Monday, April 23, 2007

A Marvelous 3 Syllable Word


One day shy of the 8 month anniversary, we heard it today come out of Dr. Wolin's mouth. RE-MIS-SION. I sang it all the way home. You can go high with the RE, then whole step lower with the MIS and then another whole step lower for the SION. You can start low then go high then back low. You can do it in a perfect 5th, but never in minor key.

It sounds sweeter when it is song slowly, with meaning. Although singing it fast brings out the joy of the word. You can shout it as in "MY HUSBAND IS IN REMISSION" and you can cry it, as in "Thank God, it's over. My husband is in remission."

But mostly you have to smile when you say it. RE-MIS-SION. See! Isn't it the most beautiful word in the world.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

No News Is Good News

Quick Update:

He is still moving forward. Art went to school yesterday to Morning Meeting and got a standing ovation from the students and staff. He said it was hard for him to talk afterwards. He is missed there. When those students stood up, the last bit of doubt regarding how important he is vanished.

We stumble ackwardly to each other. We are reaquainting ourselves, showing patience and wonder in who we have become and how this experience has changed us. There are days I can't stand to let him leave my sight and then there are days it's like hanging out with a good friend. I know this is what it was before August 24th, but it looks cleaner. It's as if I am a baby and taking every movement, every tonal change, every chuckle and frownline in, trying to integrate it all to something that makes sense. I ask myself how has he changed? What did that frown mean? Does this affect me? In response I am surprised that I am planted firmly in my own space. I no longer feel the need to interpret how he feels and then to act on it. That leaves me giddy. I'm growing! I'm maturing! And he is too.

Art has a CTScan on Friday. We are looking for a no-nodes clean result. We are anxious, nervous, on edge a bit but overshadowing all this, we are thankful. Thankful for the time we've had to rest, to think, to reconnect (no matter how ackward it goes), to admire, adore and love the kids, each other and ourselves. So while the test looms out there, we are centered in here, feeling triumphant. We made it through! We made it through together! Where ever we go from here, that fact will not change.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

War and Patience

War and Patience

At some point during my struggles with bulemia I acknowledged the vision I had of my body was skewed. I knew that when I looked in the mirror and saw “fat” others saw the thin, normal, attractive. One day I decided to rely on the eyes of others until I could fix mine. I called it the “wisdom of the masses.” It worked.

The same thing happened after posting “Questioning.” I knew that I couldn’t see what was really here. I knew I needed to use your view of our struggle to see more clearly.

“In ways your husband has been at war in a distant country,” said a wise friend. “Now Art is back, as back as any vet can be, and it is right to feel different.” And with those words, the lost, ungrounded feeling I’d been working through lifted, like magic. The other comments provided sustenance. The emails gave me courage.

In my head, I understood that our relationship could not go back; in my heart my expectation was that it would, that it should. The longest distance, they say, is between your head and your heart.

I work through these emotions with friends, a therapist and my fingers, and still I get stuck. I am not a patient person. The demands I place on myself to fix, mend, and take action basically mean I hate processing – it’s so time consuming. “Art’s better. Life is good. Yup, it’s been 16 days since he showed up. Plenty of time! Chop, chop, let’s get this life moving!” In hindsight, it’s almost funny!

When I stand patiently in this process of growth and watch, I am awed at how far we have come, at how strong and determined he is, and at how strong and determined I am too. It’s hard to let go of a sinking raft. At least you know what will happen if you cling; the shore is this distant place where the possibilities are endless – endless is good but scary.

However, like before, I trusted the wisdom of those around me and what I got was a clearer vision and a reminder of how incredibly grateful I am for all that I have, including you the reader.

(To see the other comments, click here)

Saturday, April 07, 2007


I feel self conscious about writing. I feel self conscious about what others know about my relationship with Art. Suddenly, many things I have written are not OK to have shared or rather, it’s all been OK up till now. Up till this morning when I wrote a post and deleted it.

I don’t know what my head is thinking. Art continues to get better. He’s moved on from picking the kids up from camp three days this week to cooking two meals (although he admits that it wipes him out.) He orchestrated our family outing today. When people ask me how he’s doing, I beam. My smiling mouth muscles hurt from the grinning and watching people’s diverse reactions from tears to peels of joyous laughter (is there any other kind?) The way I feel when they ask is the same way I felt during our first year of marriage when someone asked me about our wedding. I stand at the center of warm, pure, good memory. Only with the cancer, the image is not of a moment but of a storm that is now in the distance.

But when I get home, and actually spend time with Art, I am in a place of resentment almost, of discontent. For several days, when alone in the car or house for more than 30 seconds, I wonder is this all there is? Is this what I fought so hard to preserve? What did I fight so hard to preserve? Him? Me? Us? There is no us right now. We fumble towards each other awkwardly trying to do things we used to but somehow falling short. When he kisses me, it’s like kissing a stranger, but not in the warm excited way but in a disturbed, not really sure I want to way.

I feel unsteady about myself, my wifing, and even my writing. I don’t know him. I don’t know myself in relation to him. And I am deeply uncomfortable with that knowledge.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Winding Down

I still struggle, in every minute of every day, with sitting back and doing nothing. It feels so un-womanly or un-motherly like. It’s as if all the adrenaline, excitement (for lack of a better word) and worrying energy wants to transfer itself to the “next project.” Powering down is not something I am good at.

In my head is a constant conversation with one voice saying “Well, since Art IS better and you do have all this TIME now, you really must finish those thank you notes, return the pants you bought for Pallas at Christmas and get the car cleaned. Oh and shouldn’t you be returning to work and writing again soon? I mean you don’t want them (ah, the ubiquitous them) to think you are ------ (I never can find a word to fit in there).

The other voice is new. It’s firm but reasonable. It understands my need to “do” but tempers it with my body’s and mind’s need to rest. It says things like “Wow, you read the paper, did the diabolical soduku, washed the towels and napped. Now that was a good day!” Sometimes it will play a gentle school marm: “I know you want to get to the store to find a gift for Ezra’s friend this weekend, but WHY the hell are you rushing Ezra around the block? Go on pick up the dandelion and blow. Buy the gift later.” It’s a nice voice and I really like it. It’s just that I don’t quite trust it.

I fear that the big finger wagging “them” (which in all honesty is me, my hard-driving-unforgiving-make-no-mistakes self) will not look kindly on my lazy ways. I am afraid that if I don’t do, then I will be lost. It will remind me of how I felt after Langston was born. How small and powerless I felt and how useless.

And then today, the new voice says, “Kim?” I listen. I can tell a great piece of wisdom is coming my way. “Art has been feeling better for 8 days. 8 days. Give yourself a break.” I smirk, feel a bit silly and return to the kitchen table where today’s Soduku and a cup of tea await.