Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I wanted to write about spring but...

It's Spring...
and as one of my favourite poets,
e.e. cummings said,
"the world is mud luscious
and puddle wonderful..."

I've been simply muddled...

Sadness happened once again...
Ariana must face the possibility
of losing her dearest friend, Arlo...
and, she's the one in charge...

This is her first experience of this sort
and nothing teaches us how to handle it...
or what is right and what is wrong
because there is no right or wrong...
It's all instinct...

And...there are a lot of ands...
She's afraid...
She's angry...
She's physically overwhelmed
with her own situation at this moment...

I search my memory,
my heart,
reaching deep inside myself
for words that are not a cliche...

I have an aversion to being trite...
I get all prickly at the thought...
To me silence is more palatable..

So I'm standing at what I call
an edge of place...
A Mom desperate
for an answer...

I look up at the sparkling Spring night sky...
I stare into the face of the moon...

I imagine my child,
though she is all grown up,
at this moment I only see a sad
and frightened little girl...

Ariana has always been fearless...
should I remind her of that now?

My mind wanders aimlessly,
anxiously, trying to grab onto
something floating in the cool night air...

I'm surrounded by nothingness...

And then the simple truth comes to me
wrapped in nothing
but it's ancient, timeless magic...

All Ariana needs to hear me say is
I love you, Dootie Bug...

Friday, March 11, 2011

a small story about tears

I can't believe I'm sitting here writing
after posting the blog last night...
I lived that blog for a week
then wrote it for another...

I was exhausted...
though not enough to sleep properly...
but that's not what I want to write about
at this moment...

This afternoon I got the dearest email
from my friend Joni...
and I began to cry...
again...

I have said before
that I have cried enough tears
recently
to make a sauce for my sorrow...

Suddenly it occurred to me
that I could begin freezing
that sauce like I do my soup
or spaghetti sauce
and save myself some time...

I'm being naughty now...
but that thought began to spin,
dance off into the daylight
until a myriad of images about tears
filled my poet's head...

Sometimes the tears I have cried
are as endless as raindrops...
delicate crystals mined
from my heart...
I see myself silently
wrapping them around my throat
to wear like any warrior
might wear his medals
earned in battle

Then there are those other tears
my tears of stone
each one tapping my cheek
as it falls
so I won't forget that it rested there...

Before I end,
as I thought about tears,
I remembered a conversation
Ethan and I had not too long ago...

Ethan and I were hanging out
and he asked me one of those questions
the kind that could be serious or silly
or both...

just the typical what if, little kid,
what am I going to answer question...

"Gramma what would you do if something happened to me?"

I would cry feel out of my mouth
without a thought...

"Even if it wasn't serious?"

Then maybe I'd cry just a little...
as I'm wondering where he's going with this...
or maybe we're done...

"If it was serious then you would really really cry alot?"

I decide that I'm going to turn the tables on him...

If something serious happened to you
I would cry so much
no one could stop me...

"Not even Hempa?"
He looks amazed,
maybe shocked...

Not even Hempa,
not the doctor,
not a plumber,
I reply...

Then he cracks up...

"Gramma,  a plummer?  you're a person..."

I would being crying so much
I tell him,
that everyone would think
I was a faucet!

Now we're both cracking up!

In fact, Hempa would probably call 100 plumbers...
1000 plumbers, he adds,
or a million...
he likes where this is going...

But nothing they did would work I say...

"That's because you love me too much, Gramma,"
Ethan says laughing...

How come you're so smart I ask...

Thursday, March 10, 2011

this was the week that was

When you read the butterfly blog
I realize that it shouldn't feel like a ping pong match...
but sometimes that's the way my mind works
so for the sake of authenticity
please bear with me this time
as I move back and forth
through my thoughts this past week...

I've been living an almost reclusive existence
since my adventures with MS and the flu...
I am a night owl, I am someone who thinks too much...
being a night owl who thinks too much
is being a woman who someone has put a curse on...

Then adding needing to stay at home
into that mix
it's like a double whammy!

Who out there in the universe has put this curse on me?

Somewhere in the middle of the night
as February was ending and March was dawning
I decided to take some baby steps back out into the world...
I flipped through my calendar,
something I hadn't done since the onset of the flu...

I began my reentry by sending birthday wishes
to someone I don't see or talk to very often
but she's someone that I was destined
to be connected to and that felt instinctively good...

She sent me back an incredible message...
She called me "butterfly wings"
which made me cry
in a really profound and good way...

Someone gets me...
I take one baby step
back into the world...

And then it all begins to unravel...

My son calls to say that Billie,
a wonderful, beloved dog...
it was her time
David and I both reminded him
that this is a part of loving a pet,
the responsibility and the privilege...

Nothing makes this easier...
we remind him
about the dog pile
our family has waiting
at the Rainbow Bridge...

If you've never heard of
the  Rainbow Bridge
it's that part of heaven
where we are reunited
with animals we have loved...

I don't know how I feel about heaven,
 but I believe in the Rainbow Bridge...

As the week began to fold upon itself
like another stack of laundry,
I hear the sound of breaking glass
inside myself
as another piece of my heart breaks off...

My Sheila's daughter in law, Shay,
has lost a valiant fight with breast cancer...

Ashlynn Sheila's beautiful granddaughter,
I'm her Fairy God Gramma,
is eight years old...
Sheila found out Shay was going to have a baby
just before she died...
but she never knew that Ashlynn
was a little girl...

As I talk to Sheila's son Darryl
I tell him how very proud his Mom
would be of the man he has become...

We are crying and laughing and
talking over one another...
We are finishing sentences for each other,
memories that were Sheila's and mine
and Sheila's and Darryl's seem to overlap...
Suddenly I realize we are speaking Sheila...

I tell Darryl this...
He understands completely...
He sighs...

Then I make an unplanned confession...
I talk to your Mom
more than I talk to my friends
who are alive...
Darryl tells me he does the same thing...

I always try to do little things for Ashlynn
that I know Sheila would have done
if she was here to do them...

But more than ever
I know the most amazing gift
I can ever give to Ashlynn
is to allow her to know her extraordinary Gramma
as I'd like to think only I can...

I even have Sheila's last bottle of perfume...
so Ashlynn can know the comfort
of her Gramma's unique scent...

I believe that there is a powerful magic
attached to scent...
My daughter, Ariana, sprayed a little stuffed black kitten
with my Shalimar before she left for college...

And sometimes before Ethan leaves here
he disappears into my bathroom
and I find him discretely
spraying himself with my Shalimar too!

Once I asked him why he was doing this
and his answer was simply,
"I'm taking your smell with me, Gramma,
so I won't miss you so much."
I think he was about three and a half
when he said that to me.

No matter how badly you're feeling
spray yourself with a little perfume...

As the week limped and lurched forward
I found myself suspended
in the dark cave of night
held tightly in the sinuous grip
of night's long arms

I slept more fitfully than ever
waking with misty eyes
my cheeks resting on damp pillows
but there was no place to go...

I felt like my own prisoner
a night owl, who thinks too much
longing for sleep...

But tricks are easily played
during those shifty hours...
the dazzling brilliance of the velvet darkness
can be interpreted as clarity
and lead a weary mind down paths
better left untreaded...

I begin thinking these crazy thoughts
the crazier they got
the faster they were coming toward me...

Finally, I settle myself...
I am forgotten baggage
in the attic of other people's minds...

When Friday comes along
my son brings Billie over
to say good bye...

As they drive away
my vision blurs
and it's not just the tears...

I see Brandon melting away...
he's about five years old
just a little boy again,
a little boy and his beloved dog...

I want to chase the car down the street
bang the on the door
until they get out
hold on and never let go...

David goes off to take a walk
before picking up Ethan...
I decide to call Ariana...

Ariana has had 22 procedures
for her systemic lupus
since the beginning of the year...

Most of the time
My Warrior Goddess Daughter
amazes me with her coping skills...
but she's feeling particularly vulnerable
at the moment...

Ariana and I have not been able to get together lately...
We've both had various viral infections
and our auto immune systems
are butting up against one another...

Actually, sometimes I feel like our chronic conditions
disagree the same way mothers
and daughters do...
The differences and the similarities
often too close for comfort...

There probably should have been
a better moment
for us to talk...
but Ethan is spending the night tonight
so if not now, when?

We've played phone tag all week...
Procedures, naps, sleeping off anesthesia...
being simply too weary
to hold up the phone
or to listen
to one more thing
you cannot bear to hear...

I tell Ariana about Shay
and we sob together
both missing Sheila,
both so sad for Ashlynn...
and Ethan bounds through the door...

We agree to talk some more tomorrow...

With a mischievous grin,
Ethan tells me that we're going to stay up
til 2 o'clock in the morning,
maybe 3...
he's a night owl too!
this is not impossible...

At approximately 2:45
as we're falling asleep,
Ethan sighs...
that sweet childish breath of dreamland
resting on his lips...

"I love you, Gramma...
You're my best friend...
You and my Hempy..."

At last,
something wonderful...
something to take a giant step
back into the world for...

Thursday, March 3, 2011

scrambled eggs

When I was first diagnosed they told me if I ever got the flu that it would be quite an experience...
They DID NOT LIE!

Almost 6 weeks later and I'm still not doing so terrific...
Everything matters, nothing matters very much...

My neurologist said that I would be weak for the next few months...
He advised going slowly, pacing myself,
not being so hard on myself...
as he knows I can be...

Imagine that...
Permission from the doctor...
Permission to do what?
I don't feel like doing anything
that the doctor's permission would give me absolution from later...

So, this is what it's been like...scrambled eggs!
My mind, my body...
all of me is scrambled up!
It's as if some master of mischief
took a whisk to me...
got creative, had a blast,
and couldn't stop...

The physical stuff I can put
in the it is what it is file...
I've been doing this dance a long time...

What I resent is what happens inside my head!
My head has been full of marshmallow fluff...

The weird sleeping schedule that
accommodates all the ups and downs of the flu...
and I'm not a championship sleeper anyway...
and the Fellini style dreams...
Also, when you're having an MS exacerbation
you're cognitive thought process is not full function...

My limbs have felt like they're wrapped in chains...
and all the missing bees have taken up residence inside me...

I'm still on the be careful what you wish for diet!
And healthy food gives us the strength to get well...

The scariest thing I've learned though
is how easy it would be to never go out again...
I'll save writing about that for another day...
That truly is a hot topic...
and too much for me to handle
my first time writing again...

How sweet to be a cloud
and just simply drift along...