Sunday, June 7, 2009

Lost and found

Preface: Since I wrote this and saved it as a draft, there has been some resolution to the appeals process regarding benefits for my son's illness. Yet the circumstances under which these sentiments were expressed are as stated and the need to remember what we know to be true, when so much seems lost or unreachable, remains valid. So I decided to post it, even if just for my collected musings. From a day nearly two months ago...

Without leaving my apartment, I became lost. I let go of what my friend Lisa calls True North and was unable to listen to my intuition.

I am convinced it comes from not allowing one's self to believe actively in what one truly believes, of letting fear, fatigue, the duration of the battle and just temporary distraction by unreasonable people making unreasonable demands drown out our truth. It speaks of their wisdom that our minds and bodies never make peace with overload. That in this case it involves my son, my only child, his on-going health challenge that resulted from a sudden and nearly fatal illness more than two years ago and a system that continues to refuse some support for what may be life-long medical needs, all of that makes taking a wrong turn easy, even inescapable. When a mother is in what another friend calls Badger Woman mode, we are not reasonable people, we are not sane in any traditional sense and any monophasic tendencies are exaggerated to the point of obsession. While waiting for results of his tests, assessment by the cardiologist, a report from his doctor at the hospital, being ordered to see yet another doctor for evaluation, and waiting for the lawyer to tell us what to do next, I stopped caring about art, about writing, about finding moments of joy (well, not entirely), about believing in a good outcome. All I could do was stress and sleep. Once the stress was reduced, that left sleep and I couldn't get enough. This morning, finally, I woke up with something on my mind other than going back to sleep. I stamped and decorated an envelope, made (what I believe is, especially as it was created in very bad light) an especially funky and nonsensical card, allowed the sum of it be sufficient when added to the sincerity of its message and got it in the mail. Art was back, I hesitantly say that I may be back and I wish I could be certain that I will never be lost again. But I probably will and would like some ways to remind myself that it is not a permanent condition.

What caused the greatest distress was knowing there was something I could, I should be holiding onto and I simply couldn't reach. I've never been lost in an actual snowstorm but can imagine this came close. Set yourself down into days, multiple days, of not being able to raise the enthusiasm to pick up a pen or pencil. I managed to post other people's words just to have some communication with the wider world. Perhaps all this is way too much information, too revealing of a few weeks that seemed to have swallowed my life, or all the best parts of it, and left me crumpled but still with the smallest hope that it would eventually get better.

To the best of our ability, we need to keep our compasses in working order. We need to write reminders and directional arrows on poster board and tape them up around our homes. And we need to compose that essential note, folded small and tucked into whatever book we turn to when we have lost our way. In strong yet gentle words, remind yourself that you will pull your way out of this, even the crappiest day has glowing moments and you've survived this before. So you will again. Be patient and sleep when that is all that's indicated. Feel weary and wear the same flannel shirt for too many days. Reject feeling guilty about soft deadlines that may not be met. Then stir up the gesso and get to work.

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