Monday, March 02, 2009

March 2, 2009

“Where should I go?” Art asks.

He’s standing in the living room, on his crutches. Chemo fog having lifted a bit this morning.

I look at him and start to cry. This morning, I can’t figure that out for myself and now I need to do it for you?

I slam my office door.

I slam my head against the wall.

Great….I just hurt a sick man. Wow….now I feel f-a-n-t-a-s-t-i-c!

The guilt rises and as I open the door and see his face, the anger takes over.

I have to choose between his needs and mine.

Feels like I’ve been doing that for a really long time. His needs always come first. The duty-fucking-ful wife.

And now, when I’d like to be able to choose, with love, to care for him, I find myself resentful and full of anger...again!

I reach in, groping for the peace, the calm, the will to get through one more day. To get through this moment.

And all I feel is dry, grainy sand. My well is empty.

“You can’t give from the well if the well is empty.” I made up that saying to help new mothers. Damn, now I have to pay attention.

My well is empty, bone dry. Been living on sludge and grim, scraping the residue from the walls, fooling myself into believing that it will be enough and I’ll find the water source tomorrow. Scarlet O’Hara and I. Tomorrow.

Now, I have no idea on how to get the waters to flow again. I don’t have the energy to figure it out. No idea what I need. No idea what will help. No idea. And I’m drowning

But this time I know I won’t drown. My ancestors, chained to the innards of a boat, lying in their own filth, not enough slack or room to sit up, only to come to a place that was more harsh. They survived. They watched their spouses come near to death too. Others turned to them and said “Where should I go?”

The answer that echoes inside of me? The answer I imagine some of them had the courage to give?

“I don’t know. Just hold my hand. We'll find a place.”
After I write this, I go to him, and extend my hand. Thankfully, he takes it and together we end up in a place.
I could use some comments tonight (0r tomorrow). Fill my well.


  1. Anonymous11:00 PM

    I have been reading your blog for about a month. Feeling your pain from afar. Wishing I could do more than secretly pray for you or send the odd pre-printed get-well-soon card; yet, too scared to come too close.
    Tonight after reading your blog, however, I felt a different emotion: anger. I got angry at you for closing the door at a sick man. I thought, "How dare she? He doesn't need the cruelty!" Then I forced myself to imagine being in your shoes.... The thought made me sob like a baby. How selfish of me to be so judgmental! Rather than confront my fears, I apportion blame.
    My recurrent question to you resurfaced, "How do you do it?"
    Reading your blog tonight cleared the fog of my own personal fears. It has given me the courage and faith I need to step out of my comfort zone and reach out to you, not merely from my bed when I whisper prayers to God to cure Art completely of this illness, or to give you and the kids the strength to carry on; or the safe but distant hug you get when I run into you. It has given me the courage to come out of my safe haven and reach out to you physically, by doing what I can to make your life less stressful, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem - mailing a card, a gift certificate to the movies or a favorite store, of whatever may make your life easier (see e.g. Helping Hand Tips).
    Please know that I am here for you. Hopefully, actions will speak louder than words.

  2. Kim,
    Today you brought me up short -
    Not in anger,
    not in anger
    (or disappointment) at all -
    but with that connection:

    "My ancestors,
    chained to the innards of a boat, lying in their own filth,
    not enough slack or
    room to sit up,
    only to come to a place
    that was more harsh.
    They survived."

    How beautiful
    and True.
    I want to paint those words
    on a wall somewhere.
    Those words and
    the words of other survivors.

    The thing that I always come back to
    when I or someone else
    is going through "Something,"
    is just that:
    Others have been here,
    others have gone on through,
    and they made it on.

    Made it up as they went along.

    "I don't know"
    It is the only answer, really,
    but spoken softly,
    as an invitation to
    find the path together.

    It is really where we are ALL at.
    love, jm

  3. Anonymous3:55 PM

    I wish I had the words to wrap your heart in healing, a verbal balm for the emotions the way we put hand lotion on chapped hands. Your ancestors knew despair, knew exhaustion of emotions, and what you remember from this perspective is their survival. There is no meter on emotions - when we hit bottom, it's hard and real, whatever the cause.
    It is okay to be tired of supplying answers when everyone else seems to be asking all the questions. What you are - and what Art and your family need - is that you are human, not superhuman. Give them the chance to hold YOUR hand, lead YOU to an answer, a comfort, or even to the next chair.
    None of us knows where we are going, really.
    Consider yourself hugged.
    with love -

  4. Anonymous8:57 PM

    I'm reminded of your bumper sticker "I am woman" I think it says it all. You have strength, you have courage, you have anger, you feel every pain and joy. And, when the well runs dry, some how, some way, you still move forward with grace or not.
    Men communicate differently as well. Here's conversation from my own sick man (only of two weeks with an upper respiratory infection; clearly not a life and death situation:) ):
    Me: "How are you feeling?"
    Him: Shrug
    Me: "Would you like anything?"
    Him: Shrug
    Me: "So, I really need to get to my running meeting tonight, are you going to be up for watching the kids or do I need to call a babysitter?"
    Him: Shrug
    Me: "OK, I'll take that shrug to mean I'm good to go."
    I tell you that boy can communicate. If he ever gets seriously sick, I think I'll kill him first :)

    Enough of my drama. I believe in you and believe in your power as a woman, mother, and wife. You will get through this all.
    Huge hug from CO.
    love, Julie

  5. I give you permission to honor you, your thoughts, your emotions, your feelings, everything. When you honor you - you are then in a position of strength to honor others and all their needs. It is OK - give yourself permission to FEEL everything no matter what it is. Like someone else wrote before...YOU are not SUPERHUMAN no one is..we are all HUMAN and being human is being authentic and honoring who you are. I think you are amazing....
    I think of you often and send loving thoughts to you and your family always...

  6. Anonymous, Thank you for your moving and honest post! Thank you for the anger, the sobs, and for moving out of your comfort zone. It is so much better to do it by choice than by force. You are not selfish. You are human. And what a gift you are to me today! Thank you!