Wednesday, February 13, 2008

California Dreamin'

In Romeo & Juliet, Mercutio said something like: "A plague upon your house. Upon both your houses!"

There are days when I feel like my house is under a plague.

I have three sisters left. Two are ill, one terminally so. The third is the twin of the one who is terminal. She is exhausted from months of care-giving and is wondering how she is going to live life without her twin. My step-mother cries a lot, and prays.
My father is stressed, tired, infinitely sad. My father's sister just had surgery. My father's brother is in the hospital. My mother's brother is disabled and unwell.

Its crazy.

Meanwhile, my life is assuming a new rhythm. My step-mother is happy I'm here. I am a breath of fresh air, she says, a big-energy person who fills a room, and ever the astonishing child. I try to be upbeat and positive, to radiate compassion, to hold her when she cries over her daughter's suffering. I show everyone photos of Tammy, of Oregon, of my travels, and entice them to eat things they've never had before: mini-wedges of mango and ginger stilton, slices of warm artisan bread with chevre, balls of gorgonzola rolled in chopped nuts and baked. Slices of english cucumber with mascarpone and bits of cured meat, fruit, or nuts on top.

Some nights I take my turn checking on Caro every two hours, making sure she is comfortable, applying topical medications, adjusting the blankets. Pain has creased her forehead prematurely. Her eyes are tired. She sleeps a lot, and when she speaks, her voice is barely above a whisper. Soon, we hope. Soon her suffering will end, please, oh merciful God we pray, amen.

Sometimes at night my body curls around the grief in my middle, and I cry. Sometimes, sleepless, I open my laptop and write.

And sometimes I listen to my self-hypnosis scripts. Relax, my own voice tells me. Bathe in the healing white light of my consciousness. Know myself as the possibility of freedom, of joy, and powerful peace. Listen to the sea birds, imagine myself swimming the ocean, rocking in it, comforted by it, my own tears of sadness blending with it. Awaken rested, refreshed, at peace, my own voice whispers into my ears just before I end the trance and send myself to sleep.

And in the morning I am strong again, a mountain of light with just a few spots of erosion showing. No landslides yet. (A twinge. Tammy's favorite song: Landslide.)

Some days I spend at a friend's house, taking a time-out. We watch movies and play games, taking breaks to go for sushi and dim sum. He does his best to make me smile, and lets me snuggle up to him, and just be. And best of all, at his place I can sleep. Sometimes I stretch out on his bed and nap with his cat in the sunlight, letting the ocean breeze tickle my skin.

Life is what it is. The plague will pass. Meanwhile, I'm doing my best to live each day fully, even in extraordinary circumstances like these.

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Blogger Sherri said...

I'm sorry you and your family have so many intense events going on. Having them happen serially is difficult, but all clumped together is even moreso. I wish you all the very best and hope that the pain soon eases.

3:06 AM, February 15, 2008  
Anonymous Alicia said...

My thoughts are with you. Your are strong and will come through this.

1:32 PM, February 16, 2008  

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