The catch-up--on laundry, on dishes, on the dust on the floor, on work files, on reading, on living. I have seen almost no one, socially, over the last three months, I just haven't been able to put on the brave face. I've limited my engagements to that of lawyers (making wills), therapy (writing notes, no doubt on how insane I must seem sometimes, ranting in her office), and to the sheer will of getting out of bed every morning at a different time, never knowing if I will sleep through the night, or if a blog entry I'm toying with or a biography I'm reading and trying to see through, will keep me awake until all hours. The off-kilter sleep is a real killer for me. As in previous posts, I am all about routine, and having it disrupted is a huge issue for me (see therapy in the first few lines....I must work on this).
So I battle to keep the sanity, the sleep, the office hours of a fully-engaged worker, and the duties that so often befall the oldest child of the family, all that paperwork, organization (laughable really. I'm carrying some of the most important paperwork I've ever been entrusted with in a wine bag, have been for months. My lawyer gasped when I took out the bag at my last appointment with him. Then shook his head.
"Carolyn, you must devise an organizational system for all of this".
His secretary's concerned look, then her comment;
"Howard, she's overwhelmed"
And I felt just that).
I managed to get through that meeting and hold myself in check until I was out the door of their office, then I dissolved on the front steps, people looking, I'm used to it.
Fast forward to this Saturday, yesterday, my first church visit since my dad's death. I was entrusted with my nephew for the afternoon, and dutifully, he came with me, a knapsack of toy cars, plastic monsters, and pokeman cards to keep him busy during a quick Saturday afternoon mass (Oh, if all my demons could fit so neatly into a little bag.....)
We began our visit in lighting prayer candles for the souls of those we miss. One for my nephew's Papa, my dad, one for my dear friend G. My friend A.'s sister. My grandparents. All in a nice row, keeping each other company. I brought R., my nephew, over to the St. Jude statue, the prayer spot for 'hopeless causes'. I told R. we were going to pray for Papa. I started, saying it aloud for R. to hear, normally I just 'think' it. "Dear God, please take care of my father, he suffered so much. Please make sure he is safe and in a happy place."
My nephew, with all the perspective and magic children bring to situations, was much more direct with God: "Hi, I want Papa to open his eyes, and be awake, and be alive again. Thank you". I teared up at this. I want that too R. Only without the trach, G-tube, and the horror of these spring months. Without the intensive chemo-radial schedule that defined my father's last summer, a summer that was warm and lovely and should have been spent in the backyard, on a lounge chair, with the latest issue of Macleans.
I silently cried in front of St. Jude. In front of the other church-goers as we walked back to our pew. I took my Dad's card out of my wallet, and my friend G's, and I propped them up on the pew. R. took this pokemon card and propped it up beside it.
He played with his cards while the adults took in the homily, the standard prayers, and when it came time to say the Lord's Prayer, it was no longer that dull verse I listened to over a PA system in public school, it had meaning, it had specialness. It had been the verse that had seen my Dad out of this world, into the other.
I cried all through church on Saturday. I had one lone kleenex, which I held on to tightly.
The sermon was, fittingly, about wonder. Wondrous it is, a new thought is always 'wondrous' to me. The idea of the other horizon, wondrous. For the priest it could be a glass of water, the wonder of the church itself; if we feel this wondrous in the building, we should feel even more wondrous outside of it.
I think about wonder as I try to quell anxiety. I think about our simple planet, us complex creatures, making our way along, to our eventual, unpredictable, unknowable death date, that we pass every year, with out thought, a future anniversary that we will not need to celebrate.
I've had many up and down days the last thirteen (that number again) days. I've had days of prayers of gratitude for delivering my Dad. I've had moments of utter despair, ruminating on my failures as his daughter, the fracture sometimes evident in our relationship a source of real pain. I have moments of pride and peace, thinking about my dedication to making his hospital stay more bear-able, of the conversations we had, the ones that will last me the rest of my life. The poems, the stories, the spirits hovering nearby. The pink-and-silver bird alighting on his window sill, peering in one day, a gentle warning, I look at it as. A symbol of peace. Does Ontario even have pink birds?
I continue to catch-up on my own neglectful spirit work, nourish the part of my soul that wants to take a nap. Escape, run into oblivion, but no matter how far I run, I stop, in the throbbing stillness, finally, of my head, but my troubles somehow kept up. Not to banish them is my goal, but rather, just to tame them. To stop the coming from fear, which is where I live right now. Fear, the cracks of only slivered light shafting in. Tasks that I attempt often end before they begin.
I'm grateful, even for this rambling blog post, to let people know how I am in one fell swoop;
healthy (and grateful for that)
up and down
a little overwhelmed.
I continue to write, not so much to share, but to get this out of me.
It is, as Capote said, haunting.
It has its own life, too.
I make plans, plans for life. Too see M. whom I am missing far too much at this moment, about which I can do nothing for the missing until I see him, late summer. I make plans to see L., to allow her radiant company to pull me out of this, out of me.
I put my fears aside, and contiue to go forth in this life.
What choice do I have, surrounded by all the wonder?