Three months. ¬†Maybe, a little more. ¬†No pen to paper. ¬†No journaling. ¬†No additional chapters to my current novel. ¬†Nothing. ¬†Empty.
It’s not that my life has been boring. ¬†It’s not even that I didn’t have ideas or material to work with. ¬†The thing is: ¬†I’ve been frozen. ¬†Shut up deep inside myself. ¬†My world spinning around me, faster, faster. ¬†I became so dizzy with all that I kept inside that I became literally unbalanced. ¬†Sitting in the passenger side of my husband’s pickup, I would feel myself falling and would jerk myself upright. ¬†The sensation was so real. ¬†The panic I felt scared me. ¬†Days later, after sitting through a class, I rose to walk but my legs felt numb from the waist down. The gravity of my world was pulling me to it and I had to grab hold of James’ arm to stay upright. ¬†I was tired. ¬†So tired.
I got out my tablet and began my research. ¬†Using clues as search words, I found one article after another that pointed towards vitamin deficiencies. ¬†Monday, I made a call to my physician. ¬†I walked through her door with my list in my hand. “Here. ¬†These are my symptoms.” ¬†Dr. Mulupuri looked at me with concern in her dark, exotic eyes. ¬†She agreed that some of my symptoms pointed toward my diagnosis, but she concluded that together, they didn’t make complete sense. ¬†“Have you been under a lot of stress lately?” ¬†She asked. ¬†“Yes.” ¬†I nodded to affirm my answer. ¬†“Is it something that will go away anytime soon?” ¬†I wanted to simply say, “No”, but instead burst into a flood of tears.
I left with a prescription in my hand and shame in my heart.
All this time, I had felt my world spinning out of control. ¬†I prayed. ¬†I read book, after book, after book, trying to free myself from my own drama by getting lost in someone else’s. ¬†I pushed myself. ¬†Made my body go against its inclination to remain still. ¬†I filled my days, my time.
Poor James. ¬†The only stable thing in my unbalanced home. ¬†He watched me yo-yo. ¬†He must have been scared to call me, and yet he still did. ¬†He must have dreaded getting out of his truck to come inside, but he came. ¬†He let me storm around him with a look of sad desperation in his eyes, and yet there was love as well.
All those feelings are still within me. ¬†The storms are still raging around me… Mom’s cancer and loneliness. ¬†My business failure. ¬†Two dear friends with breast cancer. ¬†A grandson with Autism. ¬†Secrets shared that weigh heavy on my heart. ¬†Illness in James’ family. ¬†World devastation in the form of earthly storms with people I love affected. ¬†The child who lives the closest to me is now moving further away. ¬†My father’s last surviving brother’s unexpected death‚Ä¶And through all this, no tears. ¬†I can’t cry. ¬†The hurricane is just off the shore but the waves are just playfully lapping at my feet.
My energy returned. ¬†I made lists and gloried in marking through each entry. ¬†I even felt a little happy. ¬†I knew that storm was still out there but the sky above me remained lit by an eternal sun.
I spoke to one of my daughters. ¬†I told her, “I feel like everything is just falling apart around me‚Ä¶all these terrible things‚Ä¶and yet, the worst is still out there. ¬†It hasn’t hit yet. ¬†I don’t know what it is.” ¬†“Mom!” ¬†She said. ¬†“That’s terrible!” ¬†I nodded and looked down. ¬†“I know it is. ¬†But that’s how I feel.”
And then, ¬†it hit. ¬†That storm that could bring me to tears‚Ä¶at least just a little. ¬†I sat in a waiting room with my mother and my sister. ¬†It was my mother’s birthday. ¬†My brother came out with his wife. ¬†Both shaky like they had walked away from a wreck. ¬†“It’s throat cancer.” ¬†He said.
My little brother. ¬†The one that I spent so many childhood days playing with, fighting with. ¬†The one who was Tarzan to my Jane. ¬†The one who was Batman to my Batgirl. ¬†The one who took me aside and told me his darkest fears and secrets. ¬†The one who¬†was a storm in and of himself. ¬†Who spent his life bouncing off one rocky cliff to another, never quite able to stay in between the lines on life’s curvy road.
I’ve been down¬†this¬†road. ¬†This cancer nightmare. ¬†I can’t help him, though. ¬†I love him. ¬†I pray for him. ¬†I listen to him. ¬†The choices are his.
Now, I still take that little pill every night even though it doesn’t numb me quite enough. ¬†I wish I was stronger.
A dream comes to me. ¬†One that I dreamed so long ago. ¬†I was in my mother’s back yard. ¬†We all were there, the living and the dead. ¬†A tornado came. ¬†I grabbed hold of a nearby pecan tree. ¬†Just a sapling, really. ¬†I held on to it while the wind blew me like a flag. ¬†If I could just hold on. ¬†If we could all¬†just hold on.