03 September 2009

Five Feet Tall

We've begun a tradition in our home: On the first of each month, I measure the Queens.

Little A: Yep. I weally tall ta-day. Wike so tall. Hey, Ma, 'member when I was a wittle girl and I went outside and I picked up 'da 'fing and 'den 'dere was a bird and I want ta go see Smoosh in Doggy Heaven, Ma, 'cause I miss her so much. Yep. I tall ta-day Ma.

Big A: (Staring, appalled at the complete lack of structure and point in the above mentioned update) Well, I'm five feet tall.

Jesus Christ, what was that? No, what the hell was that? I recovered quickly from the sound of something moving within by pretending to cough and saying I needed to get some water.

- - - -

I don't think that I wrote about my panic attack? How I calmly said to the sitter that I wouldn't be right home because I was going to drive myself to the ER? Because I was certain I was having a heart attack and about to die and my feet and hands kept turning pure white and aching and I was sure that it was because my blood wasn't flowing properly and I kept telling myself that nothing was wrong, nothing was wrong, nothing was wrong, but my heart kept racing anyways and I could.not.breathe. and since I was able to tell myself that I knew I could physically breathe but still couldn't breathe, then I was probably in the throes of death and I should just get to the ER and hope I arrived in time for them to save me and I did and as I sat unable to stop wringing my hands and tapping my chest the doctor told me that no I wasn't dying that day and what I was suffering from was not a heart attack, but an anxiety attack and this is what sometimes happens to people who are under stress--are you under stress--are you depressed--have you had any life-altering changes lately--and a bitter laugh escaped with my tears and you should see your family physician and take these Xanax and you should try to sleep? No, I didn't mention that?

- - - -

That's probably because I'm ashamed of it, I think. Ashamed that I have this beautiful life and yet I cannot quit crying a lot of the time.

I remember the day that it started; it was cold and wintry and the sun was very bright and I was sitting on a bed, trying to weep quietly so as not to disturb anyone outside the door, but my niece came in anyway.

I was enraged with the concern, (he is fucking dead! can i not sit here and cry if i fucking want to! do i have to explain every detail of my goddamn life to everyone! can i not just have a few moments of peace where i can cry and not answer to anyone!) but I didn't say so. 

Instead I mumbled something and I buried it within me, and at times now I think that on that day, at that moment, I planted a seed and a monster has grown from it.

I had to keep myself in check, for Big A's eyes were upon me--if I acted as I wanted to, it would scare her. It would make her weep harder. It would make her ask questions that I couldn't answer.

As we drove to the church that day, I wept silently in the driver's seat and I sat in the pew and dug my nails deeply within my thigh and bit my lips and pushed away the hand that reached out trying to hold mine because I was afraid of what would happen to me if I held it instead.

About a month later, I was checking my email and realized that, no, there would be no more messages from him; I hadn't even really been aware that I was still looking for them. 

I tried, I really, really tried to stay focused on the good, on all I had, on the memories--but at the end of the day--actually, the beginnings of the days, for that is the only time I could cry, protected by the sound of the shower and the fan and the closed door--the loss was a truth I didn't know how to face: I'd never lost someone that I had loved so much. I didn't know how to explain that I was sadder now than I had been then, and so I explained nothing.

It was a few weeks later that I got hurt and it took weeks before I could have surgery, so in that time, I could blame my state on the pain--it was searing--and the drugs--they altered me. 

The length of my recovery and the well-documented pain that I would be in during that time provided an additional crutch for my tears...you'd cry too if you were in this much pain! You'd cry too if you had to take these medications! You'd cry too if you wanted to get off the medications and were dealing with withdrawals! You'd cry too if you had to go to rehab and be unable to even move your arm one inch! (You'd cry too if you weren't really sure why you were crying.)

- - - -

Then my dog died. The hours that followed: The screaming, the weeping, the frantic calls to my mother, the call to my sister where I just sat wailing into the phone, the call to my other sister, who brought out drugs, sweet drugs, and tried to hold my hand that I needed to keep twisting the fabric of my pants with in order to keep breathing and who had to sit with me on the floor as I told her the awful, gruesome details that I will not repeat again, to anyone, but for some reason needed to keep telling her, over and over, even though I knew each time I said them that it was causing her physical pain, and finally, the the last recollection of that day, her saying, "This hopefully will knock her out," as I swallowed another pill and prayed for the dark.

I stayed in bed for days. I don't remember them, but I know I did. I remember going in the bathroom, looking in the mirror, thinking to myself, "I need to brush my hair," and then saying aloud to the image looking back at me, "Fuck off." 

And I went back to bed.

- - - -

And finally, two weeks ago, I took Jessie back to the vet. She won't quit pacing. Her breathing is rapid. She is in a state of nearly constant panic. I wanted medication to calm her. I wanted stronger pain medications to ease her.

I couldn't stop weeping.

"I think you've really got to consider helping her out soon," she said as softly as possible, her hand on my shaking leg. "I know, it must seem unbearable right now, but I know how much you love her and that you want to do the right thing by her."

"It's too much," I sobbed into the phone. "It's too much."

- - - - 

And so I went home that night, and I rolled a medication bottle in my hand. And I debated with myself over and over and over again. And I put it back in the drawer where I had stored it, and picked it up again a few times.

And ultimately, I opened it up and I swallowed a pill.

- - - -

And so that brings us back to tonight and a scream disguised as a whisper, one daughter rambling of her bygone days as a 'wittle girl, another daughter five feet tall, a decision balancing in the air.

- - - -

Big A is five feet tall.

I miss my grandfather.

Big A is five feet tall.

I miss my dog and everything about her and I wish I could erase the memory of her last minute on this earth, but I can't.

Big A is five feet tall.

I don't want to let go of Jessie.

Big A is five feet tall.

I need to show her how to stand as such, and I cannot do that from my knees.

Big A is five feet tall.

But I am taller. For now. And I'll be damned if she thinks that just because she's going to be taller than me someday that she will ever beat me at a game of hoops.

- - - -

Game on, 2009, you miserable bitch of a year. I'm gonna go barn-style, old-school: no blood, no foul; no clock; first one to "mercy" loses. Let's just see which one of us is standing on January 1st of next year--if I were you, I'd put my money on the chick with the white high-top Puma's who has a kid who is five feet tall.


painted maypole said...

Saying a prayer for your standing tall...

Single Mom Seeking said...

Reading this now, it's no surprise that your body went into panic mode. Darling, you have been going through SO much!! And from the little I know about you -- through your blog -- you are a giver and a nurturer.

It's clear that so many people around you love you -- it's your turn to receive.

Big hug for you.

Cholly said...

I can so relate. My Mom died in June and it has knocked me off my feet. I want her back so bad. I pick up the phone and start to dial her number and when the realization hits me that she is not there, I cannot breathe.
I have never had a more miserable time in my life. I don't think time will heal my heart and even thinking of not having her here is more than I can bear.
Thanks for writing. I hope we can both see the light eventually.

flutter said...

I love you.

Mamalang said...

There is no shame. I'm glad you are getting what you need.

And my 10 year old grew 6 inches in the last 9 months. She is 4" 10". I'm 5'2". I'm scared.

luckyzmom said...

Oh, my. I just knew you would get through it. I really did. You are so much stronger than you think you are. Sending love to the mother of the five foot tall Queen!

Samantha said...

You're definitely in my thoughts! Hopefully you doing the September Shred with us can help ease some of the stress. You can do it! It's tough at first, but if you stick with it, you'll start seeing changes!

As far as the levels go, I know a lot of people are doing Level 1 for 10 days, Level 2 for 10 days, and Level 3 for 10 days, but I'm basically just moving on when I feel ready and have "mastered" a level. I feel that I'm ready for Level 2, finally. I didn't want to overwhelm myself! :) GOOD LUCK!

La Belle Mere UK said...

Hey love! Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

I love your blog. You write about your emotions really well. Being a frequent sufferer of depression and anxiety attacks I am right there with you as I read it!

Oh, and I've been known to tell myself to Fuck Off in the mirror!

LBM xxx

Never That Easy said...

I'm so sorry that 2009 is being such a sucky year... I only know that as hard as it is, you're dealing with it as best you can, and that's pretty damn well. Keep standing tall - you're doing an awesome job so far.