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the selfish shellfish & other things

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What a whirlwind of days!  This weekend, I spent time with my brother and his son, who came to town from California.  There is nothing like the reassurance I get from seeing my brother.  Just watching the way the lines of his face move when he talks, the way his brow rises and furrows in conversation, it centers me somehow.  It is a combination, I think, of being reminded who I am and also sensing how happy and complete he is as a person.  I am so proud and thrilled for him and his wonderful, amazing wife and their (growing) family.

To spend a few days with my nephew and get to know him was a real gift, too.  It is so refreshing to be around such a sweet child.  He is five years old and so he is full of curiosity about the world and has that particular kind of unassuming honesty that comes with childhood.  I love my nephew’s creativity, spontaneity, and silliness.  And  he behaves with the obvious markings of a very kind, gentle heart.  I don’t think I’ve felt any more euphoria than when he and I lay around on the tile floor coloring monsters (including the above-pictured buzz-lien who is a hermaphrodite hybrid insect/alien, to be exact).  And, while I may be slightly bias on this matter, it also just so happens that he is undoubtedly the cutest little boy to ever walk the face of the earth.  Screw objectivity, anyway.  He is perfection.

I had hoped to get swept away in the positive, healthy energy of my family, but truthfully my illness plagues most of my waking moments, one way or another.  Even if it is not consciously on my mind, my pain and fatigue will literally spin me around and demand attention.  Anyway, I did too much, physically and mentally, but it was a conscious decision.  It was worth it.  I mean, what exactly am I recovering for if not for this?  I can’t stand to curl up and rest and miss out on being face-to-face with the people I love and miss so much.  And that’s that.

While I am always grateful to see family (especially those who I don’t see often), each time I feel frustration and despair that yet again it will be from within the grips of my hideous reality. I keep yearning for the days when we will be able to spend time together and I won’t be seeing things from under this rotten cloak of pain, fear, illness, and anxiety.  Will we be having these same conversations about my health a year from now?  Everyone says no way but sometimes the thing we are all most afraid and most in denial of becomes TRUTH.

I am deeply blessed to have a supportive family.  Where would I be today without the emotional, physical, financial, and spiritual LOVE of my family?  I consider them each to have saved my life in a specific way, over the course of the last eleven months.  Sometimes I wonder if my health crisis is harder for the people who love me than it is for me; maybe it is more wrenching to watch someone you love suffer and feel helpless towards them then to be the one actually suffering.  Okay, both suck.

So, though this weekend drained me, like an old dish-sink sponge that needs to be replaced but instead is wrung out over and over until it is more mold than sponge, it was a pure blessing.  I want to fall asleep to the picture of my nephew in the arms of my brother; they are heading out into the crashing waves, smiling and laughing, a boogie-board flailing in the wind, the world sparkling through and around them.

He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.  -Friedrich Nietzsche

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