Thursday, February 10, 2011

Does This Make Sense?

I am alive... and my friends' 9 year old is not.

I am achy and shattered and unable to get comfortable on Douglas, the world's most comfortable couch.

Friends and neighbors have brought us dinners and salads and desserts, and none of them have been chocolate.

There are no degrees at all in Chicago as Little Cuter waits for her bus in the gloom.

Big Cuter has a broken foot, TBG can't shake his cold, and I am perforated.

The sun comes up every morning and I am here to see it.... from a wheelchair, through a window, frightened to take the walker and cruise the backyard.

My bookshelves are full, JES has sent me an Amazon gift card, the library is around the corner and I cannot concentrate on anything longer than Dear Abby.

Billy Collins read a poem just for me, his fiancee commented in The Burrow, and I cannot come up with anything but whining and complaining and wondering to share with you.

Does it make any sense?  Not really.  Is it my reality?  Absolutely.  Can I alter any of it?  Perhaps. 

What do I know for sure?  I am surrounded by the most wonderful friends and family, strangers and acquaintances, organizations and emailers and letter writers and card senders and commenters and old friends who check in by phone. And I know that with that much support, with all this encouragement and enthusiasm, with the help of those who love me, things will, once again, begin to make sense.

For now, I stack my days one upon the other, tea cup on saucer, trying not to make a clink.


  1. The steps forward toward anything are never...well, straightforward. That irks the likes of me and you. We hear of Gabby's progress and tell ourselves her miracles march ahead at a steady pace, but we know that is not the way of the world; we stop often and stutter lots. We take a step and then sit down as if we're stumped. The next move isn't two steps, it's six. That's our wiring. That's how we roll and how we don't.

    A big sighing exhale. Some quiet gathering for you and each of your loved ones who have raced so hard for weeks to get to this moment.

    I love it that you name all your accustomed things. Hugs to Douglas.

  2. I was sad reading about the walker and not going into the backyard. For someone who is so active, that must be really hard, but you do need to get fresh air. It will do a world of good for you to breathe in and if you need to cry or as I've said before, scream, do what you need to do.

    When a friend's child was abducted I came home and screamed in my house when no one was there. It was the only way I could get the pain out. And it made me feel so much better. Women have a tendency to hold a lot in 'cause we are supposed to be the nurturers, but you are going through something many of us will never go through; so do what you need to do to move forward. If it's venting, screaming or just hitting a pillow--do it. And we will all be here holding your hand along the way.

    Megan xxx

  3. In the absence of chocolate, I am sending you a favorite poem. Wish the author could read it to you...I got to hear him read it years ago!

    William Stafford: A Ritual To Read To Each Other

    If you don't know the kind of person I am
    and I don't know the kind of person you are
    a pattern that others made may prevail in the world
    and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.

    For there is many a small betrayal in the mind,
    a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break
    sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood
    storming out to play through the broken dyke.

    And as elephants parade holding each elephant's tail,
    but if one wanders the circus won't find the park,
    I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty
    to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.

    And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,
    a remote important region in all who talk:
    though we could fool each other, we should consider--
    lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark.

    For it is important that awake people be awake,
    or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;
    the signals we give--yes or no, or maybe--
    should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.

  4. Yes, it will again make sense but probably never again as it once did. It just takes time and rushing it won't make it go faster.

  5. There are far more than 97 people following you now--I am one of the many who read every day but "following" only adds to my email glut, so I don't. I found your blog only last week with a search for "Billy Collins," and since then you are much in my thoughts. Thank you for bringing the day-to-day details of your recovery to light and making the tragic event more significant and personal to all of us. Thank you for sharing your fears and your uncertainties with the world: I believe it brings us all closer together, somehow. I send my warmth, encouragement, and very best poetic thoughts your way every day.

  6. A/B
    As I lay on my bed this evening responding to your post about if any of this makes sense. I do not know. The counselor I saw after my successful heart transplant tried to put my life changing operation into perspective for me through numerous therapy sessions but I still do not understand sometimes why I am still here and why other transplant recipients in my local area and the rest of the country are dying waiting for a suitable transplant match. I just try to honor donors such as my own (David) and other donors like Christina Taylor for what they did. I know I will use my volunteer day at my place of business to honor Christina Taylor's birthday on September 11th this year and every year thereafter and make sure my salary is donated to her foundation established in her memory.
    Finally, A/B you have so much to offer the world through your daily musings of your life. You are a truly gifted writer. Thank you for sharing with us this journey of yours. God bless you.

  7. Just checking in to let you know I am sending good vibes to you today...many, many people are pulling for you. You do have a gift in your writing...Your thoughts shine right through. Blessings to you and here's hoping you will feel sunshine on your face today.

  8. Want to add my voice to Heidi's re following you without following you. I check your blog daily and I hold you in my heart 24/7. In the 1980's, someone very close to me was paralyzed in a car accident, and I lived with this person, that long journey to create a new life in a body and world that no longer made sense to him. So the mix of emotions, thoughts and experiences you share with us, I honor and witness ... and see as a very necessary and healthy process of reclaiming, bit by bit, your life and body.

    Studies have demonstrated that writing/journaling about a traumatic event in one's life can bring great healing and transformation. So I hope you will keep writing, and not worry about whether it's clever or inspiring or funny, in terms of we who read your blog. We aren't here to be impressed by how you write; we are here because we are impressed by who you have been, who you are, and who you are becoming. And we want to offer our presence out of respect, compassion, affection - and in the hope, that in some small way, it helps.

  9. I might speak for more than one when I say go ahead and complain and wonder and whine, we'll listen. We'll try to offer some words of wisdom or encouragement, knowing that they may or may not help. We'll support you and we'll cheer you on.

    Do try to get some fresh air, it's going to be a beautiful weekend here in the Old Pueblo...

  10. I'm sure the days ahead will be tough, and while I don't see what you are saying as whining and/or complaining... you have every right to be doing so!

    I hope the coming days get easier for you!

  11. Stack the cups and saucers. It is enough; and that's what you do for now. Tomorrow, or tomorrow's tomorrow, you may do something different. But for now, stacking and appreciating the fact that you have dishes to stack is enough.
    Raising my glass to you, a/b!


  12. I hope that when you have recovered (to the extent that that is possible) you will write a book about this.

    There are so many strands—our violent culture and refusal to deal seriously with easy access to lethal weapons, our refusal to provide services for the seriously mentally ill, the ugly right wing tendency to demonize government—and the inexplicable,the impossible to come to terms with tragedy of Christina’s death (what great writers have dealt with from time immemorial).

    When I was dealing with tragedy in my life, I found solace in Homer’s Iliad. I know this may sound a little weird, but Homer’s stoicism really helped.

    Anyway, you are a wonderful writer and I hope you write about this at some later point when you feel ready.

  13. Dear a/b, here's my quote for you today:

    "Grief is not a straight path... I will be with you through the ups and downs."

    We are all here to listen to when you are having a bad day, and to rejoice when you are honored by a poet. We will pray for you, pray for Gabby, and for Christina's family every day.

    The Next Stage is right, you should write a book. I was hoping it would be something like "Letters to G'ma", but that one might have to wait.

    Lastly, Nance pointed out to me I became your 100th follower! Hooray!

  14. You are on the healing path. The answers may never come. The acceptance may never be achieved. But you are becoming graced with great wisdom through all of this. Continue stacking days one upon the other.

  15. I don't know if things will make sense, but you will find a way through it somehow, I know you will. You are an amazing woman.

    Also? Tucson definitely has some kind of nasty cold bug going around because when I was there last week, I brought something hideous back with me.

    Take care, sweetie.

  16. Took the ninos to the dinner portion of the alumni event last night. (Miss 5 did OK, Mr. 3...well...not as well until Mr. Daly stepped in and played Grandpa). Anyway, turns out that several of us started checking in on The Burrow just because we enjoy reading it! Crummy way to gain an audience, but We are glad that We are now aware of your blog. This also means that you may be inundated with chocolate in short order. Be careful what you wish for...anyway, the gluten-free (coconut-flour based - still very decadent) chocolate mocha mini cupcakes in heart shapes were presented to the cul-de-sac kids this evening. I may be tempted to make more later in the week when I get back from DC. Do tell me if the chocolate avalanche doesn't materialize, as I love having an excuse to bake and the spouse guy (we'll call him "Delta" now, as in "Airlines") is never home on the weekends, so we roam. P.S. I got a part-time nanny. Hurray!


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