Monday, September 27, 2010


I'm not. Coping, that is. When Finley was still in the NICU, a nurse asked Tim how he keeps going every day, but everyone knows the answer to that question. You just do. You get up in the morning, breathe in and out, etc. It doesn't matter how little you want to or how much it hurts. You do it. There isn't a choice.

A woman in the ward I grew up in lost her son, who wasn't much older than my brother. A few weeks later, she died too. The obituary said it was from a broken heart, and I keep wondering if that's a real thing, or if it's a euphemism. I think it's a real thing. Her surviving son and husband somehow still live, though. No matter how much or how little they want to, here they are, on Earth, breathing in and out.

Life and death just don't belong to us mortals.

How do we live with that? How can I find hope among the mourning and fear? How do I know the world won't collapse around me tomorrow when one day, not so very long ago, it did just that? How do I hang on for the future I believe in when I don't believe I'm good enough to get there?

And how do I hang on today when I am literally falling apart? I've had more than seven infections in the past eight months, and my doc says my immune system may not be working properly. My sensitive-lunged baby and I got a cold around the same time, and while he's doing just fine now, I'm still a mess of snot and tissues and aching.

So I find myself here, with the best of all reasons to live and the one thing that makes living so miserable I am sometimes ready to crumble beneath all of the breathing in and out.

And though there are many days where I can inhale without tasting hell on my lips in the air here on Earth, today, past the time anyone would ask how I am coping, I would answer, "Not well. Not well at all."

Monday, September 6, 2010


Do you ever get that feeling like you've forgotten something really important? Like you've left the stove on and you're a six hour drive from home and your stomach bottoms out because you're sure your house is going to burn down and there's nothing you can do about it? I mean, in that case I'm sure you could call the fire department and have them break in and turn it off or something.

But does it ever happen in a dream? Like you realize at the end of the semester that you signed up for a class and NEVER WENT ONCE? And you go running like crazy around campus trying to figure out how you're ever going to graduate, and you can't wake up until you realize that in reality, you got your BA like two years ago.

Or how about in your waking hours—do you ever get that terrible stress feeling like you're about to fail a test or something: your palms are sweating, your stomach hurts, and you think you might pass out? Well, I've been getting that. But there's no test. There's no class I didn't sign up for. There is no emergency, and I'm at home and no imminent danger approaches. There's always the chance I'm afraid I could die at any moment and I'll go to Hell, but though I may not be a saint, I'm thinking it's a little crazy to spend my days in a state of panic over that.

And really, that's what I've been doing. My body has gone stress-mad over nothing. As I type this my family is sleeping, clothes are running through the laundry, the house is relatively clean, and in the end, everything is okay. But my hands are clammy and I kinda want to puke. I'm lightheaded. I'm having that acute stress reaction I'd get for five minutes over a tense meeting or a bad report card.

But my life is fine. Right? Isn't it? Is there a bill I forgot to pay? Are parts of my brain rotting in my skull and the panic is the only way my body can tell me? Or am I just mentally ill? And in case you haven't guessed, asking myself these questions is not helping the stress situation.

*pant* *pant* *pant*

Thank goodness every day isn't like this.