08 May 2013

If There's A Rocket Tie Me To It

Two weeks later, like a surplus reprieve
I found a hair the length of yours on my sleeve
I wound it round and round my finger so tight
It turned to purple and a pulse formed inside

And I knew the beat cause it matched your own beat
I still remember it from our chest to chest and feet to feet
The easy silence then was a sweet relief to this hush
Of ovens, aeroplanes and of distant car horns

A fire, a fire
You can only take what you can carry
A pulse, your pulse
It's the only thing I can remember

This is from If There's a Rocket Tie Me To It by my most favorite band, Snow Patrol. In moments of sadness I like to amplify my feelings by listening to songs of lost love and regret, and Gary Lightbody never disappoints. Oh sure, they also sing happy songs but lately it's all tear-fodder for me.

Since we last visited, Five spent four days in the hospital while the doctors ruled out any underlying medical causes for his behavior, which at the time included delusions of visiting another world populated entirely by his worst fears. CT scan, EEG, and MRI later confirmed it was  just the result of extreme anxiety. We're treating with new medication and he and I spend A LOT of time talking, talking, talking.

A week after Five was discharged Two developed a dull ache in his abdomen which became increasingly painful during the school day. I put him to bed in the afternoon and woke him later to compare his symptoms with the Mayo Clinic printout on appendicitis.

"Okay, Two, I'm going to palpate your torso now and don't be manly about it. Let me know if you're in pain."

His clenched jaw and fists confirmed my suspicions. When I went upstairs to tell the Captain, Two texted "hey lets go to the ER cuz this really kinda hurts." He shares my looks but not my verbosity.

The Captain took him to the hospital and they spent a fun-filled night in a curtained cubicle as Two drifted in and out of morphine-altered consciousness and the Captain did not. Blood was drawn, pictures were taken, and the following morning the surgeon removed Two's appendix.

Two went back to school Monday and Three stayed home sick. I had my two most needy, self-absorbed children with me all day and it didn't go well. On the loving patience spectrum I was at the opposite end of Mother Theresa, which is still better than Mommy Dearest, but not exactly empathetic or selfless.

Here's the thing: I get what Gary's saying. I've been in a fire for the last year, shedding everything I can't carry. By October my only focus was my mother and since February it's been Five. Plus, I still have to keep four other boys alive, in school, and at their various commitments. Forget about things like housekeeping, exercise, or eating right. (The chocolate covered almonds try to hide when I open the pantry. They know their days are numbered.) My life is a series of abandoned projects and messy rooms. I am worn down to my core.

I don't even want to talk about the fanciful dream of writing.

"You'll get back to it. You'll finish," my friends say. I don't necessarily believe that anymore. My focus is so narrow, my will so diminished, I'm thinking of tossing the pages in the fire. But I'm afraid to incinerate the last shred of the independent me, the part that wants success away from motherhood. The part that is very cranky right now.

Maybe that's a good sign.

 A pulse, my pulse.


  1. Hang in there. If there is any way I can help let me know. I will drive to New Jersey and spend a day talking with Five, while his mother goes somewhere - not to write. Not to do laundry. Not to DO anything, except maybe sleep. I don't even recommend TV for this, because TV makes the time go by too fast.

    Your plate will not always be this full, I promise you. You will find YOU again. But meanwhile, if you need help, a moment or a week or a month, I will come.

    You need time to continue grieving. I know this from my own mother's passing. I'm here, and I bet I'm not the only one willing to help.

    1. Thank you, Kate. I think both our plates are pretty full right now but I appreciate the offer.

      Ah, sleep. A grand idea! I want to be like Green Day: wake me up when September ends.

  2. I think you're wonderful. And you're so brave. Because I think that's what courage is; to just keep putting one foot in front of the other, even when the world is crashing down around you. Sending you lots of prayers.

    1. Prayers accepted. Maybe if I think of it as courage I'll feel more powerful and less resentful/depressed/exhausted. Okay, maybe not less exhausted.

  3. I know this feeling and I only had one sick. Hang in there. I know you can't see it now but it does eventually pass.
    If you get in the mood for something a little happier - watch the video of OKGo This Too Shall Pass - the Rube Goldberg version. It has changed my mental direction in the past.

    1. I remembered I wrote this OK GO post: http://megancoakley.blogspot.com/2012/02/ok-you-go.html. So our great minds think alike.

  4. Have faith in the fact that your writing skills will not fade away. Let them go on hiatus for a while. Put your energy where it's needed most and just stay in healing mode for yourself, and for the family. You've all been through so much. The writing is like Europe...it isn't going anywhere, so if you can't afford the plane fare this year you can always go in two years or five.
    Big hugs. This will get better.

    1. At this particular moment it feels like I saved the money and planned the Europe trip only to have the terrorists blow up the Tube and now I'm not sure I'll ever want to go there, and I don't even care if I get my money back. Not that my children are terrorists, per se, just that I can remember how happy I was just last year, planning a future that seems to have blown up and in the wake of the terrorist attack priorities have shifted and certain things seem insignificant. So I'm having difficulty reconciling all that. Can you tell?

  5. WEBS. Plus Kate's offer and I'm closer than she is. Hugs and FGBVs.

    1. Yes...Chester is calling....

  6. Oh this is hard! You have so much to deal with, I'm sure it taxes every atom of strength you have. But you have so much strength, first from overcoming addiction and second from being a mom to five boys with all their varying needs. You are getting Five what he needs right when he needs it, which will serve him well. You've got an appendix-less kid who's recovering. And you are grieving.

    You are probably also grieving the loss of writing time. But as everyone else says, you will find it again, so don't make any permanent decisions like burning your book. It will come in time. And take people up on their offers to give you a break so you can recharge and be better for yourself and others. That's just as important!

    Sending hugs and FGBVs!

    1. You sound great, and that is inspirational.

  7. You are still in there.

    I remember this feeling although mine was PPD related while yours is overwhelm. The you who is you still exists, curled up now and cowering in shadows to avoid eradication.
    Do not take the scorched earth approach. This will pass, slowly though it may seem. And I so wish I were nearby so I could pick up Five and take him to, like, the library or walmart or something with me and the Pea for a while so you could meet your old friend Silence and just be. Like have a bath or stare into a coffee cup or something like that. I'm with Kate...it'll be a while to recharge those batteries and refill that well. Don't pressure yourself.

    I'm so sorry that Two, Three and Five have had an illness carousel and that the anxiety is, well, making you anxious and nearly drowning you. Hugs to you and feel free to text or call. I'll even put my cell # back on here if I have to!!!

    FGBVS to you and the Captain.

    1. No cell numbers!

      Part of the problem is that there are never enough hours in my day/week to accomplish what needs to be done. I've accepted that and lowered my standards to a very realistic level. But it's a very fine line between A LOT and TOO MUCH. And TOO MUCH just sucks the life out of me. I want to go back to just A LOT.

  8. Love.
    Peace. (Which I chronically spell as PEACH.)
    And even more offers of help.

    Ya know what I'd do if I had money? I'd fly to see you, and I'd pay for others to fly in as well. Then we could be our community. In person. At least for a bit.

    1. If I had unlimited resources I would organize us into a traveling band of do-gooders, like Doctors Without Borders. We'd swoop in with intensive help for about a week, like on those home-makeover shows. That would be awesome.


Thanks for reading! Unlike other Diaries, this one isn't private. Feel free to share your thoughts. Politely, of course.