Greetings Morning Glories,
You may have noticed I haven’t been posting on a regular basis during the past week or so. I’m getting ready to have carpal tunnel surgery on my left wrist, so I’ve been busy getting last minute projects done in anticipation of only having one good hand for several weeks. I had my right wrist operated on in 2016, it was an instant success, but taking care of my mother with one hand proved to be very difficult, so I’ve been putting off having the left one done. As a result, now my left hand is always numb and tingling, and even though my anxiety over having surgery (even minor such as this) is through the roof, I am looking forward to finding relief from these symptoms. I’ll try to post a few more times before the big day next week and then take some time off to recover.
I’ve been trying to write this post for about a week now. I feel like it is vital for me to talk about and yet I feel like what happened to me isn’t as horrible as what many other women have experienced. On the other hand, I think it’s important not to downplay what happened either. A couple of weeks ago I had to cut all ties with the neighbor who helped my mom and me out so much for past four years. I had been riding a merry-go-round with him for the past several years of turning down his advances towards me. He’s married to his third wife and would often express his desires to be more than friends, and I would always tell him, “No.” He would try to rationalize it by saying things to me like, “You know, you wouldn’t be the first woman to be someone’s mistress.” Or “I’m not going another year without sex.” Or the day he brought me his copy of “The Joy of Sex” which I promptly handed back to him. My stance on the subject never wavered for a moment, and it frustrated him. One day he told me how once he wanted something he never stopped until he got his way. Maybe I should have cut ties with him then, but he helped us. And I was so burnt out taking care of my mom by myself; I let him help. I was grateful for the help. Grateful to have someone who understood my point of view and was willing to be there for us at the drop of a hat. But even silver linings cast shadows. And I was willing to ignore the shadowy side of our relationship until what I’m not very creatively calling “The Incident.” He had come over to help me with something, and before he left, he decided that it was ok to pull me to him and forcibly kiss me. I posted a poem about the incident a few days after it happened. It was shocking and as I struggled against him and kept saying, “No!” it didn’t matter. But that wasn’t the worst part. Before he left, he turned back around to me and looked me dead in the eye and just said, “Yes.” Then he turned and left. At that moment, I knew I had to cut ties. But going about life alone scared me to no end. I felt so overwhelmed by the idea since I’ve always had some kind of help to get me through tough times. I didn’t sleep for days weighing the situation. But it always kept going back to having to protect me from him. That kiss shattered all the illusions I had been wearing like blinders. I had talked myself into the idea that if I told him “No” enough times, he would stop. If I reasoned with him enough, he would see the situation from my side. But there is no reasoning with him. He wants what he wants, and I know now that how I feel about it and how it would affect his wife, should she find out about it, didn’t mean anything to him. Fast forward six days when he came over to weed the garden as nothing had ever happened. I went out onto the porch and told him that I had found someone to do that. He simply said, “Very well.” and left. I haven’t seen him since, and that was almost two weeks ago.
Facing the world alone for the first time in 46 years has, as I said before, overwhelming. I’ve been waking up early in the morning having anxiety attacks over this. But I’ve also made great strides in finding the help I need around the house which has bolstered my confidence. But dealing with my neighbor’s assault while continuing to mourn my mom and deal with the loneliness I’ve been feeling has left me emotionally drained. Throw in the failing health of my older cat, and it has me just wanting to pull the covers over my head and hide. Hide from the suffocating weight of everything that is going on. It’s just too much for my heart and my spirit to take. I’m trying to move forward with what I want to do with my life, but it’s hard doing that while dragging around all this emotional baggage. That’s why my posting of original content has kind of slowed down, I’ve been dealing with all this other stuff in my life, and it’s sapped my creativity. There have been days over the past couple of weeks where it’s all I can do just to take care of my pets and myself. But I’m working through it, and I just have to be patient with myself and listen to what my heart needs and continue to work on what I need to get past all the recent trauma I’ve experienced.
I returned to the medical building today where I had taken my mother so many times. It was the first time I had been back there since my mom passed away and, as I walked along the curved sidewalk, I was overwhelmed by memories of pushing her wheelchair towards the door. I felt like her ghost was everywhere as I walked inside. I could still see her waiting in the lobby while I went to get the car. Or in the laboratory waiting room, fretting that her wheelchair was blocking the walkway. I was not prepared for how sharp the dull ache in my heart would feel.
***A fable about the last few days of my life***
Sitting on the sofa, I watch some mountain monster hunting show and breathe. The night before had been one of the most torturous of my life. The left side of my back had been seized by some creature’s claws that kept squeezing the muscles over and over again. I was wracked with pain so intense it left me uttering shuddering moans in between its grip. With the help of heating pads and painkillers, I had gotten the thing to let go, and now, in my mind’s eye, I could see it slumbering. I could also see its bony hand loosely draped against my back. I hoped it would stay asleep forever. Then I felt it, a foreboding tickle in my nose. My heart sank as it grew and I realized I was going to sneeze. My shoulders shifted forward, and my back curled over on itself as my nose exploded. I sat in terror waiting to see if it would set off a new series of spasms. I closed my eyes and prayed. I could see it, eyes still closed but its breathing was uneven, and as I watched I saw the whites of its eye appear and then its pupil roll down. It stretched and wrapped its claws around my back again and started to squeeze. I hobbled hunchbacked into the kitchen to get the heating pad again. Hoping a warm blanket would put it back to sleep so that I could sleep tonight. Unfortunately, it didn’t, and I didn’t.
*** A few years ago, I was plagued by back spasms every few months. They had gone away as mysteriously as they appeared and it wasn’t until Monday night that I was reminded just how excruciatingly painful they were. I’ve been pretty much sofa-bound this week, unable to even type because the action of leaning forward would cause the muscle to tighten again. This morning, my back began feeling normal again. I’m still exceedingly cautious in every movement I make. I’m living life at the speed of a tai chi master. ***
Ten weeks later and the world I knew
Still lies scattered around me.
I stand among the shambles as
Remnants of my old life
Still crash around me.
I will never look at a
Snowglobe the same
Because I know how it
Feels to be in one.
To have everything you’ve
Ever known to be
Left in chaos.
To have yourself
Be shaken to your
Core to such an extent
You barely recognize
Your own soul anymore.
The other night I had shifted from my spot on the sofa to the middle cushion to accommodate the needs of my overly jealous dog Watson and my territory-grabbing cat Patches. So, I had Watson settled on my left side, he had his head draped over my lap he was dozing and happy. Then Patches entered the scene so I patted the completely empty cushion to my right and coaxed him to hop up which he did. He turned around on the cushion and I was ready for him to curl up against me when he decided to cross over my lap and over Watson’s head and shoulders to move to the left cushion. Now, you have to understand that Watson and Patches have the quintessential love/hate relationship. Watson respectfully loves Patches, whereas Patches pretty much tolerates Watson on a good day. So I knew exactly what Watson was thinking when he looked at me unsure of what to do. Watson was currently occupying about 90% of the left cushion with his 40 pounds of fluffy red fur. I really wasn’t sure what to do either so I just waited and watched the scene unfold. Patches maneuvered himself into the remaining space and curled up against Watson’s rear end and went to sleep. After a minute of not knowing what Patches might do to him if he moved a muscle, Watson put his head back down and went back to sleep himself. I just sat there looking at these two animals seemingly happily “snuggled” up and felt my heart fill even more with love for my two boys who I am so grateful to have in my life. Of course, 5 minutes later Patches went from sound asleep to literally springing off the couch in one fluid movement, which startled Watson who nearly fell off the couch in the process and I had to catch him so he didn’t land on his head. But hey, at least I had five minutes of peace.
There’s a spot in the woods up the way from my sister’s old house. From the dirt road it looks like the surrounding forest but walk in about fifteen feet and you start noticing stones in the ground. From underneath the dirt and leaves that cover the ground like a tattered quilt, an old foundation materializes. Who knows how long it has been here. Long enough for the wooden structure to have melted into the forest floor. What remains must be hunted for. My nephew and I have our weapons of choice: shovels. We scrape away the soggy leaves and uncover the damp earth underneath. We slop a pile of leaves off to one side to clear away a larger section. From the surface there is nothing noticeable, some rocks emerging like miniature mountains. My nephew picks a random spot and pulls up some dirt. We eagerly look through it and find nothing. Repeating this process three more times our excitement begins to fade as we continue to find nothing. Sitting on a nearby stump we wonder if my sister’s husband has sent us on some goose chase to keep us out from underfoot. My nephew wants to go back home. I don’t. I stand up and kick some of the dirt in the last hole we dug and notice something. A glimpse of something whiter than the surrounding brownish black. I crouch down and he comes over and we start clearing away the filth. A face appears and a shoulder and an arm. It’s the head and torso of an old china doll. Who knows long how long she has slumbered here. Suffocated by what had buried her. It is like we have resurrected her from the dead. We find a nearby stream and cleanse her like a Baptism. The sun is sinking behind the trees and I decide we must go home. As we look at each other, and share the same expression, we both know we will be back here tomorrow to see what other treasures lurk beneath our feet.