Tag Archives: child

Journal – past fears, future fears

 

Reading about Huntington’s
Brings back memories of caregiving
The stress, the pain, the joy, the pain, the guilt
The pain, the pain
My heart aches, it’s full of love for her
But I’ve got nowhere to put it.
She knew what she meant to us.
We told her we loved her.
Remember her calling “I love you” to our backs as we left
When she finally managed to get her tongue around the words
Was it three years ago that we lost her?
Is that all?
Is that a lot?
The wound has reopened
And it feels like she’s still in the nursing home
I’m once again feeling that terrible weight
“I have to visit her, it’s been a while.”
Seeing her crumpled up
Like an empty can.

Sitting in my car
The car she gave me
The car she loved so much
She would still ask after that car
Say things like, I’m glad you have it now.
I would sit in the cab
In the nursing home parking lot
Stare at my young hands
Resting on the wheel, just where hers did
Wonder whose hands they were
Building courage, every time
To go see her
For her sake, to go see her
Because of what she did for me
Because she gave me so much joy
Because we laughed together in that car
Getting pizza, renting movies
She drove me to college in that car for a year
We gave a rides to a pathetic classmate of mine
Mom scolded me for not talking nice about her behind her back
Although we were both exhausted by her unending need.
I would sit in that car
Alone now
Behind the wheel now
Despair gnawing on my brain
Dread gnawing on my gut
Knowing I would have to face her again
Face her dying again
Face her confused tears again
Watch her cough and choke again
Her hands clenched into cold blue granite
Argue away her demands for ice cream, diet coke, diet coke, one more diet coke
They said only two cokes mom… okay I’ll sneak you one more
In my childhood I said yes ma’am
I obeyed without question
It was my joy to obey
She accepted me well; I never rebelled against her
Until she was dying
Then
I finally learned to tell her no
I’d spend an hour
Either fielding her demands
Or talking her down from a mental precipice
On good days, I just got to listen
As she rambled through her own fanciful mind
Picking gems here and there for me to examine
Her imagination truly unfettered.
Every day hurt.

I’m going to have to go through it all
All of it
Again.
The spiral is coming back around
And points this way.
It’s still far off
Barely visible on the horizon.

Well
I’ve done things I’m afraid of before.
I’ve gone to the dentist
I went and went until I wasn’t afraid
I’ve taken the worst they can throw at me
And trounced that fear.
I’ve ridden roller coasters
I’ve jumped from great heights
I’ve walked alone down dark hallways with the lights off.
I visited mom.
I can face fears.
I can face reality.
I can face grisly horrors
I can face and embrace the darkness.
Shit happens.
We all gotta die.
We all gotta lose someone.
It’s okay to be scared
But being scared is a waste of precious time.
I am strong
I am brave
I can take a lot of fucking punishment.
I can take a lot of grief.
I can take a lot of burden.
I’ve been there.
I will be there again.
I’ve been well taught
How to bear things with stoicism and grace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Journal – the best compliments

I realized I’ve been hiding my real writings recently.  Oops, bad Sarah. No secrets. Be open.

It sure was comfortable while it lasted, haha.

 

Something nice to muse upon… what is the best compliment you ever received?

 


I was watching old home movies
I saw mom laughing again
The elegance in her hands
Her purity

Kid me came up to her with the camera
I said, “What are your thoughts on life?”
“I’m for it,” she quipped.
“What are your thoughts on death?”
“Also for it.”
Her philosophy would be tested and proved
later in life,
later in death.
She may not have known this word for it,
But she was very Tao.

I always saw mom in me
Her philosophical side,
Her creativity
Her crazies
Her acceptance.

The best compliment I ever received
Was from friends who never really knew mom
They told me I was just like Dad.
Something I had never considered before.
But once I did I knew it was true.

I got his outrageous side,
His caring
His extroversion
His stoicism
His sense of humor.

Both were nonconformist
Both were strong
Both were smart
Both were brave
Both were loving.

I am lucky, so lucky
To have had such parents
I am lucky to have a family
Bound tightly together in common tragedy
I know true tribalism
It’s wonderful
To know who you are
To have a place
To have a role.

Everyone has ever been so good to me
As good as they knew how
They have taught me how to be good to others
Some lessons better than others
I am grateful for everyone
I try to deserve what I have
But not too hard.
Trying too hard to deserve something
Makes you deserve it less,
grow unbalanced.
I must love me
If I am to love others.
Odd that being in the presence of my heroes
Should make me feel so small
We spend our time
Building each other up
And I always leave
Feeling smaller
Undeserving
These people are my people
My family
I love them unconditionally
And they me
I just have to love myself
Unconditionally.

The cat gave me a compliment today.
She waited outside the shower for half an hour
I take long showers
And when I came out
She purred, happy to see me
Rubbed against my wet leg
Knowing she would get wet
Deciding it was worth it.

My sister tells me to come visit.
I say, I have a nasty cold.
She says, then I’ll make you soup.
The joy of my visit outweighs
The physical discomfort I bring.

Love should not be measured in sacrifice.
The pleasure should outweigh the pain
By a grand margin.
However, it can be a small proof
Here and there
Little heartwarming gestures.
Someone gives you roses
You know they gave up some time and money for them.
Someone gives you food
They made just for you.
Someone reads your blog
Every day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Defenders

 

Ba-thump.
His infant daughter gripped his fingertip with her whole hand. Linda was small, fragile, beautiful, everything in the world. All he wanted was to protect her.
Ba-thump.
Looking directly into Mary’s eyes for the first time. He’d never had the courage to talk to her until now. Her eyes were pthalo blue.
Ba-thump.
Speeding around the curves on his motorcycle, feeling the freedom, roaring wind in his ears drowning out all grief.
Ba-thump.
Standing before the congregation to deliver his final sermon. Odd that he would be nervous now, considering he’d stood here many times before with ease, even boredom.
Ba-thump.
Coming under the blankets just as his mom opened the door. Had she seen? She grabbed his laundry and left nonchalantly. No way to tell. She was a master of polite pretense.
Ba-thump.
Kissing Mary’s lips at their wedding.
Ba-thump.
Kissing Mary’s brow at her funeral.
Ba-thump.
The car rolling over him.
Ba-thump.
Cold.
Ba-thump.
He hadn’t bungee jumped yet. Linda had begged him until he promised she could go, but only if he came along to supervise. She was more brave than he’d ever been.
Ba-thump.
In utero, everywhere pulsing. The voices of his parents carried through to him, muddled by protective walls of warm flesh. “Let’s sing for him,” his father said. His mother laughed. Soon the comforting vibrations of familiar song thrummed into his core. He hadn’t understood what he’d heard at the time, but he recognized the hymn now.
His heart skipped a beat.
Instead of catching, his heart missed the next beat as well.
This pavement was cruel. He was frightened. It hurt. Something was very, very wrong with his body. It felt unbearably still, without a heartbeat.
Linda. He needed to stay here for Linda. He willed his heart into action one more time.
Ba…thum.
Vision flickering. As his consciousness mingled red with the motor oil and spread down the road, somebody took his hand. Maybe it was impossible, but it felt like his father’s grip.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Miles Away

 

In another country today

Someone is bent over a dead body

In another country today

Broken buildings and scrambles for water

Miles away from where we are happy

We are devastated.

 

Merry Christmas, children

Open your presents

And know how much you are loved.

Your parents, your family, everyone is here

Eat until we are sick

Laugh together until we cry

This is the best way to live

 

It’s a lucky day, children

We found a scrap of bread. Take my share

And know how much you are loved.

Unsure where your father is, your siblings

Sick from not eating

Never let them see you cry

This is the only way to survive

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Proud

 

Dad said he’s proud of me.

I well up inside at the words.

What the hell is he proud of me for.

And why should it matter?

I’m fucking thirty.

Part of me thinks, oh Dad, I don’t need that anymore.

Part of me thinks, what have I done that’s any good?

Part of me thinks, I really am something, aren’t I.

And part of me deep down

A very early, primal part

Starts jumping up and down and clapping her hands.

 

I have no success in work

I have no success in art

I have no success in home making

I have no successful mate

I have no success in health or beauty.

I do moderately well in most things.

Proud?

Of me?

Just… generally?

How does a parent think?

Why does he feel proud?

Maybe he’s just happy I turned out okay

Maybe that’s all a good parent really hopes for.

And he was a good parent.

He still is.

A really wonderful parent.

I’m proud of him.