I Choose Life

handmade greeting card, collage artComing down from a stretch of mania—that feeling of a greasy rope flying through my hands.  Later I’ll feel the burn, the skin of my palms flayed.  Now it’s just the rope.  Too fast.  No grip.  And the foreknowledge of when the frayed end finally comes—and goes—I’m done.  Then, it’s the limp fall.  Out of control.

I couldn’t go to the hospital today, or yesterday.  I spent all day Friday there, finally realizing I couldn’t help my mom.  She won’t or can’t choose life, says no to food, to therapy, to any action that will move her toward living.  A stubborn non-choosing. I counted off all the ways I’d done what was expected—held vigil for three weeks, cajoled and pleaded, coordinated with my sister, planned to provide care if and when she goes home—trying to be something I’m not, trying one more time to be good enough and worthy.  I was ready with my bag of distractions today, ready to camp out once again after working out at the Y and after meditation group.  But as I fast-walked around the Y track, sliding from mania to depression with the rope smoking my hands, I chose life.

Today, I sucked in the cool air.  I lifted my eyes to the white, cumulus clouds rowing a jewel-blue sky.  I saw a movie, sat journaling at the Hy-Vee cafe with soothing chai tea and kept choosing life.  I’m not done with Mom.  I’ll never be done with Mom.  But I won’t sacrifice myself for her anymore.  No more.

These past few nights, waking up at 2AM, I tried something new.  I laid a quilt under my bedroom window, piled pillows—a poor girl’s zafu—and sat meditation.  I tried to find a different rhythm, tried to let it speak to me instead of chasing or forcing it.  And when the discomfort got too big, when it gripped the place under my left breast, when my brain sighed in sorrow and begged for mercy, then I rested in the Fantasy Man.

He stands in the near distance, his back to me, looking ahead.  Jeans, dark blue dress shirt, dark hair.  Relaxed, but alert.  Hands in his pockets.  Long grass waves against his legs in a silent breeze.  The sky is overcast.  I walk toward him, and that’s enough—to know I will reach him, to see the comfort coming.

Friday night, I dreamed Hugh Jackman was wildly in love with me.  He was ready to leave his wife for me.  And it broke my heart, because what I admire most about him is his devotion to her and his children.  “You can’t do that,” I told him.  “That’s not who you are.”

Broken-hearted.  The core of my bipolar-ness.  I feel the shards rubbing against each other under my breast and fantasize about a heart that is worthy and more than enough.  As my mood shifts this time, I do more than manage, I choose.  On the bed this afternoon with Henry and Emmet close, a breeze slid through the open window.  It slid over my skin like smoke.  It slid me into a place of hearts whole and beating life.

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18 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Michelle at The Green Study
    Jun 02, 2013 @ 19:48:58

    Wow – what a powerful and poetic piece of writing. Honestly, this is just beautiful. It is an unfortunate truth, that we are never done with our parents, especially if the relationship has always been troubled. At some point, a choice has to be made – glad you feel yours.

    Reply

  2. pegoleg
    Jun 02, 2013 @ 21:26:56

    Good choice, Sandy. You deserve it.

    Reply

  3. Cheryl LaVille
    Jun 02, 2013 @ 21:30:56

    Beautiful. I am pleased that you chose life. Life.
    Good for you.

    Reply

  4. Hope Happens
    Jun 02, 2013 @ 21:41:45

    Oh what a roller coaster ride ~ so glad you are taking care of yourself. So sorry for the current challenges. My heart is with you in this difficult time.

    Monica

    Reply

  5. Snoring Dog Studio
    Jun 03, 2013 @ 07:42:40

    I’m so sorry. But you do have to save yourself. We are truly not responsible for keeping other’s hopes alive.

    Reply

  6. Littlesundog
    Jun 03, 2013 @ 08:14:27

    What a powerful and thought-provoking post Sandy! That first paragraph punched me in the gut… I could FEEL it!! Not so long ago, I decided I was done sacrificing myself to others. For a time, I reveled in this new freedom, letting go and letting be. But I also found, deep in my soul, that I still yearned to be encouraging to others… to offer love in some manner. Love is who we all are, deep down. Even to ourselves, we must offer what is needed for the moment.

    Reply

  7. lonlon558
    Jun 03, 2013 @ 08:47:38

    Very uplifting piece. Reminds me to choose life instead of depression.

    Reply

  8. Barbara Allison
    Jun 03, 2013 @ 11:20:45

    Sandy Sue…You are brilliant, brave and compassionate. These are not just words. Do you even know how many people wish they could write and express themselves the way you can! You are willing to see yourself and work through that process with your friends….that”s BRAVE! You have been feeling the compassion for your mother and now she’s made a choice by not choosing, so you are making a compassionate choice for yourself. You are teaching all of us by your actions. Thank you for being in this world.

    Reply

  9. LindaNoel
    Jun 06, 2013 @ 22:11:02

    Unable to add to all of your friends’ posts above, I echo them and thank you so very much for putting your dear Self, Struggle, Soaring, Sense, . . .ok, I ran out of s’s…here where I get to be enriched by your expressing your Life through your writing. Thank you so much, SandySue !

    Reply

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