Thursday, November 03, 2005

Trapped in the inbetween place

I hate being trapped in this inbetween place. Perhaps because I’ve spent far too much time here. Waiting for E to awaken from her coma after her aneurysm bleed. Not knowing if she’d recognize us when she did. Waiting for results of each follow-up MRI to learn whether or not a new aneurysm had sprung up. Waiting to hear whether this blood test or that would come back normal. Worrying that each headache will herald another frantic trip to the ER.

Now, we're waiting again. For The Big Surgery the day before Thanksgiving.

I hate it. I hate the waiting. I hate the worrying. I hate not knowing what road we will be asked to travel.

Show me the road, and, though it will likely be rocky and uncharted, I’ll take lead. Just don't leave me alone in this place. The door no longer opens from the inside. Each day the walls close in. The inbetween place throbs like a splinter lodged too long beneath the skin.

How selfish I must sound. I’m not the first person who's been forced to endure this place, and cope with not knowing what the next day will bring.

Hundreds of men and women fight overseas in a war that’s gone on far too long. Yet, somehow, their loved ones summon the strength to move through their days, despite the worry that the next knock on the door will be news they’ve feared. Thousands sit vigil at a loved one's bedside, not knowing whether or not they'll survive another day. Then there are those living with cancer. How does my sister live with the knowledge that any day her cancer might return?

I should be celebrating each and every minute of this Time Before Surgery. But seizing the moment 24/7 looks easier on paper.

There are still bills to pay, appointments to schedule, and deadlines to make. And then there are weeks like this one. E’s been sick since Sunday, needing round the clock meds to keep her fever controlled.

Maybe her dependence on others the last few days has reminded me of how far she’s come, and how hard she’ll have to work after surgery to reclaim herself. Fear of the road comes easily knowing she may never reclaim who she is, knowing we might again be called to mourn the loss of the daughter we once knew.

My inner critic has escaped its cage. It cackles from its perch on my shoulder. "Why write anything creative?" it whispers in my ear, "when it'll be weeks if not months before you can finish it? "

E has never lingered in the inbetween place. I honestly don’t think she knows it exists. By the grace of God, she walked away from her illness in 2001 with an amazing sense of humor and the ability to live fully in the moment.

I suppose all children are born with this blessing. The ability to immerse oneself totally in the now. Maybe this is one of the reasons so many of us want to write for children. Perhaps our stories are one small way for us to reclaim our childhood--to make right what went wrong in our world, and to celebrate what's good and true.

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