Ten days ago, I was dipping my toes in the Mediterranean, and soaking up the sun of Barcelona in an outside cafe, while sipping coffee, in a square a few hundred years old, and watching my students learn to love a new place.
Seven days ago, people on the other line of a cell phone who sounded a million miles away, told me there was only a fifty-fifty shot my father would make it through the night. They told me to come fast.
Six days ago, they told me he would be off the vent in a day.
Three days ago, I held my son while they drew his blood, from his tiny little arms, because the peanut, is getting lighter.
Two days ago, a nurse started being more straight with me than all the nurses before. The pneumonia is menacing, the vent isn’t going anywhere.
Yesterday, I was told my gram might just have days to live.
Today, I was told maybe it might be longer.
And so –
I eat cupcakes, and I share bottles of Cupcake Wine with old friends, as if we have seen each other every day for the last five-years, instead of not at all. I pretend that downing booze or smoking cigarettes on a night out with friends, will make me feel better. By eleven, I know this is not true, and I return to some shadow of my former self. I spend my morning at the pediatrician, and then put on a dress, just to go into work to teach my one last class of the day. Because, God knows, that one class is the last thing I have any control over.
I have quickly gotten over my anxiety of driving through unknown places. I listen to Howard Stern on the commute, because it’s just the kind of ridiculous I can handle for the fifty minute drive, because my own life has become a whole other shade of ridiculous.
I lose my shit in hallways, in churches, in elevators, in my bosses office, and when an old family friend shows up in a waiting room. I do not lose my shit in front of my students or my children. I have lost my Zoloft, I have not lost my Ativan. I try to respond to everyone’s notes and emails, and posts and texts and phone calls. I am admittedly, not good at knowing how to take help. I have more capacity for compassion. I see more good in people.
I hate the weather, people who tell me I can’t be angry, and the lack of outlets in the waiting room of the neuro ICU. I am a brown noser, I send baskets of food to the nurses who take care of my father. I am uncomfortable at how acquainted I’m getting with other patients’ children. I hope I don’t see them again, because then maybe one of our parents has gotten better. I cringe when people are there for their children, or when there are teenagers lingering in doorways. I will never allow my children to drive with anyone but me or my husband for the rest of their lives.
I had a thirty-second conversation with my grandmother over a cell phone with a terrible connection, and I’m more at peace with that whole bit, than I have been in five years. I replay every fight I ever had with my father. I hang pictures of my children in his room. I believe they add more tubes to him just to make me ill. I want him to laugh at the hard time Kai gives me soon.
I make deals with God. I kept my end God. I’m in search, I showed up in church today. I prayed. I prayed all week, I accepted the prayers of others. I opened the Bible I even downloaded the Bible, (no really, there is an app for that). I remember the songs God, I put my offering in the plate, I even took communion. Yes God, I saw that the name of the Sermon was “Something to Hold on to”. But right now God, I am so grasping. My whole life my mother, my grandmother, and all those strong women around me have told me that God never gives us more than we can handle, but for serious God – COME ON. My dad and my gram in one week. They make up at least half of who I am. My kid sick in the middle of the night, blood tests again. My friends with their own stuff, and you know a flood watch. GOD – what?
Oh yes, yes people, I cry out – I yell at the universe, I rally at the heavens. I wonder why.
I revel – in the touch of my friend’s hand as she brushes my tears away – of the strength of my brother’s chest as I collapse upon it -at the joy my students get from making me laugh -at the kindness of people I barely know, who are willing to reach out with just words, or advice, or prayers -at the willingness of my mother to take all the shit I’m laying on her, because I can’t lay it on anyone else -at my stepmother’s constant vigil -at my husband’s skills as a father.
I believe in the power of the internet, at today’s count, there are a goodly amount of people who remind me to update, to post news, to share info. Thank you all for your love, your kindness, your words.
I do not have time for therapy. I apparently though, have time to rattle off all the thoughts in my brain on this page.
Dear Internet, here it is, all the ponderings of my heart. Unlike Mary, I do not keep them close.