Grief, Part Three (the Hopeful Part)

guilherme-stecanella-366390-unsplashIf it seems like I’ve given up, that’s not true.

I’m exploring all the regular stuff (medication, therapy, extra rest, a new mattress) alongside less typical treatments like dynamic neural retraining, placebo meditation, Acceptance and Commitment therapy, warm water therapy.

It’s been hard to blog because I can’t seem to think about anything else lately other than how crummy I feel. Even when I try to write about something else, something fun, it only reminds me that I have no energy for it. In some ways I am being reminded of the summer of … oh, 2006 maybe? When I had no energy. That was due to Luvox, an OCD med, and it was terrible-terrible-terrible, but it didn’t last forever.

I know that chronic means ongoing, but I am excited about all the different opportunities to work toward health. And I do not forget that miracles happen. I am in a weird season, I know, and I thank you for hanging in there with me.

My brother is getting married a week from today– it should be a lot of fun. I rented the most gorgeous dress, all navy blue and sequins, and I’ll be reading a poem I’ve written for the bride and groom. The writing conference a couple weekends ago was lovely and life-giving, so delicious to be in the presence of creative believers. I’ve been enjoying inspirational videos online too and wanted to share the one below with you. I’ll warn you that the music is a bit annoying, but the various speeches will give you so much strength!

Prufrock’s Spoons

Prufrock’s Spoons
by Jackie Lea Sommers & T.S. Eliot

I have measured out my life with coffee spoons.

And so have I.
Not enough spoons for a week like this one.
Not enough for this month, this year.
This is our unit of measurement,
me,
J. Alfred,
or maybe Eliot himself,
the tired ones everywhere
who use the word chronic to describe
something unseen.

Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.
See the muscles spasm
along both sides of the spine.
Feel the sweat drip
down the neck of a body that can’t cool.
The girl in the bed
can’t move
or think.
She is like the night.
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table
Yes. Like that.
And I have known the arms already, known them all—
Arms that are braceleted and white and bare
And throbbing with pain
like a subwoofer
underneath the pale, freckled skin.
Shall I part my hair behind?   Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.
Those were days of endless spoons.
I could throw them from me like candy in a parade.
I was younger and in love with
everything.
Now I watch
for any glint of metal,
any strobe of silver,
for my collection of spoons,
the currency of this girl
underwater.
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.
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Holding Both in Such Weak Hands

flare
verb
to suddenly burn or shine brightly

flare
noun
an exacerbation of a chronic disease

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Can’t write much today because my wrists have been in pain for almost 24 hours now. Just trying to rest: pared down my to-do list to just three things, this blog post being one of them. Earlier today, I would not have been able to type it out. This evening, I am a little better.

I want to shine bright, make a difference, be a leader in thought and action. Sometimes it can feel so impossible with a body that feels like a leaky bucket: hard to store up energy when the most mundane things seem to leech power. Some days I feel like a rag that has been wrung out.

I know I am blessed with resources, privileged: I can afford pain meds and peppermint oil, my employer works with me and not against me, I have a support system that could make a king envious.

So, somehow, I get to do both. I get to flare up in multiple ways. Perhaps not at the same time.

But then again, with all I’ve learned of vulnerability: maybe so.

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Photo by Blake Cheek on Unsplash