Today is August 28th. In slightly more than 24 hours I will be 45 years old. I did not actually arrive in the world until 8:20 p.m. so am not “really” 45 ’til than.
I am looking forward to turning 45. I am not the same woman I was when I turned 44 last year. I am by far a much better and stronger version of her. I have taken my life and where I could have continued along the path of destruction I was on I changed. Slowly at first. But as the changes became good changes, as my outlook and feelings became harmonized and less disjointed I welcomed the changes.
I have documented my cycle of depression and how I had to claw my way back. I have an amazing support group who have been with me since I started on the new journey to me.
A journey that has seen me rise high enough to realize I was in an unhappy marriage and find the strength to leave. To my mistakenly believing all my problems were solved by the dissolution of my marriage and I went off my meds. I began to rely on alcohol to get me through the days.
My crash, which scared me so badly because I had allowed myself to be tricked into believing I was okay. Our brains are wicked when presenting one with deceptive illusions.
Even after I resumed taking my meds I still continued to self-medicate with alcohol. Finally July 1st I decided to stop. I went six weeks without drinking. And when I did, I woke the next morning disappointed in myself.
I have had some again but there is a difference. One that I can see and feel. It is no longer a need. There is no desire to negate the feelings I did not want to face.
So tomorrow I am turning 45.
I am eating better. I am sleeping better. I am exercising. I have quit drinking to self-medicate and find that I do not miss it.
Best of all I am writing again. I am more secure in the voice I have. I am letting those wonderful words combine and emerge like a waterfall from my finger tips. I believe in magic again.
At 45 I am beginning to emerge from the cocoon of the past. I can see my present but the future….that is a dream still waiting to be dreamed.
I walk through the greying mists
seeing vague shapes
to the right and left of me.
But when I call out
my voice becomes a mere whisper,
slighter than the flutter,
of a Monarch’s wings.
My tears are but shards of silver
pecking away at my heart
Uncovering hidden losses
and the pain I try to hide.
One day there may be comfort.
One day I may be free.
But until that day I shall fight,
to come back from the albatross
that hangs around my neck.
Mom is a trained nurse. She is tough. When the bro and me were younger we so did not even dare to get sick during the week. Mom even brags about how good we were, always saving our sickness for the weekends. I can only remember staying home once and that was when I had Scarlet Fever and only than because we had a babysitter coming to the house.
My brother has asthma and rarely did he have an attack the precipitated a visit to the emergency room. I recall, again, only one incident. And it was late. Or later in the day on a holiday. I want to say Thanksgiving but am not sure.
This has lead me to going to work and pushing myself hard when I should be at home. In bed, sleeping and sipping hot drinks. Not cashiering and talking to/sneezing on my staff and customers. I have to suck it up though for I constantly hear my mom asking me if I am dead. (Inside joke dead or in the hospital the only way one was allowed to stay home).
Flash forward to yesterday when T is at M’s because Auntie K cannot watch him after school. Apparently he crawled right into K’s bed and told M had had been cold all day. I talked to him briefly re soccer and at first he wanted to go but two minutes later M is calling me to tell me he got out of bed and began to cry.
By the time I got home he had been let into the house and was curled up in his bed. I could feel the heat coming off him. I was able to persuade him to take a Tylenol which seemed to bring the fever down. Still had a headache and his tummy hurt. I fed him some soup and he was off and into bed by 9 p.m. without a fight. Asleep in like 2 minutes.
Had to wake him up this morning at 5 to take him to the babysitter’s. Again I could feel the heat coming off of him and he began to cry. It hurt his head to stand and walk, his tummy was hurting again. I felt horrible but needed to be at work. I dropped him off with heavy heart and went to work.
My mind was not there. I went through and got everything done in record time. Everything from settling the store to getting inventory done. Watching and waiting for 8:30 a.m. so I can call the doctor’s office. In the two minutes it took me to get through this morning, our family doctor was fully booked up but we were able to get into the same day clinic.
I was frantic when Auntie K called to tell me T had a temperature of 103 but she had given him some Tylenol and he had eaten an orange. I no longer even had a thought about work. I watched the clock to 9:30 when my second got in. Raced through the doing of exceptions and tobacco daily inventory so I could be out by 10 a.m.
I ran across the parking lot which should give you an indication of how scared and worried I was. I may move at a fast walk but rarely do I break into a run. Got home transferred T from the van to my car. Talked with Auntie K for a few minutes and than we all went our separate ways.
T brings his stuffed dog into the doctor’s office. He ended up wearing my coat because he was freezing. And he cannot get comfortable. Wants to lie down but has grown so big that he is draped across my lap. He sat with his head on my lap and I ran my fingers through his hair and across his back. T was not happy. He had no questions and even my attempt at a lame joke went completely unanswered.
Finally we see the doctor. His temperature is down in the normal range. Ears and throat are good. Headache not good but manageable. It is the stomach that is of concern. And of course in my head dances the possibility that his appendix is the culprit. He told the doctor where it hurt while she was poking and prodding. Thankfully it was not his appendix.
Viral gastroenteritis. An inflammation of the stomach lining due to a virus. Usually includes all T’s symptoms with the added bonus of diarrhea and puking. Thank goodness T does not have those two symptoms. Diarrhea I can live with, but I am a sympathetic thrower upper. The minute I hear someone throwing up my own begins to rise. In all his life T has puked on me once, he sat up in bed and blach! I made the ex clean it up.
So we came home. And he took over the couch. Binge watching Teen Titans and suffering with the pain as best he can. He finally caved and had half an antacid which I was told to give him because it might help. I am making him drink a bit of milk and praying that he does not end up throwing that back up. (Milk thrown back up is disgusting.)
Where I may not look after myself and see the doctor unless I am in deep distress, I do not wait for T to get that bad. But there are sickness rules; if you are sick you are not allowed to play with your friends. You may watch t.v. but there is none of this racing around, you have to lay on the couch. T willingly follows all these rules. Which is when I know that he is truly ill. Oh yeah, and he had no questions for the doctor. Usually, he asks tons of questions as he wants to know everything. Today none of that.
You watch me, standing on the edge of the abyss
not hearing, not listening to the words that you cry
I only hear the voices within me,
criticizing, mocking drawing blades across my soul
making me weep.
I lose myself in blackness and despair
I see no one in the mirror,
Just the shadow of myself.
And I weep, and I rage, but no one does keep.
With fragile thoughts and moonbeam whispers
I claw my way forward to the light
I will not allow the beast to claim me
I will not allow it to beat me out of spite.
Your embrace is welcomed and needed
but I feel your fright; to understand the devil I face,
One must be willing to see beyond the norm
and to writhe with the pain of history past
To subjugate yourself to loathing and misunderstanding.
But I stand before you, proud as I can be
I will not bow, I will not cower.
I will not beat this illness, for its claws are deep within
but I will learn to live with it, and maybe;
soothe it to sleep.