Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Why I Stayed at Home

Mark Kelly is in town tonight.  He'll be talking about his book, and selling the book, and signing the book. He's being interviewed by Ted Robbins, my friend from NPR, the one who put me on All Things Considered.  It's being held at Centennial Hall, on the UofA campus, and the tickets are free. 

I'm staying home.

Several friends invited me to join them, and were gracious when I declined.  Tickets were held for me and I turned them back.  Home delivery was offered and still I said "No."  I'm taking care of myself tonight.

As TBG reminded me, I'd asked him to record Diane Sawyer's interview with the Kelly's last month. They were inspiring at a time when I needed a bit of a push.  Now, weeks later, I still haven't seen it.  .

Yet I'm carrying the image of Gabby's smile in my heart each and every day. When I resist getting up from the  couch, preferring to moan and ask for help, I think of Mark encouraging Gabby and I get up and get my own damn drink.  I don't like it, but I do it.  It's the right thing to do.  Both of our husbands tell us so.  We're lucky to have them, although it doesn't always feel like the blessing that it is.

Every once in a while it's nice to be able to whine.  I have the words to do that.  Gabby doesn't.  I cannot imagine what that must be like.  Typing to you, talking to my friends, reassuring my family,.. I am an active participant in all of it.  Hearing myself say it aloud, whatever it may be, takes the edge off... just a little... enough to make it bearable when it feels like my head is going to explode.

Sometimes the tears just don't stop coming.

I was worried that  knew that listening to Mark would be hard.  Hearing him talk about flying to Gabby's side, describing  his pride in her accomplishments, his rueful smile when he tells the audience that Gabby used to do most of the talking in their house and that now..... well, denizens, tears would be the least of it for me.  When I heard him say it on tv last month I was gasping for air.

I'm just not ready to do that in public.  I don't know if I ever will be ready to do that in public.  There are certain pieces of this event which can be typed to you, who choose to be here, who've watched this unfold, who know me.  I can't put it out for the world to see.

There is no way on God's green earth that I could be within 100' of  Mark Kelly tonight and not begin to cry.  He sat with me in my hospital room.  He hugged my husband and I watched them draw strength from one another.  He and My True Friend discussed space travel at more than a casual level.  When I think of that I return to my damaged self, in bed and en-pillowed and drugged, surrounded by love in the first few days after my brush with violence, aching in my body and my soul, feeling such loss and such devotion .....

I'm typing through a veil of tears. It's misty, not drippy, kind of blurry and definitely the cusp of something much bigger and deeper.  If I'm going to let it out, it's not going to happen in front of 3000 people and an astronaut.

I'm doing just fine, snuggled next to TBG on Douglas, typing to you.

That's why I stayed at home.


  1. Beautifully well said and it is very easy to understand where you're coming from.

    May God Bless You...

  2. I know everyone will understand if you are not there. If going isn't going to help you heal, then you are right to do what's right for YOU. I know if I went to this event, I would cry too. Still thinking about it all makes my heart race. Even now, I'm on the verge of tears. For someone like me to be disconnected from it and to feel it so emotionally, then for you, it's much stronger. I cannot imagine the pain you still feel. All I can do is send you a warm, loving hug.

    Your friends have your back and that includes your virtual friends too.

    Megan xxx

  3. I'm sending you a hug too! You are so amazing!

  4. It's good to read that you know yourself and have control of your own life not letting anybody else draw your boundaries or create expectations for you. To me that is powerful

  5. I was there and I wondered whether you had hauled yourself out for the event. I'm glad you did what you needed to do... took care of yourself. For those of us regular Tucsonans, this event was a step in a process of healing. I wanted to write up my notes from the event, but I just posted them as they were last night on my blogger blog, Done Nesting. I was just too emotionally drained to do it; if it did that to me, I can't imagine how much it would have taken from you. You are a smart woman. You know best.

  6. My heart hurts for you. Sending you hugs....

  7. You *are* doing fine, and good for you for making the choice for yourself, not for anyone else. I'm sure there were very few dry eyes in the room though...

  8. Keep doing what you need to do, we all hold you in our hearts, weeping, wailing, gnashing of teeth as well as the silence of the walls on those really bad days. Keep up the good work, kiddo, and Lord, I'm sure it's work.


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