august.last.summer.(08)

I am wanting to go back to the time before Stephanie and I started this blog and remember those first stunned moments before ALS was an acronym that I dropped comfortably in conversation, before I had shaped myself around its reality.

This is a journal entry written after my first visit to my parents in August, 2008, just three days after learning of my father’s diagnosis.

. . . . .

When the phone call came, I thought a bottle had shattered in my chest.  My spirit as a vapor rose; it swirled above my body, unmoored.  I couldn’t move; yet everything was moving.  A vertigo of spirit swelled out from this strange new altitude of grief.

The only thing I wanted was to go and put my feet at the axis of the turning, to touch the flesh of my father now sick beyond healing – only his hand could, in its trembling, its reality, anchor me again — though to a different world now altogether.

Mother.  Father.  Brother.  Sister.  We pulled up under the shade of sweet gum trees for sandwiches, our faces freshly peeled, and tilted our heads  toward one another, as we always have.  In this momentary lowering of the brain and brow and its bowl full of selfishness, we are quietly emptied so that we might then receive the meal before us.  Around the metal porch table, over paper napkins and soda cans, hands crawled from our laps and met in the simple circle that was our beginning – our humble quaternary – and our heads, low, emptied, leaking out, now waited for the first time for some new blessing from the deep.

My father’s voice was rounder, softer, echoing up from the bottom of a well, as he achingly named those present and not present and poured blessing upon each one – bent over, even now, in gratitude.  Even now, as though, especially now.  His voice brought up waters from a bottom I have not yet reached; words wet with life, darkened with death.  Looking up, I saw the noon light brushing the back side of falling leaves; I saw small rivers wash my brother’s face.  He looked at me intently, but without question.  I looked back without answer.  We are here, now.  That is all.  We are together in this new place, out beyond any knowing, under a strange new sky.  There is no where else to go.

Then we took the bread and meat.  In the warm breeze, we broke, we ate.

Susan

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~ by Susan on 07/15/2010.

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