Tuesday, June 14, 2011

fighting the good fight


I’ve gone from financial devastation to physical ruin. I’m beginning to feel poisoned. A glimmer of hope in the form of insurance cards was put in the mail yesterday. We shall see how well things go after I procure a doctors appointment. She may take one look at me and prescribe cyanide and the BIG SLEEP.  
Everything hurts. It hurts to lift my arms. It hurts to lie down. It hurts to stand up. It hurts to walk. It hurts to breathe. It hurts to eat. Sneezes feel like I am ripping myself in half. I refuse to cough. My muscles feel bruised and things are swelling. My skin is red and puffy and things are oozing or sloughing or itching! And then when we do get to see our Clay, we have to endure the emotional knifing that is goodbye.
Still I get up. Still I smile and hold my daughter and hope that it’s enough to keep her from harm. My prayers are breathless desperate pleas in the dark of night as I lay exhausted and spent and aching. I lug library books from one room to the next and write the titles down every night because it is good for Kay to be a part of the reading program. I get us to events at the libraries, though it half kills me. We join the moms club in order to keep up her social life and mine, thought there is precious little of it. It pains me that there are moments I have to tell her to entertain herself because mommy has to pay bills, mommy has to do dishes, mommy has to balance the check book, mommy’s busy trying to keep the boat afloat so we don’t drown.  My daughter has taken up chores to be near me. She empties the silver ware from the basket in the dishwasher. She helps rinse the dishes with a hand scrubber of her own. She puts liners in the trash cans when I empty them. She feeds and waters Dobby, our dog. She turns on the water so I can water the tomatoes, the only things that seem to grow here. Maybe this fall we will do carrots or maybe we will lose the house. I don’t know. I can’t see past lunch, past the next event, past the next moment.
She comes with me and my brother to the house he is house sitting. We harvest the garden and are allowed to bring home the produce. I am looking for a cucumber sandwich recipe I had once that was a delicately flavored cream on soft bread. The birds are getting the tomatoes but the cucumbers are plentiful. The bell peppers will be ripe in few days and maybe Monday there will be strawberries. They have a rope hanging from a tree that Kay swings on and sings an off key lilting version of the Indiana Jones theme song. She lights up my heart and I can only hope some of the things we get to do light up hers. She loved the chickens at the library’s animal day. She loves the swimming trips to the local pools. She dives off the diving board in the deep end now while I bob by the side goggles on so we can see each other under the water. She is so beautiful.
Nothing makes up for the one we are missing. Clay is off being a supervisor doing amazing things that we all knew he was capable of. I worry less about him now but miss him more. “We are proud of you, more than you know.” I say over the phone. My voice breaks as I explain our troubles or as I tell him Kay was chosen for the special program at a blue ribbon school. She is on her way to success.
My heart is like fine powder, pulverized into near nothingness. I collect the pieces and sift them into a glass bottle and wait for it to mend. Things won’t always be thus, you know. Things will get better somehow. God will find another blessing to give us or another opportunity to send our way. It’s a matter of timing maybe, the right moment, the proper place. It will all happen as it is supposed to. I tell myself these things and read the little scriptures I’ve written and hung everywhere. I try to keep my spirits up. It is getting harder. I am more afraid now than ever but I cannot let it beat me. Not pain or fear or want or strife will take from me what is mine by right. I must endure. There is no other option.
Clay is on his own up there. A gas leak in the guest house meant he needed his own apartment and so we found one. He bikes to work. My brave soldier boy fighting a different kind of war. There is no telling if we will ever end up like a normal family or if this is it. ‘For better or worse richer or poorer sickness and health’ but to that we have added together or apart. We are as we have always been, apart. When he went to college we were separated, when I went to college, when I moved, and then a glimmer of hope. One semester we spent as neighbors ready to make the commitment and discover what life held for us but his sinister mother plotted his downfall and so like Romeo and Juliet we were once again at a distance from each other. My mother worried for me. I worried for him. I’ve spent over half my life fighting to be with him. Over half my life.
I’ve fought all my life for everything I have and still I have no way of hanging on to what is supposed to be mine. I look at my daughter and know that she is with me temporarily. I wanted so much to give her a less complicated life. But perhaps it is the complications that make us more interesting. Maybe it is the sweet agony we must endure from time to time to be worthwhile people over all. I wish I knew. I wish I could say yes this is the way it is and that is how we must face it but there is no right or wrong way to handle it you just get up each morning and pray you don’t fall down and charge through half blind. These dark woods will end somewhere. Maybe a clearing maybe a meadow maybe a desert or an ocean but they can’t go on forever at some point there has to be a fulfillment of at least one of our hopes. Right?

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