I have drafts all over the place on this site and so few new posts. I will admit to being in a blue funk. Death has been house sharing with me, or so it seems the last couple years. Family members and close friends, and now my young patient have all stepped out of life, leaving small rents in the fabric of my heart and universe. All this has happened while I have survived against the odds and I have been given a new lease on life.
So many times, when the news of another death has reached my ears, have I questioned why them and not me and tried to bargain for a do over. “It should have been me,” I tell my deity “I have had a great life, pretty much done my bucket list so thoroughly I had to make new lists. No one’s life would be as impacted by my absence as the large hole this death has left.” Of course, I may tell my gods that, but I don’t know that for sure either. “Truly,” I say, “no one really depends on me these days with all my children grown and independent; I have no significant other, no one sharing my heart or bed or paycheck, sometimes I go days with all my conversations work or retail related.”
That is what I tell them.
And nine months ago, in an interview with someone I still hope to ghost write a memoir for (on hold due to me, not him), one simple phrase knocked me to the ground and made me realize that I had some serious work to do again. That is when the crying really started. I made myself as small and as distant from everyone as only a compassionate person can, and in doing so had somehow stopped really living my inner life. I was Sancho not Don Quixote. I was outwardly still tilting at windmills in hope of an outcome, but knowing they were windmills, so I tried to find ways to avoid the bruises, the pain and the tears.
Commitment to a dream is a special kind of creative insanity. An important feature of all the happiest characters in Cervantes extensive literary work is their adherence to a path that has little or no reason to it. Another important feature of their paths is the number of times they are beaten, bloodied, robbed or otherwise betrayed before just as randomly rewarded. Joy (survival) is merely the acceptance of their having survived another day to pick up their lance and shield and golden helmet (shaving basin) to again serve that which they love.
Two weeks ago today, a smile and a laugh that was worth getting up and getting dressed for (on even the worst day,) was permanently taken out of life. I don’t know if I will ever be able to sing “Eeesny Weensy Spider” again dry eyed. I miss him terribly and my heart breaks for his mother and family. Ironically it was the chain of “bad” things happening in my life 2009 and 2010 that led me to this home, this job, and that young man and his brother and their amazing family.
I dreamed about him last night. We were all going to someplace, they sent me ahead to set up the oxygen and equipment, the family was told they had to travel in their own vehicle. (FTR, their mom would never have let them out of her sight like this but it was a dream) and when they got there both wheelchairs were empty. The chairs were being pushed through the mall to the facility by two attendants (my youngest sister and oldest sister, a whole other story). I freaked out and ran back to find them, the little boy who just died was on the floor, and stood up, he was a little taller than me. He hugged me, and then pushed me away, “Go find T****,” he said, “he needs you now, I don’t.” Then he laughed and said, “Thank you,” winked, and sang with hands “and the stupid little spider went up the spout again.” He strolled away tossing over his shoulder “Find T**** and then get back before my Mom kills somebody for losing us.” A little further on I found T**** and started yelling for someone to help, for someone to go to the nursing home at the end of the mall and get a wheelchair, get the family, but everyone had an excuse for why they couldn’t help, and he was laughing but he had no oxygen so time was of the essence; I picked him up and started carrying him. Each time I thought I would drop him, a chair showed up for us to rest in, and then as I came around the corner I found his sister T******, and his Mom V******* and they said there were no wheelchairs but they had an office chair, the rolling kind. I sat in it and held him and they rolled me up the stairs and to where his bed was. It was hairy but he was okay. I told his mom and sister that D***** was out walking in the mall, and they set out to find him as I settled T**** and told him we wouldn’t be seeing D***** again, that he was all better now. I woke up crying. I cried a few times writing this.
I don’t know how long this pot of Tear Soup will need to stew, and I don’t know what other losses I will face. I do know this year will continue to be challenging as I deal with the sad of multiple losses and legally address some of the things that have broken me in the far past.
What I do know is that I am singing for the dragons again, and this may look like a broken shaving basin to you but I can see that it IS the Golden Helmet of Mambrino.
In more pedantic terms, I will choose to hope and dream as I pick up the tools I acquired in PCT and grief therapy, recommit one meal at a time to healthy, kind diet; train for another race; serve as a nurse where the universe sends me; use my gift of words and laughter when opportunity permits; and most importantly, be open to the risk and love.
I would not trade a single moment I had with any of those I have lost, to avoid the emotional carpeting their death has brought.
Today my house is hairier and messier than ever, my Wednesday lunch containers are in bits about the yard (yes I forgot my lunch again, and the dogs managed to unzip the lunchpack and pull everything out while not destroying the bag, I need a video camera for when I am gone!), I have dishes to do, costume completion and knitting calling my name, as well as some cooking and baking for Fairhaven to fit in my day. So I will set this pot on the back burner for awhile, soup can be ignored for hours. I know it will call me back for a stir or two today, and there are many pots more to be made before it becomes just a seasonal dish again, but for now I am done with my Tear Soup. Thank-you for listening and sharing a dish if you read this whole blog, and I promise a better offering tomorrow. I have not yet done my annual itinerary for Fairhaven visitors and I have some lovely recipes just waiting to be shared.
If you have never read “Tear Soup” by Pat Schwiebert and Chuck DeKlyen, it is a children’s book I recommend for all ages dealing with loss, or dealing with someone who has had a loss. You can buy your own copy at http://changinghands.com/.