RE-LEARNING... SKIP CRIED... 'RUBBER' GIRL... PROOF OF WHAT YOU CAN BEAR...
BY GLORIA FAYE BROWN BATES
I turned the oven on, put the biscuits in. When it came time to take them out, I stood there looking at the bright red heater element that heats the oven. I felt confused... I was in a medicated fog, it'd been several months since I had surgery, I was still very ill.
I wanted to begin doing things again, I was tired of staying in bed or sitting. I really had no business in the kitchen, I wasn't strong enough... and it had been a 'lifetime' since I'd cooked, or cleaned. The most I'd done all this time was to get my shower, and put on a fresh nightgown.
My hands had forgotten how to do things. Everything hurt my hands. They were sensitive from all the chemotherapy treatments I'd taken over the months. My fingers felt like 'rubber'... they couldn't hold onto anything long at a time.
The chemotherapy changed how my feet, legs and hands felt. I felt like I was a 'rubber' girl. A rubber girl with a body of such pain I can't describe. I still suffer that pain every day of my life... as much as I used to hate pain, I've learned to live with it. The type of surgery I had caused it, and I had two of those surgeries!
Once Skip had given me $600.00 at Walmart... I was standing there holding the bills, each one slipped out of my fingers and I never knew it. Skip saw them and ran to retrieve them! I couldn't hold the bills, nor 'remember' to try hold to hold them. My fingers never felt the bills leave my hand......
I got the potholder and opened the oven door. I took the biscuits almost out when... my hand touched the red-hot heater element. The pain was immediate, it burned badly. I didn't immediately pull my hand away because for a brief moment... I wasn't sure 'where, why' my hand was feeling pain! I put the biscuits on top of the stove. I looked at the top of my hand stunned that I'd just burned myself.
My hand had two places that were badly burned on top of it. I just stood there not quite understanding 'why' it was hurting so bad. I looked back at the heating element inside the oven, it was red-hot. I was trying to focus on what had just happened throught the fog of the medicine clouding my mind.
The pain was great, I was feeling wet tears on my face. I touched the tears with my burned hand... the salt of my tears made the pain more intense. I didn't know at that time... the tears, the salt would burn an open wound.
I looked back to the burn on my hand... I was seeing all through a medicated fog. It was strange... it'd been many, many months since I'd been in a kitchen to cook. I was very sick, somehow I couldn't grasp 'why' my hand was hurting. I remember standing there holding my hand, looking straight at the red-hot heating element... it burned bright red. Thankfully, I remembered to reach up to turn the stove off. I was alone.
I still carry those two scars on the top of my right hand, both are about an inch long. When I look at them, I remember the 'dream-like' feeling... it was like I was reaching for something 'not knowing' it could hurt me. I wonder if this is 'how a little child feels' when it reaches out innocently to something, and it hurts him/her? So innocent, so 'not knowing'. I stop to this day at times, to think back to 'then'. I had to learn again... I know how that feels now, I've been on that path for some distance.
Each day I got up with the thought in my mind... 'do something, even if it doesn't amount to anything, just do something, I've got to get stronger'. I'd never been so weak in my life... at this time. I was at the weakest point in my entire life. I couldn't remember doing things, I could 'but, I couldn't'. I had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma and 'came back from death'.
I had been sick for over a year this first time... I only knew the softness of the bed, my pillows, the materials of my nightgowns, towels, touching my pups, touching Skip's hands... nothing ever touched my hands to hurt me. The pain I knew in my body was unlike any pain I'd ever known... 'but, I knew it'... I 'knew' this kind of pain.
Skip would plead with me before he left for work to please not to do anything, please be careful, don't fall down, stay close to bed. I would promise to do as he asked everytime... 'but, knowing I was going to get stronger, and I couldn't do it staying in bed. I think Skip 'knew' I would break my promises... he always said I was 'fighter'... he told everyone that when he talked about my condition.... I heard him, when I couldn't talk for myself.
I went through months knowing in my mind that I was going to die. Skip and Tommy would buy expensive Ty Beanie Babies for my collection of beanie babies, and all kinds of things. I would sit and cry when they were out of my sight thinking they were spending money on me to make me feel better.... it was a waste, I knew I wasn't going to live...yet... I knew I wasn't giving up without a..... helluva fight! Yes, life was going to know I fought for it!
I remember telling Skip and Tommy to not buy me more expensive beanie babies, they bought the ones that were hard to find and paid quite a bit for them. My collection grew. When over a year later, and I'd become stronger... I had a very nice collection! I lost most of them in the fire that burned our home down, and we lost all of our belongings.
I never saw Skip cry until I was deathly sick, he didn't know it, I couldn't reach out to him... but, through eyes wet with tears... I could see him sitting, head bent over in his hands... crying. Skip was crying! Over 'me'. He didn't know I saw him. Skip and I have always been very close... soulmates (yes, there is such a thing). I saw Skip cry over each of our pets when they died, I saw Skip cry over Tommy. Skip never cries.........
Tommy's eyes would hold tears in them as he talked to me. Tommy loved his mama. He'd come back from Germany, he couldn't bear me to be as sick 'enough to die'. I always tried to appear stronger when he was around, I think he saw through it. I've seen my son cry... if I listen carefully in my mind... I could hear him. I don't think I want to do that now.
I remember telling Tommy, just as I told Skip the day the tree snagged my wig of my head! that from now on... we are going to find gentle, good humor in my illness. Laughter is healing. I told him just as I told Skip... 'we can find humor in good taste'... we'll all feel better. This was in reference .... to my bald head that held several little curls on top... yes, I did look like the Gerber baby... Skip called me 'his 'Gerber baby'. From then on, we'd all gently laugh about the awkward moments 'a woman has when she has a bald head!' We didn't focus on that, but, we knew from 'then on'... how handle that.
I remember one day as I look back into my 'memory bank'... I wanted to go outside and work in the flowers I once had pride in. I hadn't been outside without Skip... he'd always walk with me outside holding onto me, we would sit on the porch, or the steps. I meant to get strong enough to go outside on my own, I would be very careful.
I went outside, I was walking slowly... my body was too weak to be doing that. You have to 'know me' to understand wha I 'meant to do'. I meant to 'get well, strong'.
Whenever 'I mean to'...I'm usually going to accomplish my goal. I 'meant to live, to get well'... I wasn't ready to die. I can say honestly... I know how easy it is to die when very ill... it's only too easy 'if you give up'. I saw, and said in my mind constantly with determination 'I mean to live'. I made myself visualize things I was going to do in the near future 'that was more than I did at this moment'. Oh, how I pushed myself... in the long run, it paid off. I became strong, though in pain constantly, I was strong. It took some time to get to that point.
I had opened the back door to the porch, I held on to the door and stepped out onto the porch. The sun was shining so beautifully, I felt its heat on my face. I closed my eyes and for a moment... I savored the sensation of warmth, healing warmth... it felt wonderful. That simple little moment was a treasure to me. Golden sunshine kissing my face, I felt myself smile.
I saw a hoe sitting just off from the porch... I wanted to get it and use it to hold on to, to walk down the steps. I made it to the edge of the porch and reached for the hoe. How it hurt my body... the incision from my surgery was a large one, on my back around the whole shoulder was a 'half-moon' scar. Also, there was a rib missing, taken out during the surgery. Oh, now one can know the pain.....
I began to pull the hoe to me while holding onto the post that went to the ceiling of the porch... it 'was so heavy'. I managed to get it up on the porch to me... all the while I was bringing it up... I was trying to think 'what was so different about how it felt in my hands'.
I looked down at the hoe to see 'why' it felt so strange in my hands. I remember propping the hoe against the wall of the porch so, I could look at 'why my hands hurt'. I stood there holding both palms up close to look at them to see... I put one palm under my left palm to hold it up... I took my thumb to gently rub the left palm... it hurt!
I brought my right hand back up to place it palm-down on plam of my left hand... I gently began to rub my hand over the surface. The pain was great... I closed my hands together and held them to my chest. I noticed tears falling onto my hands... they were from my eyes.
I brought my hands up to my mouth, I held them close. My hands were too soft, too tender to touch something so hard, so strong. They weren no match for the handle of that hoe. I left that hoe sitting propped up against the wall of the porch... went back inside. It wasn't 'time' for that... not just yet.
I wanted to get strong enough for my body to hold its own again... I wanted to hold my ground in life. Somehow, I knew I would. I'm still here now... not a day goes by without that pain, my body remembers well my fight to live every day of my life when I go to move. I can never forget that, I'm reminded every day of it. But... guess what? Everything is really going to be alright. I can deal with it.
I would have never believed one's body could go through so much... and each time something else was added. I believe it now! I may be in pain constantly... but, most all the time ... I won't let you know it. I'm not going to lay down, whine and cry, nor am I going to give up. I tell Skip that I understand 'why' as a little girl 'I went to hell' to live... it taught me to be 'one hell of a fighter'... I came from the right 'family'.
Remember that saying (of course... I could get backwards!)... 'God doesn't give you any more than you can bear'. If you want to see proof of that... think of Granny Gee. I'm still here, and here are a few things I've 'beared'...... look below:
I fought for my life three years, I have non-Hodgkins lymphoma that can flare up anytime. You can't imagine the painful tests and procedures one's body goes through during this time. You wouldn't believe unless.... you've been on that path.
Skip fought for his life, he colon cancer. Twenty eight inches of his colon was taken out.
Skip had two, almost three bad wrecks.
Throught that time, we lost five precious pets from old age, one with cancer.
Our home burned down, we lost everything.
My son, Tommy, died unexpectedly.
We lost seeing Taban, Tommy's son. We lost seeing Taylor McKenzie, Tommy's daughter, our grandchildren.
Through all this time I lost 19 loved ones, my mother and my brother were among them.
I had congested heart failure, almost died, I made it!
Those are a few things that I somehow got back up from... to go on to live. I will say it again... when my son died... I almost didn't get back up, I almost didn't. I can make it now, knowing he's gone, the sadness will always be in my heart.
When a mother's child dies and she loves him with her very heart, and he's the only child.... I can't tell you what it feels like. I pray you never have to experience it. I can only say... that was worse than any cancer, and if I didn't have Skip and our Pups... I would have honestly 'let go'... that's how bad it hurt... it hurt enough for me to ....die.
Now... May 29th, this year... will be two years Tommy's been gone. I made it to 'now'. I'm going to be alright now. I was at the weakest in my life when Tommy died, I thought I was when I diagnosed with cancer. It in no way compared to losing my baby, my child, my son.
I don't waste time in questioning 'why', I live in the present, I cry, and sometimes, I feel mad, but... 'I mean to live'. I hold onto the smile in my mind, a smile like sunshine... Tommy's smile. I'm most strong... again. I have Skip and my Pups, my world. I have all I need.
Colors As I Go
grief (32) only child (4) Scary (2) Boiled eggs (1) Distrust (1) Don't call me Faye (1) Dying (1) I hate to be called Faye (1) I'm afraid of the dark (1) Middle age woman (1) Pain that reaches the soul.. can't be seen (1) Running (1) Where did my youth go? (1) dying in a beautiful way (1) life is fragile (1) light on my path (1) my son (1)