poetry • art • marriage • momhood • faith

Looking for Answers & Hope

when we were children quote by madeline l'engle

I hate to complain, so I usually don’t, but I have to be honest here: Aging sucks. Having health issues sucks. Having “mental illness” sucks.

 

And looking for answers, finding the right medication, the right doctor, the right ANSWERS sucks too. Especially when the search is fruitless.

Over a month ago, my husband was diagnosed with gallstones. A little over a week ago he had surgery to evict the offending organ and its 23 troublesome tenants. Fortunately, all went well, he was an easy and appreciative patient, and he is nearly back to his wonderful, not-quite-normal self.

 

Today I heard word that my grandpap has been released to ho home to heal after surgery to remove cancerous tumors: Praise the Lord, all looks good there too. His is the most recent installment in the litany of recent “cancer free” praise reports I’ve heard lately.

 

And here I am feeling sorry for myself that I’ve not received any word that something is wrong with me.

 

Ok, so it’s not quite like that. I don’t want to have an illness, not in the sense that I want to be sick at least. Rather, we already know there must be something wrong within my walls of skin.  It is not “normal” for a “healthy” woman in her early 30’s to lose three healthy babies in the second trimester. The question is, what is the problem? I have been to four separate doctors in the past five weeks. I have appointments to see two (maybe three) more by mid April. I’m tired. I’m tired of blood work, arranging childcare, and spending time and gas and money to simply be told again, “We don’t know.”  Even definitive “negative” news would better than no answers at all. In this case, no news is NOT good news.

***

My psychologist reminds me, to help minimize my anxiety be “present in the moment.” Breathe, exercise and drink more water than I really care to, and eat protein, especially for breakfast.

 

And that helps. Some days.

 

But in this moment, I am tired. I am angry.  And I feel unworthy of hope or hoping. I don’t think that’s what she was going for.

 

Still, I look around at the piles of clutter and constant disarray in which I live. And I think,  “Where would we put another baby?” I catch myself yelling at the boys out of frustration and I think, “I can’t keep up with or handle the three I have, why would God give us another?” I wake up tired, hit the bed exhausted at night, and then “sleep” restlessly, and I can’t fathom functioning on the lack of sleep that caring for a newborn or toddler entails.

 

And yet, my heart desires a rainbow child with such ferocity that all else might as well be the background noise of my 24/7 tinnitus.

 

So then I feel guilt for not being the wife my husband deserves, the mother my children need, the friend I want to be.

I try to get things done around the house but drag my feet.

I try to be cheery and hopeful and “allow” myself time to create… AFTER this task or that. “Clean off the kitchen counter and you can write a poem” or “Two more loads of laundry, then you can paint those shoes you’ve been itching to get artsy with.” I keep putting my creative needs last because my children will starve if I don’t feed them, and dirty dishes will attract roaches.

 

I keep forgetting it’s the creative process that heals me and that I won’t be able to be a good ME at any of my jobs until I let  myself be creative first.

 

How does a creative parent balance that? Again, a question without an answer for me.

 

And it will probably stay that way.

 

But I’ll keep trying. It’s better than the alternative.

 

In the meantime, I have a roast thawing, waiting to be put in the oven for Sunday dinner, a kitchen table to clear. dishes to wash, laundry to fold.

 

And poetry to write and live.

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torch bearing quietly

I will not act out, will not
yell or curse or slam doors,
will not make a scene -- you
do not deserve such a chance
to make an example out of me
to be proven right since you
are not. Instead, I'll stand
at this street corner, raise
my hand high and clench that
light which yet remains. It
will burn brightly, quietly,
fiercely before fading as I.

Then I'll be gone but found.

©JAC 2005

Poetry by Julie Ann Cook!

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Love Like Weeds
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