This past week involved some road tripping with my Mum to the big smoke. Would you believe to appreciate enchanting theatre? May be a whirlwind shopping spree splashing around the plastic fantastic? How about seven days of pure pampering bliss and self indulgenece?
Sigh… none of the above… another sigh. The priority was… wait for it… vascular surgery! “Yay” said my Mum (not really).
Mum and I are never short of things to chat about so the cruisin’ music was placed on pause as we discussed everything from her fearless tree climbing antics as a child to when and where the next toilet stop would be.
Her surgery went well and her room buddies were pleasant so this time around all factors were behaving acceptably; with the exception of me. Hopefully my knack of wearing many masks, crafted skilfully from years of challenging situations, was not seen through by my mother.
This veteran (me) of bedside vigils, hand holding and brow mopping saw nothing but reflections of her inner demons in every eye she met, every cubical drawn curtain and every smothered sob she heard.
I have been bouncing in and out of hospitals for the past twenty years by my husband’s side as he battles chronic aggressive rheumatoid arthritis and the unforgiving cling on ailments and complications that go hand in hand with enduring such a debilitating painful crippling disease.
But I was unprepared for the anxious vulnerability gripping my every breath like a tormenting vice with each approaching step I took towards the hospital entrance. That looming glass entrance representing a portal to another time zone and dimension of life so alien to everyone else’s normal. Well, at least that’s what it can feel like sometimes stepping over that threshold when you’ve been walking that walk for a brief forever.
This was my first encounter of any duration with the other world since my own difficulties with cancer treatment that had me repeatedly bed ridden in hospital over a five month period. This trip was about supporting my Mum and I was determined not to make it about me. I have a very expressive face and wear my heart on my sleeve so to say this was a task would be the understatement of the century.
I became the patient across the way, hunched forward with their head hung in defeat cushioned by a trembling hand. I felt the shivers of the beaded perspiration appearing that feels like crawling parasites engulfing you in paralysing warm liquid. I felt the hot humility of helplessness from lying in your own faeces. I felt the stab of every sob. I felt the sigh of every longing. I felt powerless all over again. My journey still too raw for me to detach… all still too raw.
Thank god for the window; the huge window with the million dollar view. We’d sit and wonder what the tall buildings beyond may house and where on earth all those cars could just keep coming and going from.
That window faced east and eastward was home. I’d imagine the small hills I could see in the distance, not yet covered by dwellings of future generations, to be the foot hills of home. John Lennon’s ‘Let it be’ started playing in my head and I wondered when that time would ever come for me. The time when I could just let my journey ‘be’ and not ‘feel’.
And when the night is cloudy
There is still a light that shines on me
Shine on until tomorrow, let it be
If you feel like sharing what you hope to “let be” one day, please feel free to leave a comment.
Photo courtesty of Jodie Taylor Photography! Love your work Jodie.