Who Am I

Sep 19, 2012 by

Who Am I

I am a mother, a daughter, a friend, a woman, a girl, a writer.  But I am no longer a wife.

Five years ago the rug was yanked out from underneath me. Much like the magic trick when the magician pulls the table cloth off of the table and all of the dishes somehow magically remain on top. Except in my case, most all the dishes, the glassware and even the silverware came crashing down to the ground. Some shattered in hundreds of pieces, unable to be reassembled and put back together.  Some simply cracked and worth a second look. And some of them are remarkably whole, but I am not quite sure where they should be placed back up on the table.

It’s a strange feeling, being complete but still feeling the missing pieces.  My marriage, my husband, my confidant are gone.  I have tried filling them in with different experiences, places, people, things…it doesn’t really work that well.

What I have discovered is that I have to accept the broken pieces, throw them away and introduce newer, better parts into my life.  Things will get taken away from us, so that we may be able to keep ourselves open to picking up the pieces that aren’t broken, fixing some of the pieces that are broken and throwing away what we can’t salvage.

I am still a mother (a great one, if I do say so myself), a daughter (a decent one), a friend (I do my best)…and all of those other things. Now it is time to create the rest of myself. What does that look like?  I want to help others who have experienced loss, disappointment and far too many broken pieces. I want to enjoy this last year with my daughter at home. I want to travel and experience all that is waiting for me. I have come to realize that although I have some broken parts (who doesn’t?) I am still whole.

We all travel as tourists through this crazy thing called life.  The more we look at it as an adventure, the healthier we become.  I have no regrets about the past decisions and choices and experiences that I have had. I have faith that there is a reason for all of it. And it is faith that will keep me on my path. The path that is unseen but is there for me to continue travelling upon.  The people I am going to meet that will help me change my life, as I help them change theirs for the better.  The prayers I put out into the world, not only for myself, but for everyone who is suffering one way or another.  I know suffering.  Just start picking up the pieces, a day at at time. Don’t forget the most important person in the equation YOU!

What helps?  Meditation helps ease anxiety, I’ve learned that and it’s amazing.  Sitting quietly and listening to beautiful music, bringing peace into my heart and finding some sacred space.  It used to sound so funny to me, but it times of true strife and loss, it works beautifully.    I have a long journey ahead of me.  We’ll see what happens along the way.   But with friends and faith, it just may turn out better than I thought.

I may try to pull the tablecloth next year, again, and see what happens.

Catherine Graves

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We All Fall Down

Dec 7, 2010 by

We All Fall Down

John’s chemotherapy and radiation treatments were over in six weeks as promised. Three weeks later he started falling apart. Falling down. A lot. At first he could help me get him back if not his feet, and least into a chair. But even that didn’t last long, and then it was just me struggling to lift my big, forever strong and handsome husband up from the floor.John had seizures, many of them, and all he could do was sleep them off the way some ridiculous college binger would sleep off a big weekend. I watched him sleep, sometimes dozing off myself, then waking with a start, afraid that John wouldn’t awaken at all.I took John back to Barrows ahead of schedule and insisted he have a scan done of his brain. The news the scan brought was not good. I hadn’t expected it to be, of course, but I couldn’t always trust my intuition anymore. (Other than from the kids, I wasn’t expecting to see good coming from anything). There were three new spots on John’s brain. In strictly physical terms, small. In medical, and psychological, terms, enormous. The glioma was recurring with remarkable speed. The cerebellum, where your physical coordination comes from, was the site of one of the new spots. That explained a lot. His motor skills were shot. The falling wasn’t just weakness from the weeks of chemo and radiation. This was not something he would get over with time and rest.The implantation of a Gliadel wafer was brought up now. Of course it would mean going into what should be no man’s land—John’s brain—once again. It was, in the most generous terms, a stopgap measure, one that might add some time to John’s physical life, but would not in any way ensure any quality of life. And the side effects, as mentioned before, seemed almost more dreadful than the treatment.We chose home instead.

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©2010 Catherine Graves

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