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...

1 comment:

  1. Mara,
    You give so much with your writing. It is amazing the pictures you evoke and the strength you and Ariana share. I am so sorry you lost your friend and then lost her daughter. Give Ashlynn an extra hug from another Bubbe.
    Love,
    Rosie

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