Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Healing Atlas

My arms are outstretched in supplication and my legs bent at strange angles. My back is bowed from the strain of trying to hold up things that seem intent on crumbling down. I yearn to shrug it all off. Strange then, when the burden is lifted, even momentarily.

Unspoken needs mysteriously met by those who could not possibly know the concerns that I hold in my heart. The three stray kittens and their mama cat who adopted us a few months back were given a bag of kitten food...just as their food bin contained little more than crumbs. A "new-to-me" shirt was wordlessly offered...just as my own clothes grew too frayed to be considered "work clothes" any longer. A stack of extra coupons was handed over to me the day before I planned to go to the store to see just how far I could make the food budget stretch.

Little things, to be sure...but things that strengthen my resolve, that make me carry on. Because I am a strong believer in carrying on.

Juno a/k/a "June Bug"
I sat on the porch last night and watched the kittens stalk one another amidst the blowing leaves, pouncing on one another and learning the life skills necessary for a cat. Whenever things got too loud and scary, they ran under the shrubs or up onto the porch...they went to the places they call home. Suddenly, I felt so lonely. Loneliness looms around me like a sickness.

I remember as a child being sick at times and being promptly tucked into bed, the television on low, a cold drink nearby, and a pile of books...oh, the pile of books!. Sometimes, I might be treated to a mug of hot lemonade with honey to help soothe a sore throat, or a heating pad to ward of the chills. Every few hours the door would open, and a cool hand would gently feel my forehead for fever. It was enough to make me want to prolong the malady a bit longer...if only for the respite...the ability to make things stop for a few have time to heal.

I need some time to heal now. But there is no one to bring me hot lemonade or to smooth my hair away from my face. Or rather, no on thinks to do it. Perhaps this is an "adult" is presumed that once you are an adult you no longer need to be tended to or cared for in the same way you were as a child. Rubbish.

I need it. Too often I tuck my needs away. Too often I push them down and carry bravely on. But today I will confess, I do not feel brave. I do not want to carry on bravely. Instead, I want to curl up in my reading chair, with a warm blanket and a good book. I want to drink hot lemonade with honey, and I want to lose myself for a while.

And if someone thought to smooth my hair or place a cool hand against my face...well, that might help with the healing.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


There are days when everything shifts.  Your world spins on its axis, and you hang on…unsure when it will stop or how long you can defy the centrifugal force and remain standing.  Sometimes it is a phone call, a letter, or an email.  It might be a knock at the door late at night.  Perhaps a left turn when you so clearly should have chosen right. 

It doesn’t really matter what the thing is; the point is that it is sufficient to take your breath away.  The point is that you have to keep breathing. 

Life does not stop after we are dealt such a blow; bills still have to be paid, children need to be fed; kittens still mew at your feet; laundry does not wash itself…

You still have to eat, try to sleep…and retain your strength; because you will need it.  It is hard work holding together a shattered world.  It is hard work sorting through thoughts.  It is hard work maintaining some normalcy while finding your footing. 

And breathe.  For the sake of all that is good in this world, remember to breathe.  Deep breaths, nausea quelling breaths, tear allaying breaths.  Definitely breathe.

Drink tea.  Lots of tea…whatever kind you prefer, it does not matter.  A good Doctor once said, “Tea!  That's all I needed!  Good cup of tea!  Super-heated infusion of free-radicals and tannin, just the thing for healing the synapses.”  Whether it is true or not, it made me smile, so I am including here, in case it makes someone else smile.  And I do like a nice cuppa.

There are days when words seem to have no meaning anymore, or perhaps their meanings have simply shifted beyond recognition, and you no longer know what to think, how to interpret.  Days when the words seem to jumble and shout and echo long after they were actually spoken.  Words that haunt.

Everyone has at least one of these days, at some time or another.  Today is my day.  Today is my day to muddle through somehow.  Today is my day to curl up with a cuppa.  Soon, it will be my night to lie in bed and stare into the dark. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Big Questions

The past few weeks have been exhausting.  Among the questions my kids (ages 6, 7, and 9) have decided to inflict on me ask are:

  1. Who made God?
  2. But if God didn't die, how did He get to heaven?
  3. Why are you putting on make-up?  It's's not like you're going to work where they care if you are pretty...
  4. What's vaginal discharge?
  5. Can we talk more about puberty?
Let me warn you, for some reason my oldest is very interested in the concept of puberty.  She had asked when it started, and I told her that it was probably starting about now, but that it was a process, blah, blah.  We talked about all of the different change that take place with your body.  I tried to be relaxed, and approachable, and really, really cool about it all.  I was rather proud of myself for how well I handled it all.

The next morning, she went up to her younger brother, raised her arm high, stuck her arm pit in his face and exclaim, "Hey, smell me...I'm going through puberty.

Um, right.

This got my youngest asking me when HE would go through puberty.  (Mind you, he has not even lost a baby tooth yet...another source of angst for him...and another recurring question.)

     6.  Mom, how come I never lose any teeth?  Does the Tooth Fairy hate me or something?

Yes, these are the big questions that have been tormenting me lately.  Actually, there is one more...

     7.  Mama, you cry every time you watch the planes hit the buildings on T.V., so why do you keep       watching it?

I pull them close around me, (while my middle child runs to get me a box of Kleenex) and we talk again about the fact that life can be uncertain, and people can be cruel...but that people can also be amazing, and brave, and strong, and so very, very WORTH remembering.

Department of Defense photo

We talk about the people who died, both those caught unaware and those who saw Death coming and stared it down until the end.  We talk about the brave first responders who ran INTO the building...when everyone else tried to valiantly to get out.

Inevitably, this leads to one more question...

     8.  Mama, if something like that happened here, would Daddy have to run in?  Would Uncle Boo have to run in?

The answer is yes.  And maybe that is part of the reason for the tears...