The phone rings, and it’s Mom.
“Yeah, so Krystal called, and Cody’s back in the hospital…they think it might be just a matter of days”
“Yeah, so your Dad and I are leaving Friday morning to go down, I think I told you that, but wanted to make sure…we’ll keep you in the loop”
“So, how was your day, honey?”
“Ah, Mom, doesn’t even matter”
….there were a few more words…but they seem to be little more than a buzz…
My cousin is dying.
It’s not fucking fair.
It’s not fucking fair.
I made some cinnamon streusel bread today, needing a little pick-me-up after the last few days of feeling like trash, between being sick and being in a depression.
I actually got a couple of household chores done today, as well, surprisingly, which means my energy is starting to come back, so this is a good thing.
I’ve kind of bottomed out now, though, which is not a shock. I know I need more rest to get well, I just hate this worn-out feeling. I really do.
Anyway, tonight, as I was getting ready to put the loaf of bread in a big ziploc… I suddenly heard in my head –
“Have you tried the bread? It’s good bread…”
In a voice I haven’t heard in years.
Ahhh, the voice of Ren. That infamous Asthma-hound chihuahua.
But, it was his voice as interpreted by one of my beloved Chosen Family. A “little brother” from my past, who loved Ren and Stimpy as much as I did.
And a pang went through my heart.
Because I don’t get to hear his voice anymore. He died a few years ago, taken by an inoperable cancerous brain tumor. He was smart, funny, fiercely protective of those he loved, and he was my friend, Shane.
And I fucking miss him.
And yes, Shane, I tried the bread.
It is good bread, dammit.
In between one heartbeat and the next, everything can change.
Las Vegas has taught us that.
The hurricanes that have been wreaking such devastation this year have taught us that.
All of the tragedies, the deaths of beloved musicians, actors, have taught us that.
I am not going to preach about gun laws, or about politics at all, because that’s not my way.
What I’m going to say is this.
When my Youngerdaughter was born, she was as blue as a smurf, and lucky to take her first breath.
She came into this world with her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck twice, with a granny knot tied in it.
When she was a year & a half old, she fell from her crib & cracked her skull. Again, she was lucky to draw breath through the following night, & to survive.
In college, she survived a car wreck that the police don’t understand how she escaped with only a couple of small scrapes. The car was crushed, she was not.
She graduated from college magna cum laude.
Three times this young woman’s life hung in the balance, and could’ve swung either way.
Everything could’ve changed – between one heartbeat and the next.
I cherish every breath she takes.
Just as I do for each of my children, & each member of my family, both blood & chosen.
I take nothing for granted.
And this is what I say to everyone out there, lighting up the media, both news and social. Instead of screaming opinions (which, let’s be honest, you can’t change someone’s opinion when they’re really set on it, anyway), try to be a part of the change you wish to see.
Here is what I am going to do:
Pray for Peace
Give help where I can, to those I am able.
Vote my conscience
Hope for the best
Work for the rest
Take nothing for granted
Yesterday I worked on my kitchen.
I’ve been tearing it apart for days, preparing to repaint, ripping off wallpaper, scrubbing walls, repairing busted plaster, cleaning up old grease & fuzz (can we all say GREASE FIRE?? Geezus) off the tops of the double oven & cupboards.
And, after 10 hours of painting, cleaning blinds from the windows, moving fridge & stove repeatedly, I ended up with this.
It might not look like much difference, but it really is. It’s now all a soft, dove gray, except right behind the sink, where I’m working today to put the back splash.
Far from finished, but I’m getting to it. There’s a lot more painting to be done. The cabinets will be getting painted as well, but the doors have to be removed, the pulls taken off & replaced. And I’m doing it alone, so it takes time.
And….. I had a phone call yesterday that – fucked me up for a while.
My mom called.
I have such trouble typing this, because I haven’t really let myself deal emotionally with it, yet. And I can’t allow it to take me over right now, either. So I have to push it down, bury it in a box deep in the back of my brain, for now… Until I can think about it without losing my shit.
My mom’s baby brother’s cancer is back.
My Uncle J’s esophageal cancer, which we all thought was in remission. has come back – with a vengeance. It has spread. To lungs, back, bone.
There’s a period at the end of that sentence.
I’m leaving that for now.
My head is so full of pain and rage about this… And I can’t.
I won’t let the pain and rage win.
I’m going back to the kitchen.
It was a tumor causing the paralysis.
I’ll miss you, you little shit.
And I’m sorry we didn’t have more time……
I hate to sleep anymore.
And yet, I crave the black, unconscious depths.
The problem is… The dreaming.
I can’t stand the dreams.
Falling into slumber, I dream of happy times, with someone to love, someone who cares for me, and revels in being with me.
You’d think this would make me happy, right?
But, it doesn’t.
Because…I wake, knowing it’s false.
And I have to go through my day, knowing it’s fake, only imaginary, and the crushing reality of that aches in my chest, drags in my bones, and clogs my throat with tears I can’t allow to pass.
Love passes me by in the night, teasing, mocking, showing me what I long for, but can never grasp.
So, I force myself to exhaustion each night, punishing my body and mind, pushing myself to my limits of endurance, hoping that by the time I hit the bed, I’ll be too worn to dream, too tired to see those visions behind my eyelids.
I walk on my treadmill each night till my legs scream & sweat rolls down my face. Shower, eat the bare minimum to tide myself over til morning, then read til my eyes cross & I can no longer focus on the page.
The last two nights I’ve sat up til 2am…just to push myself to that brink where I knew I would tip over the edge into the abyss, falling into black unconsciousness…not dreaming, just existing in a dreamless hover until the alarm rang 5 hours later.
I don’t remember my dreams from those nights…what a blessing.
I don’t know how long I’ll have to continue this cycle…
But I can’t let myself dream.
I can’t continue to be tormented with things I will never have…