Showing posts from May, 2014

I am not resigned

Tomorrow is May 31st. It will mark a year since my father died.

A year ago...can it really have been a year? Has it been more than a year since I heard his voice? Since I saw him smile? Since I held his hand while he drew his last breaths? Wiped his face as his skin cooled, watched as the nurse listened for a heartbeat that no longer echoed?

Does grief ever ease? The loss is greater now that I've had time to measure it, to consider it. To feel it. For most of my life, I believed the world would end when he died. He was the foundation of my life. He was the tree whose roots encircled the whole world. He was the shelter I sought when the storms were too frightening to bear.

Every moment without him in the world seems pointless. Tragedies are deeper. Loneliness more bitter. Sorrow more profound. How can anything happen without him? How can the sun rise? How can it set? How can the rain fall? How can I breathe?

But the sun does rise, and it sets. The clouds gather. Rain falls. And I g…


I seem to spend a lot of time this way - sleepless, and alone. It is Friday night and I am very tired. It has been a long week. Earlier this month, my rheumatologist prescribed prednisone in a low dose, and I have been feeling better, but the last few days have been physically difficult. I've been very busy at work - and thankfully, very able to tolerate that level of activity. But not pausing to rest took its toll. By Wednesday night, I was unable to keep food down. I think it was a combination of medication and over-work, with a nice dose of stress thrown in. I was sick for most of that night, woke up sick the next day, and ended up working from home just in case it was contagious. By that afternoon, I felt better.

I went to work this morning and managed to put in a full day in the office. That's a good thing, and it's probably due to the steroid. The problem is that steroids aren't a long-term treatment. The rheumatologist said I could continue this course of treatm…

Kill or cure?

One summer, when I was about six years old, I was wading barefoot in the spring below the house when I stepped on a shard of glass. It pierced my foot about two inches below my fourth and fifth toes on the right. Because the water was so cold, I didn't notice right away - it felt like I'd stepped on a sharp stone. I kept wading, kept playing, until the ache became persistent. Sitting on the stone steps that led down to the spring, I saw a small cut which had been washed clean by the water. It hurt when I pressed on it, but there was very little blood. I put my shoes back on and went on with my day. I didn't tell anyone. I knew only too well what happened when you told people about things like that. They wanted to probe around in the wound and make sure nothing was left in there. In my short life, I'd already had countless splinters dug out of various appendages, and I was not eager to experience that again. Besides, it was just a little cut.

I kept quiet, but the pain …


I never thought I'd spend so much of my time writing about pain. Looking back over the years I've been blogging - since 2008, though those old posts don't exist anymore - I can see that by far, most of my posts have been about pain, either emotional or physical. I used to write about emotional pain - the result of abusive relationships, loss, and sexual violence. These days I'm more caught up in physical pain, though emotional pain still has it's unfortunate place.

When I was a kid, I mostly ignored pain. I was raised that way. If I complained of a headache I was invariably told, "you're too young to get headaches" and I went on with whatever I was doing. Obvious sickness received whatever treatment was necessary. My parents were not cruel, but they were practical; they knew that working on a farm was physically difficult and that injuries would occur and that pain would be a fact of life. They trained me and my siblings to work through and push past …


Yesterday, I stood on top of a hill sprinkled with tiny yellow buttercups that danced and nodded in the breeze. The sky was bright blue with white ripples of cloud. Down the hill, families had gathered at the playground and the air echoed with children's laughter. On the path that wound around the hill's crest, an occasional jogger or dog walker passed. I watched and waited. Since I moved far away from home, I've developed a habit of searching faces for ones that are familiar. At first, I was "seeing" people I knew everywhere. In the past year or so, that's pretty much stopped. I've settled in, I guess. I've stopped looking for friends and family in the strangers around me. But not yesterday.
Yesterday, I was hoping against hope to see a familiar face. So much so that I almost convinced myself that I had. But my heart knew I was wrong, even when my eyes were convinced otherwise. So I stood, and I waited, and let the wind blow over me. It was a beautif…


I woke up this morning feeling down. My eyes were swollen and gritty. My mouth and throat were bone dry. My head throbbed. No, I wasn't hungover. That's what a normal morning feels like these days. But today was outside normal; in addition to the usual pops, creaks, and groans, the joints in my feet, ankles, hands and wrists were swollen, red, and achy. Six hours later and the application of ice, heat, and long periods of rest, and they are a little better. I can walk without too much pain. I can type, which means I can write, and writing brings me joy.

I've been thinking a lot lately about joy. It's been missing from my life for a while now. Happiness comes and goes, but joy has been absent entirely. Until the last couple of days.

Just by chance, I happened to cruise across the animal shelter website on Tuesday night. I look once or twice a month, because you never know what you'll find, but I wasn't specifically looking for an animal to adopt. After all, I al…