Good Night, Strange Day

Life is strange. Garfield comic books strung all over the living room. Kids comparing the funniest funny they can find, belly laughing. On the floor beside them on his pillow is Shawnie, fentanyl patch in place, dying beside us.

No, they’re not hardened. A few minutes before, Mr. All Business gulping tears asked me where his body would go once he died. We were all crying then. Butterfly loudly asking silly questions, her noisy bounce across the floor – brother yelling at her “…just be quiet!!”. Life is just like this moment. A mixture of crazy funny and ripping pain. Closeness and irritation.

I didn’t like today one bit. Except for the heart to heart with a dear friend. And The Berenstain Bears on trampoline with Mr. Business and Butterfly in sunshine warm. Except for the swept floor smooth under bared feet. And laundry getting done, one load after another. Except for the coats being sorted out and parted with, the pile quite large of sleeves too short, the pile for sharing. I didn’t like today at all, but for the careful slow trip with Shawnie to and from the vet to get a pain patch in place for a hurting buddy. Today has not struck me as a day I’d like to re-do ever. Well, I wasn’t thinking of my willing, responsible College Girl taking cabin fevered Butterfly to swim lessons, managing all the details. Nor the chicken noodle soup warmed up second day – my boy’s stomach taking it perfectly, along with a bite of pear, Gatorade, popcorn… his stomach not complaining most of the day!! That part of the day was my favorite. Watching him eat, and then sit at ease without pain. I also liked the part where he and I plowed through a book needed for a report… a book on Nate Saint and the Auca Indians. I liked the silly face he made at me when I had the random urge to take his picture as he lay in bed, ready for a night’s sleep. That Jerry Lewis face he makes. I do want to see him make that face again.

The big picture of today was the dying of our precious dog that would never end, emotions running high, this mom wearing out. And here he is, home at last. Adored Husband walks over – I am given one of those “I love you” kisses. He scurries Miss Butterfly outside for helping as he mows the lawn… giving the rest of the family a quiet space to collect nerves for finishing this hard day well.

Pain and love, they swirl round each other. Good Night, Strange Day.

Amelia

His Waterways

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My heart is tired, but I need some God Word.  I open to the front page.  “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and empty”….  just they way I feel today. Formless and Empty. Too many days on end with adrenalin flowing rapid and regular, acid dumping into my being from the constant crisis of life. A son sick for seven months off and on. A mass of bones, his 10 year old form curled yet again in a ball with the pain of taking in small amounts of fluids and the few foods he tries to swallow.  Months of testing. Still the pain. Our dog, a solid member of our family for almost 15 years, he’s dying, and slow. Our 10 year old in sobs telling me “Mommy, it says in the Bible that where two or more are together, God’s Spirit is. Me and Shawnie are together”. Holding him.  Telling him God’s Spirit will not leave when Shawnie passes. Through salty streaks along his tormented face, he tells me he wishes he could go with Shawnie.  Hot tears.  No words. Husband’s job yanked here, than there. Where we will be next year, no one knows.  No affordable school for our son if we don’t move. My business still floundering. Our college kids needing so much we are unable to give, like time and being present. Our five year old Butterfly like a trooper trying not to need much, but is missing the luxury of stories, coloring pages with Momma, planting flowers in the yard. The stress robbing me of my kids, robbing me of self care beyond basic cleanliness and nutrients. Sitting up straight becomes impossible. So disconnected I feel from my body, a tired brain with a sloppy appendage called me, that’s the state of my being at the moment. I’ve run out of fuel. My gauge on empty.

“…and darkness covered the deep waters.” Couldn’t have said it better. I have not one ounce left to give. Darkness so deep I can’t sleep when night comes. Restlessness and exhaustion, all at once.

“And the Spirit of God hovered over the waters.”  God.  He arrives.  The scene an isolating place. Then he comes near. He hovers. With determination, I sneak away today, thinking I’ll manage a quick swim. Call after call to this doctor, that vet, to the pharmacy, the grocery store to pick up some things that sick boy’s stomach might tolerate. By the time I get to the parking lot of the pool I just sit there and stuff down a bag of chips I bought for the family, half reclining, half sitting … just flopped exhausted, no strength to even get myself in the locker room, let alone swim, Key in ignition, I drive toward home.

But I’ve met him there before, Spirit God. Near the water. Early morning run along river, slowing, stopping for a moment of stillness to feel His Spirit power surround me. I’ve felt His Spirit as I ran in rain, mud streaks up my legs, rain dripping off chin, I have felt Him there, Him seeing me, and loving me, we run together in that water place. I’ve felt Him near-by as I wash the dishes. The water pushing aside heavy suds before laid down to dry on towel white. God’s Spirit has healed me in pool water, the anxiety I’ve known before, anxiety that has managed to keep me fearful – until 30 minute laps in ugly swim cap creates a calm in me. His Spirit in pool water also chased away excess fat that did not belong to my form. Water for tea, His Spirit in water has flowed through my cells and given strength to body. Water showers for washing. Water in eyes that keep dryness away, water in and throughout me. I’m made of many parts water, and bits of other stuff. God’s Spirit weaves Himself into this life. I feel formless and empty with the stress of life. But I’m not. God Spirit hovers near, in the deepest darkness He hovers.

Amelia

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God hovered over the surface of the water” Genesis 1: 1-2

Blank Paper

To write is to live. To write is to sketch the heart of me in words. And today I tried. Like a horse stuck behind a starting gate, it’s been months I’ve felt trapped, wanting to break free for the words needing a paper, a form. Today, after getting a fevered child to sleep, the other child occupied elsewhere – herself just over a week long flu, the husband with bad cold comfortable and our college girl busy too, I quick slip out with blank paper and pen clutched to chest. A quiet place found. A chair soft. Criss cross, apples sauce, my back against perfect fit. Energy flowing, moving inside the soul of me at the treasured moment I’ve waited for, and no words. Where are the words I’d been aching to jot down? The book I’d charted an outline for? I haven’t the foggiest idea what I’d intended to say, what needs addressing – what the flow might be, and frozen stiff, gate wide open for charging ahead, I haven’t a clue how to ease ahead for beginning.

Some say solitude revives the movement. It has for me before. Yet, hunt as I might, no extended stillness can be found. Weeks on end of crisis and survival. I might go into details on all the ways life has been upside down, but they’d be no different than any other mom on a given day in a given life.  I’ve heard it said that motherhood is a season. The idea is to wait out the season, like waiting for a storm to pass. And as children grow up and move on, the chance comes for a mother to experience being human again. This idea is not reality for those of us who have spread our child bearing years out. Our last child we had when I was 42. I will be 60 when she is on her own. And so self actualization has to be intentional. But how? How does one not loose the drive, the tug, the rhythm of the ground underfoot? I need to know as I’m loosing it. Looking out from starting gate, I see nothing but one impossible task after another… no writing, or the solitude it takes. Hope and I part ways. I concede to something possible, like getting a good night kiss placed on cheek, prayers said, door closed, head for bathroom, cool water over tired face, cream applied thick to hold disappointment lines at bay, I have a secret wish that in the quiet of evening time, words and me will move together once again. The knocking door.… “Momma, I need a drink of water”. And once again, paper waits.

Amelia

 

Blooms of Time

Lilacs

I smelled a lilac today, and I had braids, long and unruly. Along the grass they dance with me, run away wisp pushed back again, past flushed cheek tucked behind ear and silver frame for keeping glasses in place. Run wild for the fun.  If spectacles hold, fine. If not, still I move.  Cartwheels, they are random and daring. Never ridged with steps one, two and three. Fast I fly, my braids and me, together across the happiness of young.

Mower and me, we trudge past the lilac bush… down the row and back again, back and forth we move, like days one after another, over and over, the same tasks drag, they tug me to a slow plod. Braids brushed out for years now… a color, a foil, they work to tuck away wisps, silver and stiff, but still with minds of their own. All pulled back for managing the row after row of life that won’t let up.

A whim comes over me. Tugged I am, and determined – though ashamed of myself for ignoring soppy drops of rain I’d beat if I tried, mower and me, we veer away from what needs doing toward a place of bounding over the hill, leaping shrubs and stones and through a springtime fragrance, hurling self through space to land wherever leap will take me.  Flowers about me, I’m wide awake, alive.  Mower and me, we finally manage to part from the fragrant bush, leaving behind packaged time in blooms.  Rain comes hard, running through the wispy grey, down face, I wipe it aside with muddy sweatshirt sleeve and I smile.  Down under soaked and muddy middle age, an almost forgotten happy ache holds on.  Almost missed completely for a task needing done.  

Amelia