by anyone, especially ringing me in my ear on the phone, with an even remotely positive response…until this morning.
The voice on the other end of the line was my Mama’s; not the fever ravaged, brain damaged Mama, either, but My Mama.
I’m stunned in total wakefulness…
It’s her voice; the words are spoken with so much gusto and her tone is so calm and genuine; it’s an instant comfort to my heart when I hear it. I honestly feel like it’s been a long time since Life has allowed things to feel as okay as they did during that moment for me…the Gods have given us a little more time together, maybe one last Christmas…maybe not – but she’s stepping down from ICU now and they’ve got most of her problems stabilized, but not all. She’s not out of the woods yet by any means, but she’s alive… and not pissed off about it. On the contrary, she’s starting to come back around to her normal state of mind and perceptive awareness; she has a good grasp on the severity of her condition. Her platelets are still very low, as well as her oxygen levels; but she ate real food today and got out of her bed briefly. She became exhausted by this exercise though, so I don’t think she’ll be doing that again yet. I just hope she continues to improve. Yesterday I was hoping that she would just remain stable. The day before that, I was hoping that they wouldn’t have to give her a blood transfusion or intubate her again. and two nights in row before that, I mean it when I say that I was hoping nothing more than that if the Gods took her then, that they wouldn’t make her suffer much more – but more often those nights, my energies were focused on simply maintaining Life in her dying body.
Several days ago, when she woke up with a start at random, when she began to come of her catatonic-esque state, she had lost all the time in between the present and the night she went to sleep (the day that I last saw her before the fever struck that welcomed pneumonia). She sat bolt upright and gasped at me through her face mask something like,
“It’s okay, don’t be sorry, it’s okay Honey, stop apologizing…”
She was staring into my eyes with a hollowed, searching gaze saying things like that. Later, when she was “awake” for a breathing treatment, she told me that she’d been sure I was kneeling at her bedside, begging her forgiveness; but, I hadn’t been. For a while, this bugged me after she fell back asleep until I realized that she was mentally still in the ER at the hospital the ambulance had dropped her off at initially. I did kneel beside her bed (more like a short table than a bed) there; when I first got there and saw her it was just my reflexive response, I didn’t even think about being in the way of the people trying to stabilize her or anything, I just felt so horrible that she was so sick so suddenly, I was so shocked by her condition, I was truly sorry at that moment. And I did tell her at her bedside that I was so sorry, I desperately begged her forgiveness and kissed her hand.
I quickly pulled myself together though, realizing that she needed me to be strong right then, not some blubbery child. It was just funny to me that she had heard me and understood the context of what I was saying and how I was feeling; this was during what had to have been the closest to death that she has ever been thus far in her time alive. She couldn’t see or move, she was in delirium; but she received my apologies and she felt my concern for her. That’s pretty amazing to me. She is getting better on her loss of days too, so her confusion is dissipating also. I’m not expecting anything from her, one day and night at a time is how the cookie crumbles this Christmas. Which isn’t good and isn’t bad; it just has to be like that.
Last weekend, my Mother called me up and said she needed to come over so I could look at her neck (as if I am some kind of professional on mysterious growths, or something). She arrived earlier than she said she would, as she tends to do these days, a look of sheer terror on her face. Upon looking at her neck, I was immediately concerned, as she has grown a notably large lump on the lower right side of her neck, near the collarbone. We obviously didn’t talk much about it, and she proceeded to make an appointment for a biopsy; that appointment is today. I will be driving her to this appointment today because she asked me to; and in all honesty, I feel like I wouldn’t miss it for anything in the world.
Anyone who reads me, knows about my deeply embedded Mommy Issues that reside within my heart and mind, stemming from childhood and very much alive and well to date. A few months ago, I decided that because the Holidays are so incredibly horrendous and ugly for me, and because they are so extremely difficult to get myself through alive each year, that I will do something different this year. I basically feel tired of spending my holidays alone, in the fetal position underneath the dining table, in tears, beating myself to an emotional pulp through with guilt and regret and failure. I have written also about the Hell that my offspring is currently putting my parents through, resultant of their own enabling behaviors towards her throughout her life. My mom claims to feel like a hostage in her own home etc. Needless to say, I can totally relate to what she says in regard to my daughter; I have so been there with her in the past as well.
So, in a moment of frozen brain capacity, I said to Willow:
“Let’s start a new tradition this year for Christmas, just you ‘n me…”,
completely expecting her to laugh in my face at such a proposal.
When she actually showed interest in my idea, and I explained to her what I had in mind for my own part (a quiet, peaceful, nostalgic, quaint Bed ‘n Breakfast in the heart of Gold Country for Christmas Eve and Christmas), she was so excited and intrigued that she actually asked me to take her online for a virtual tour (she hates the internet and anything even remotely associated with it), which I did. We have, since that time, hammered out every minute detail of our upcoming holiday excursion together; and I must say that it feels like it has been a healthy form of bonding, somehow. I even got her a snow suit and boots that she already wears at night when she goes outside in the cold to smoke and play Mahjong until 0-dark-thirty, it’s cute. And in all truth, this year’s holiday feels much less painful already, as a result of the above described circumstance.
I am cursing the Gods for even putting that lump on Willow’s neck, whatever it may turn out to be; and I am secretly terrified by the possibility of losing my mother now, at this stage of things in my own Life (or lack, thereof). When I was still very actively suicidal (the state of my being upon starting my blog in the first place), Willow used to guilt-trip me into Life often. She would say things like,
“If you love your Mama at all, you won’t leave me in the wake of another lost child…”
“What would happen to me if you killed yourself?”
Naturally, being the empath that I am, these statements always struck that chord in me that connects somehow directly to my dead little brother (who committed suicide very young); and the reality of such things would always anchor me once more to Life. I know she wasn’t even necessarily trying to save me from death, but she did. When I think about the prospect of her being gone after all those times of refraining from suicide simply to avoid destroying Willow the rest of the way, as her daughter and then I think about being left behind in the end, after all, well….my abandonment issues flare up and I become semi-manic.
In the dark I smiled as his sleepy voice said,
that he wanted to kiss my toes to my head,
that he wants to stay here all day with me in bed,
no, not to have sex, but just hold me instead;
In the past he crafted 3,000-mile-long words,
that he was most certain would never be heard,
that were perpetually in vain, his brain was assured,
no, like a boomerang they’d return again, undeterred;
In the same exact spaces of time, never mind,
that I searched for words to fall out of the sky,
that I oftentimes spied the dimmest flash of light,
no, it was gone before I wiped the tears from my eyes;
In the sunshiny rays that warmed my face,
was the thawing of ancient gears frozen in place,
was the gnawing of rope til the final thread gave,
was the spawning of hope with the dawning of days.
“All human wisdom is summed up in two words; wait and hope.”
“Extreme hopes are born from extreme misery.”
“Beware how you take away hope from another human being.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
“The Wise are silent, the Foolish speak, and the children are, thus, led astray.”
“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”
~ Martin Luther King, Jr
Fucking profound….just sayin’.
My thoughts seem to go,
from climbing high – to dropping low;
no change is made to the present, though,
and the present moment drags my heart below…
like a leaf blowing by,
slowly on the other side,
of the locked and barred window;
so many ups falling back down,
my very nerves coming unwound;
all that I hear is the drumming sound,
it’s my heart as the parts slowly shut down…
nothing holds any promise,
the darkest hours upon us,
these unwinding and unraveling sounds.
The evening ends…
That help us pretend…
No closer to them…
Of our salvation. ..
In all that I am…
Do not let them win…
Keep faith unbroken…
The knot will strengthen. ..
Past the horizon…
The skirmish begins
“Hey…don’t write yourself off yet…it’s only in your head you feel left out, or looked down on…
Just do your best, do everything you can…and don’t you worry what the bitter hearts – are gonna say.”
“The instant that we drop the Hope, we lose everything we ever could have been.”
I’d like to drag an index finger across my fully recovered throat for the most recently discovered Diamond in the Rough, and very celebrated newest member of the growing Cut-Throat Club Online – a place where the spirit of the struggling Survivor is acknowledged in full.
The following is an excerpt is from her blog; in my opinion, this small piece of her written thoughts – this snapshot of her brave struggle – bleeds the essence of the survivor for whom I hold the utmost appreciation and respect. This excerpt is a testament to her status of what I consider to be the epitome of a truly “cut-throat” soldier of the survivor clan – and I’m proud to welcome her talented presence into the club.
The first thing that caught my eye on her blog:
“I have borderline personality disorder, but I am not my diagnosis. I am a loving, sweet and kind person. I want to help others, I want to explore the world and make people happy.”
The piece that sealed her fate as a “Cut-Throat”:
“….The few months following her death were a blur, I guess I went to classes, I have the degree to prove I did. My heart wasn’t in it, my head wasn’t in it. I isolated myself, angry at every one. What’s the point of even leaving this bed if every one I love will leave me? I longed to lay down in the dirt where she was left, for two weeks, I longed to somehow drift away into a peaceful death where I could be with her.
It’s been a little over six months and it’s not easier, but it is different. I ache for her every morning when I wake up. I dream she’s still with me, before my rational brain screams “she’s dead” in my ear and I’m woken up with a jolt. The abandonment is real, there is only loss, but I’m learning to love and cherish the good. I’m learning to use my grief to motivate my own life….”
I’m so very glad to welcome:
Miss “Inconsistently Yours”
Surviving like a Soldier over at: