Waiting to go on.

So this morning as I eat my breakfast cereal, I’m thinking about gestations. Those times in your life where you’re going through a process (you may not even realize it at the time), or completing a journey, or waiting for something to be finished so you can move on to the next step. I thought I’d had one, starting in Dec. 2011 when I took the “red pill” (actually, it was pink) and started my personal journey down the rabbit hole. It ended (I hoped) in January of 2014, newly divorced, hopefully healthier, mojo recaptured, new house new friends new lease on life. Done. Dusted. Hurrah!! Right?

Well, now I’m sitting in another of life’s waiting rooms, listening to the clock tick; breathing in the acrid scent of cold coffee and waiting for someone to come to the door and let everything start again. 

And as I’m waiting, I’m pondering the gestational periods, the waiting times, we go through in life. How they define us, shape our goals and our thoughts and our emotions. How some are so well known and others belong to those who are In The Know, In The Club. There’s 40 weeks, that’s a baby. 16 years before you get your coveted driver’s license. 12 years to graduate from high school. 

2 weeks for a biopsy. 1 of those left to go right now. 7 days. Tick, tock. Tick, tock. And in the meantime, I feel like my heart is raw hamburger in my chest. My tear ducts are spring-loaded. I am an agony of sadness and steely control, punctuated by surprising moments of delirious forgetfulness; but at the back of it all, the bitter aftertaste: 7 more days. And then, in the words of the doctor, we’ll do what we have to do. 

Such hard, utilitarian words, each word falling to the ground like a stone. I felt like looking down to make sure the floor tiles hadn’t actually cracked. We’ll do what we have to do. There is hope in those words, but also a sentence in them, beyond appeal. The decision has been made at a higher court. Now we can only wait until that decision is handed down. 

I am usually an optimistic person, but the birth of hope is beyond me at the moment for some reason. I can only sit, and wait, and pray.

(Perhaps this is when I should be reading JRR Tolkien, with his overarching themes of hope beyond hopelessness, love beyond despair, and the glory of the human spirit. I don’t mean watching the movies; for all that LotR were good movies, in this moment I need “Drink Entire, against the madness of the crowds”. I need Tolkien unblemished. I need the plaintiveness and pureness of his language, calling my soul back from this dark, strange place. I need his immaculate weavings of starlight and the awe-inspiring beauty that can come from pain and noble sacrifice, all underlain with the simple things that make life at once worthwhile and accessible… Hobbitty things like a good supper and singing regrettable songs with friends. I think people sometimes imagine Tolkien admired Elves the most. I think Tolkien’s true “children” were the Hobbits. Good food, a good chair by the fire, and a good scratch of your back while in a nice, hot bath.) 

Postscript: Sigh. :} I think too damn much. I know I wouldn’t be so gummed up about this whole thing if my mother – the biopsy is hers – hadn’t lost hope herself. We’re going to do this thing. God, more utilitarian, awful words. Words in starched nurses’ aprons. I think I’ll stop now. No wonder I’ve gained ten pounds over Christmas break. snort.

For my original entry about my mom’s condition, look here towards the middle.


17 thoughts on “Waiting to go on.

  1. Somehow I missed that original post. I’m so sorry for this anxiety you and your family must be going through. Think positive. Thoughts continue to be with you.

    • Thank you. I’m working on positivity!! Fortunately, work is ramping up right now, and that’ll help. The thoughts help a lot too. xoxo

  2. I feel you (as my students would say — always sounds a bit risqué to me). I also often felt time distorting in strange ways the last few years while waiting to learn something, and its paralyzing effects. The slow-motion life. I tried to tell myself, it is what it is, the disease exists in the way it does, without my thoughts affecting it, *I have no control*, as you say, the decision was made at a higher court, but that was a trick that didn’t work especially well. One of the things I read in this post is that your mom’s coping mechanism is affecting your choice of coping mechanisms. But the sitting and waiting and praying — they also do something for / to the sitter, waiter, prayer. It’s hard to say what, exactly. If this persists you may find yourself spending even more time sitting, waiting, thinking. I think in my case they happened because of something around “presence,” the learning to just be there, that physical presence was enough even though I couldn’t change fate or fix anything. I don’t know. I’m burbling. I identified with this post and am still praying for you all.

    • I understand, I think. And I love the phrase “the slow motion life”. A phrase that has been ringing ’round my head a lot these days is “they also serve who only stand and wait”, although I never had much use for the parable of the talents. As you said, presence is important. Well. Mom being opaque as many of us in this family are with each other, “Everything Is Fine” again. She’s hard and bright and chipper as always. Which, in a difficult maneuver, leaves me on the outside. (banging head against wall, but laughing a little too, because this is my family) God bless, right? Jeez. Well, that’s how she copes. I’m leaving it be. Wednesday will come soon enough and then we’ll know what we’ll know. If it’s a nothing, then This Will NEVER Have Happened and I’ll have to deal with this somehow on my own, which would be vastly preferable. If it’s a something, then the family will contract in different ways. Now I’m burbling. I’m thinking this all out as we go. Oy. It’s always something, as Roseanne Roseannadanna said. :}

      • LOL, I thought of “they also serve who only stand and wait” and then self-censored.

        re: it’s gone and then it NEVER HAPPENED … the thing that protected me way more than I anticipated was not trusting the doctors, i.e., the doctor will say, it’s gone, it’s been six months, etc., etc. When the first bad diagnosis came I used the medical library on my campus to research the median survival rates given various therapies. The answer didn’t make me happy but it was a lot more accurate info than we were getting from the doctors and it helped me prepare … in essence, it’s a wakeup call for you even if no one else wants to hear it. Just my two cents, though.

        • Ah. I hadn’t thought of that… but I value the thought. It’s right back to the red pill or the blue pill, isn’t it? It’s a question of (I think it was Robert Heinlein who said something like this) choosing to “bask at the warm fire of faith or live in the bleak uncertainty of reason — one cannot have both.” Believe the doctors’ reassurances or realize that they can only prognosticate… and no matter how much you believe, or want to, or choose to, the knowledge will always be there to some degree. A wake-up call. Well, I’ve always been one to stand in the chilly half of the room. :\ We’ll see, though; experiences like this can change you, profoundly. And obviously I’m still passing through life’s portals, after a fairly placid period of stasis.

          Have I mentioned I don’t like carnival rides? lololol

  3. so sorry to read of your troubles…..hang on in there ..praying for you . be brave … sending love to you and one BIG cuddle .xxxx

  4. Sending you a BIG HUG. Hopefully it will be something that can be treated. Or doesn’t need to be. I’m watching my mom slowly leave me. She’s getting slower and slower, moving away from me. Moving closer to her heaven. And there’s no cure for old age. I’m glad I’m here for her, though. As you will be there for yours. There’s nothing like the bond between mom and daughter. I’m very grateful for the life I’ve had with her in it.

    • Oh my gosh!! I’m sending you back huge hugs!! I hope the same – hopefully it doesn’t need to be, or hopefully it can be. And oh my gosh, yes.. there’s no cure for old age. Oh, love, I’m so sorry. I’m glad you’re there for her too. Oh, sweetie. Sending you so much love right now. That’s a beautiful thought: I’ll be grateful for the life I’ve had with Mom in it. ❤ Love you. xxooxxoo and take care of you too, not just her or both of you.

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