HAP Posted February 20, 2014 Report Share Posted February 20, 2014 I'm broken. There. I've said it. I haven't been right for a month or more. I feel like I am walking up hill through frozen molasses. My brain is frozen. My soul is frozen. And part of me will be just as happy if they never thaw out. I spent yesterday in bed. I was not sick. I was not tired. I just didn't have the desire to get out of bed. Instead, I lay there staring at the ceiling--thinking about what might have been--trying to imagine a retirement with Jane in it--trying to imagine a life in which I had made different choices--a world in which I could have saved her life from that damned cancer--where I went into medicine instead of teaching--where wars did not take precedence over everything and funding would not have been a problem. Jane said to me I had made her life better. But I could not stop her death, could not take away her pain--and God knows, I tried. I spent the day thinking about all my dead cancer patients--all the people I have lost: two kids before I graduated from high school, George--my neighbor who fought the pain of his lung cancer by gouging quarter inch deep scratches in the maple arms of his chair--my two best friends' fathers, the woman across the street from us, George's wife, my research partner in graduate school, a favorite uncle, my neighbor across the street, multiple people I went to high school with, people I taught with... David, Ashley, Katherine--and always, Jane. I spent the day thinking about all the people I am likely to lose--the daughter of a former student who is fighting leukemia--my neighbors with bladder and kidney cancer, Jane's cousin--who has cancer everywhere--a high school friend fighting leukemia--and a grad school friend who waits for hers to come back--my friend Pam, who has the same cancer Jane had... A friend once warned me not to get involved with someone because once I picked up their hand I would not be able to put it down without hurting them. The truth is, once I pick up a hand I never put it down until that hand is cold and dead. People can walk away from me--for decades--do it in the cruelest way possible--and it doesn't matter. They reach out, they call--and my hand is still there. And I have taken up so many hands: old hands, young hands, adult hands and child hands, healthy hands and sick hands. To quote Tennyson's Ulysses, "I have been a part of all that I have met." I have been part of their lives, as they have been a part of mine. i have rejoiced in their success and joy, wept at their failures and their pain. And I have been a part of each and every death--felt each of them as though they were a member of my family, because, of course they were--and are. How did I come to this? Why do I care for so many when so many do not care for anyone--or any thing--at all? Why do I bother with any of it? Why do I feel so guilty about missing a meeting or not doing this piece of reading or that bit of research or writing this article or that response? Why can't I just sit here in my chair and do nothing, think nothing, feel nothing? What monster sent me into the world this way? What monster keeps me here when all I want to do is go home? Why do I have this addictive personality issue that prevents me from even thinking about drugs, prescription or otherwise--that prevents me from even getting drunk--because I know so well what is down that particular rabbit hole? I'm tired. I have work to do. People have expectations of me. I have expectations of me. And there are never enough workers in this vineyard--never enough workers in this vineyard. I'm broken. I don't want to be fixed. I want to stay broken--non-functional. I want to scream, "Screw it all" at the top of my lungs and make it stick. But I won't. I have a tool kit around here somewhere--and some bailing wire and sealing wax. It may take me some time to work out how to take these odd broken pieces and put them back together into something workable--but I'll figure it out. It's what I do. It's who I am. Peace, Harry Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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