Thursday, May 21, 2009


As my blog friends may have noticed from my recent and uncharacteristic silence, I've been in a bit of a funk lately. Not a bad one. Just a seemingly inexplicable month-long case of the blahs. Seemingly inexplicable, until I thought about it for three seconds (which I've naturally avoided doing). But once I did sit myself down, give myself a good talking to, and tell myself to snap out of it because it was annoying even me, I realized that just about a year and a month ago, my husband had his surgery. April fools day, to be exact. And for about a year and a month, I've been waiting for it to be over. Well, April Fools!, it's not. He's still pretty disabled (thank you broken foot!) and still has an incurable disease. The depths of human self-delusion are unplumbable. Somehow I was letting myself believe that, in a year, it would all be back to normal....

Anyway, I was cleaning house today and, appropriately, I found the purse I took to the hospital on the day of his surgery. I remember now, that the strap broke while I was waiting and waiting for his surgery to be over. I thought, 'Oh Christ! As if I don't have enough to deal with today!" When I got home I tossed it in a corner of my bedroom and there it has sat, broken and undealt with, like a good little symbol of the whole situation. But something led me to that pile today, and it all came pouring back: the florescent glare of the waiting room; the ten-hour wait during which I was utterly and increasingly terrified he would die on the table; the man with the leering skull tattoo on the back of his bald head, which didn't help calm me down. To say it was a bad day would not even touch on the misery of it. Which is why that purse full of memories sat in the corner for a year.

So, feeling like I was walking into a therapist's office, I sat down and opened the purse. In it were: multiple packages of kleenex, (for obvious reasons), eye drops (so that, at the end of the day, when I saw Kirk and the kids, I could look like I hadn't been crying); a pencil and pencil sharpener for the crossword puzzle I was never able to concentrate on; and a little notebook for writing deep thoughts or instructions, or something. There's only one thing written in it. A quote from I don't know where.

"...but the arts outlive governments and creeds and societies, even the very civilizations that produce them. They are what we find again when the ruins are cleared away."

Kind of gloomy, but also kind of perfect for me. My life has never been lived in the tidy spaces of the beaten path, never thrived in the tall gleaming buildings of "civilization." I'm more about picking my own way through weeds and the ruins and trying to find and make beauty of it all. Art. Which is and passes on consolation when buildings decay, when disease runs its course, when lives end, which they all do someday.

Coincidentally, again, (do you believe in coincidences? Me neither.) the husband and I are going out to dinner tonight to celebrate, not that IT is all over, but that a year has passed and he is still here, we are both still here, hobbling along on our messy happy path through the ruins.


jason said...

best I can do for a hug.

yellowdog granny said...

chin up tits out!

mumbliss said...

Huge and loud and joyful and defiant Congratulations on being together. What an incredible tromp you all have taken side by side. I am sending love to all of you. K, Please take good care of yourself. I hope your foot heals fast. I love you.
E, I just got out of the hospital and a surreal time in my oldest daughter's dorm. Diabetes diagnosis. Bummer. Now two with inexplicable diabetes type 1.I am tired and still numb from trying to be strong and flexible. I will probably have to feel soon. I don't like feeling my feelings sometimes. It hurts and its messy. Oh well. I am glad you and your nest is out there. I am sending love to each of the young beauties. I love you. XXX A

sageweb said...

Holy cow it has been a year. It seems like it was just weeks ago. Blogging time goes so fast.

Glad you are going out and is good to do that...often

Elizabeth said...

Jason - Thanks dear. Can always use one, cyber or otherwise.

Granny - Always!

mumbliss - Oh honey! I'm SO sorry to hear about the oldest! It must be so frightening and tiring for you! Many hugs. Wish, as ever, that we lived closer so I could fuss over you and help out.

Sage - Yep, it's been a year! We're bruised and bloodied, but still standing, which is a lot, and something to celebrate.

veganrampage2 said...

Denial is a defense mechanism. If humans could not go into various states of denial we would all be raving lunatics. The real key is not to stay in denial forever, then you can never solve your problems because you don't face them. A single month after such a terrible disappointment is not a long time. This piece you wrote was beautifully written and just as good if NOT BETTER than many I have read on the back page of the Sunday New York Times Magazine. If I were you I would submit it post haste, no sh*t. It fits the mood and the sensibility perfectly of the country right now. I'm sure you noticed a dearth of female voices in our little patriarchy. If you don't submit it I am coming to your house, printing it out, and mailing it myself- metaphorically speaking of course.
I am much too self-involved to be a stalker!

Elizabeth said...

Zelly - Aw shucks! You know, maybe someday, when I have an agent and a book coming out, the NYT magazine will consider one of my little pieces. And I truly hope that the agent/publisher thing will happen someday soon with a bit more persistence on my part. I'm not great at persistence (too easily discouraged), but I not persisting guarantees failure, so keep trying I must....

a thousand shades of twilight said...

Another beautifully written piece, Elizabeth! Here's to consolation among the ruins! So glad to hear that you had your one year dinner - I hope it was lovely and happy!

more cowbell said...

Elizabeth -- cyber hugs.

Life sucks ass sometimes. And sometimes it's good. Let's hear it for our good friends A&D (Avoidance and Denial). Always there in a pinch and good for getting us through the tough spots, but the bastards never actually fix anything. Damn it.

Hope your celebration dinner was a good one.

Elizabeth said...

1000 shades - thanks dear. Consolation among the ruins is all you get sometimes, and I'll take it. I does beat a kick in the head, which is another thing you get sometimes! The dinner was lovely. xo

Cowbell - Yep, it do, don't it? Both of 'em. But here I am, still moving on. Well, limping, really. Thanks for the kind words.