June 27, 2013

We recently bought new landscaping for the house, and so there was much digging and dirt hauling (by my husband) and much fretting (by me).

Were the plants planted too deep? Or not deep enough?

Did we  use enough peat moss?

Most of all, are we watering them right?

The nurseryman left us detailed instructions for watering. But I’m suspicious- Surely these new green things are thirsty.

Feed me, feed me.

What I’ve discovered is that the symptoms of overwatering are identical to the symptoms of underwatering. The curled leaves, the limp branches. You can’t tell the two conditions apart without getting your hands dirty and shoving your finger in the soil.

What is true for botanical life is true for the care and feeding of human beings. Trying too hard gets you the same results as not trying enough. Neglect leads to death. Smothering leads to death. Some die of thirst. Others experience rotting at the roots.

Right now I’m experiencing some self-inflicted rot. I’m drowning in self-pity and grief. The thing is, I could go a day without crying.

But at a certain level I’m afraid if I stop grieving, or more accurately take a break from grieving, then I’m betraying myself. I’m betraying the baby I lost, I’m betraying our hopes and dreams for our family.

If I don’t wail and rend my garments for one day about this, does that mean it’s not a big deal? That I should be over it? That it doesn’t matter any more? That it’s not important?

Of course not. But deep down I’m not sure the cells in my heart and my mind believe that yet.

June 25, 2013

I’ve been having a bad time.

Recently I was informed by my doctor that I will never conceive a child of my own again. This gentleman is a specialist in his field and he’s very good and also very very sorry.

Perhaps I will address this again. In fact I’m sure I will. I will tell the story. I will post a few fun facts about my diagnosis and perhaps a soliloquy on the unique, destructive power of pain. Pain is transformational and the change is not always for the better.

It’s strange.

sometimes this situation is a life-threatening vortex, gorging itself on my past, present and future in one furious blast.

And then other times it’s so unreal.

It must be a dream. It must be happening to someone else. Am I still in denial? Am I just numb? My feelings dance on the surface, to the extent that they exist at all.

Another reason it can’t be true. It just doesn’t fit with the rest of the story. My life is too uneventful, characteristically dull and disaster-free. I never win the lottery and I don’t get rare illnesses. Until I was diagnosed with an illness that affects .1 % of women. That’s Point One Percent, not 1%.

Well, I still don’t win the lottery.

But maybe I should start playing.

May 14, 2012

I just got back from Dallas.

Husband and I just returned from his buddy’s wedding. It was a beautiful wedding, and it overflowed with Catholicity. If various popes were there, they would have thoroughly approved. It quoted Humanae Vitae in the program. It featured a schola. It took place in a church with an altar rail. THAT WAS USED.

So it was a very nice wedding!

This was the first shindig of the wedding season (and our first as a married pair). Two more this year and likely a third, depending on timing.

Dallas was an interesting city, large and hot. To my dismay I only heard one genuine Southern accent during the entire weekend. There was much Southern hospitality available, however.

We stayed in a wealthy, suburban part of the town. We walked around for lunch and observed placards advertising elegant gray townhomes (starting in the $700,000s the signs said). They looked like French estates, with tall black gates barring access to manicured stone courtyards and humming fountains. Impressive and not too incongruous, because they were surrounded by hipster eateries and expensive shops. At one point we drove by a luxury dentistry called Mint. Clever!

Of course on the other side of town there was the ghetto and empty lots full of McDonald’s refuse. Evidently people liked to go to the lot, stand there, eat their Big Mac, and then leave the wrapper for the rats. I have heard that people are either very rich or very poor in Dallas and that seems to be the case.

There was no parking to be had, anywhere. We hoofed it around town for the most part. This was good because it helped me burn off part of the delicious food which I began inhaling from the moment our plane touched down.

We hoofed our way around downtown Dallas until we reached the Grassy Knoll. There was an X in the street marking the spot where the fatal bullet struck President Kennedy. Teenagers (and adults too) were running into the street and having their pictures taken pointing at the X with wide grins on their faces. It didn’t seem right at a murder scene where the blood is still relatively fresh, violence that is still in living memory. His daughter is still alive.

There were men walking up and down the street enthusiastically selling reproduction newspapers bearing the tidings of woe. We dodged them.

We paid $27 to go up to the 6th floor in the Texas School Book Depository. We took an audio tour and stared out the windows onto the street. The trees were wearing a heavy cape of leaves that obscured most of the pavement. Were the branches naked in November?

It made me reflective and somber, and though I liked Texas well enough I was glad to come home to Ohio. We have never killed a president here. Plenty of regular people, but never a president. As of this date, in the year of Our Lord 2012.

April 22, 2012

Rest in peace, Levon Helm.

Virgil Caine is the name, and I served on the Danville train,
‘Til Stoneman’s cavalry came and tore up the tracks again.
In the winter of ’65, we were hungry, just barely alive.
By May the 10th, Richmond had fell, it’s a time I remember, oh so well

The night they drove old Dixie down, and the bells were ringing
The night they drove old Dixie down, and the people were singin’
They went La, La, La, La, La, La, La, La, La, La, La, La, La, La

April 21, 2012

Some personal mottoes:

Panic now, ask questions later.

Why settle for feeling depressed when you could feel anxious AND depressed?

Stress: It’s what’s for dinner. And breakfast. And lunch. And brunch (don’t forget about brunch now).

These aren’t really personal mottoes in that I didn’t choose them…

They chose me.

If Reader’s Digest was ever going to condense the Bible, they could get away with one sentence. “Don’t be afraid.” Scripture repeats this over and over. It calls to mind a teacher patiently drilling a second grade class through the multiplication tables. They’re slow-witted, but practice makes perfect the Lord thinks to himself. It’s not hopeless. In my case I still forget sometimes what 9×12 is and I still haven’t learned to not be afraid.

I have been thinking more about “what it means to be married.” I have been thinking about what it’s like when marriages end.

A good marriage ends only in death.

When I think about being separated from D… or D being separated from me, it makes my heart hurt. I don’t know how I could live with the pain and the longing and the missing.

When I think about dying before him, it’s worse. I can’t stand to think of him grieving and suffering – and me, not able to comfort and console him! Not able to hold him and be held by him. Would heaven be heaven without him?

I shouldn’t say that, good Catholic that I want to be. The presence of God is what makes heaven, heaven. I know that and the difference between the Ascension and the Assumption and the Annunciation and the Immaculate Conception. And how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

It’s terrible to wonder about. Yet it is inevitable. One day, one of us will go. The other will be left (a little while? A long while?).

I’m lying around in the house on West Clifton Boulevard, thinking about everything that will happen one day.

I run to D, crying. “What’s wrong?” he says in that loving, I-will-make-it-better-because-I-am-a-snuggly-bear way.

“I miss you!” He gives me a funny look because after all, he’s right there.

I miss you already, I should have said.

Perhaps I’m strange. Perhaps I’m the only newlywed who thinks about these things. I’m 26 and most people don’t think about the end at 26. What a crazy thing it is to open yourself up to love. You’re guaranteed to get your heart broken. But it’s worth it, I think.

The cliche is true. The parting is sorrowful, but the parting is sweet… because of the sorrow. I’m enough of a woman to know the value of really wringing your heart out with grief and misery every once in a while. I would be lying if I said it didn’t feel good to feel bad sometimes.

And I know the parting is not that tragic, it’s just for a little while. Or do I? Maybe if my faith was stronger it wouldn’t hurt so badly. I have faith, of course. But do I really believe?

I fear. That’s what I do. D is fearless and I admire that about him. I hope that marriage will help me absorb some of that, as though we could become not only one flesh but one soul…

Faith and fear can not exist in the same heart for long; one will soon drive out the other. I know which one I want to win.

Christ, deliver me.

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April 10, 2012

THE partners in crime

April 10, 2012

Things I will miss most after the end of the world:

Windowless rooms. Surely every room in paradise comes with a view.

Dark-bottomed pools. Is there dark-anything in the sweet hereafter?

Even a strange, hair-raising, lovely dark thing like a black-bottomed pool? Heaven means the light of glory illuminating everything… even the deep end.

Vicks Vapo-Rub. No coughs, no colds, no use for Vicks after Jesus comes back.

Marriage. I like being married.

If there’s no marriage then there’s probably no shock and awe either.

(you know what I mean)

I don’t think they will let James Joyce in. I don’t think A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is in the library.

If your hereafter is less than sweet… maybe James Joyce will be in it.

Who am I to judge. May the souls of all the faithful departed rest in peace.

Most of all when the time comes I hope I am capable of resting in peace, in the land of wall-length windows and good health and platonic love.