Saturday, September 27, 2008

Nothing New Under the Sun

It's been dark around here, I know, for a week or so.

I was in Chicago for a health conference and didn't really have computer access. I was surrounded by healthcare professionals, most positively noble in their efforts to change the abyss that is the American healthcare system. I was surrounded by other mothers with special needs children, some who had more than one. We are all damaged, pieces of us ripped off and hanging, but together we are somehow whole. From Colorado and Minnesota and Maine and Washington and Florida and New Hampshire and California, we wear different clothes and have different accents and some believe and others don't and it doesn't really matter. I haven't met a mother with a special child who I didn't connect to in some way (except, I imagine, THAT WOMAN).

I'm also feeling dark and not much in the mood for writing. Sophie is doing terribly right now, wracked by seizures and fluctuating hormones. She got off the school bus this week and staggered to her room, lay down and slept for over five hours. I wonder how much a body can take. I had one of my classic late-night breakdowns last night where I curse everything and everyone, certain that my life is ruined and that Sophie's is as well. I don't know what takes me over but all that I've learned seems to fly out and away and I sit and hold Sophie and rock her and wail at it all. It sounds dramatic, and it is.

And then the sun comes up and I feel better. Sort of. The boys run around laughing and screaming. The Husband starts dicing and slicing in the kitchen. If I'm lucky, I have a babysitter, one of the saints, really, who murmurs to Sophie sweet, soft words and I can then walk away and into the shower where I press my face against the cool tiles and feel the hot water pounding on my back. I remember all the cool tiles of the showers I've hidden in during the last dozen years, my tears mixing with the water and washing away.

My mother wrote today of a friend who is worried sick about the world and the state of America. My mother is intensely partisan and unfortunately conservative, and this kind of talk is just plain irritating to me. But I guess if I had voted for and supported a president who has squandered literally everything our country has ever stood for, I'd feel depressed, too.

I had the thought that when the Roman Empire fell, it ushered in the Middle Ages and then the Renaissance came and with it humanity was restored (at least for most!). Except for that rather long period of The Dark Ages. But we live in a fast world, now, right? And I'm hoping that our own Fall and Middle Ages (think torture and the Inquisition and anti-intellectual fervor)are all sped up and don't last for much longer and that we see some sort of Renaissance. At least for all these children that surround us. That sort of cheers me up.

Call me selfish (but this is a blog, after all), in my own small world, the small world that contains Sophie and Sophie and Sophie, I'm hoping for a renaissance, too. And that would really cheer me up.

And I write this fully aware that I must sit in the present, believing in its passing, believing in its change.

My favorite passage in the Bible:

The Teacher (see his image at the top)
from the St. James version

All Is Vanity
1 The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.
2 Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.
3 What profit hath a man of all his labor which he taketh under the sun?
4 One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.
5 The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.
6 The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits.
7 All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full: unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.
8 All things are full of labor; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.
9 The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.
10 Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.
11 There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after.

So, that's that. Healthcare and seizures and sorrow and back again.


  1. Oh sweethear , you tell it like it is for so many. I will wish for you and Sophie a true Renaissance.

  2. I'm sorry Sophie isn't doing well. I was telling a friend today that I was really tired of dealing with some aspects of the poetry world, if only because of the persistent intellectual fascination with signifiers that are separated from/not backed by a signified. So you get these empty suit poems inflated with air. And then I wondered if I had so little tolerance for this sort of discourse because my entire life is filled with trying to figure out what all these signifiers of illness mean for which there are no readily available signifieds. This does not result for me in an interesting interlude of careful contemplation--this results for me in what you describe, tearful, exhausted breakdowns at many points in the day. It's either that or be Scarlett O'Hara and keep saying, "Tomorrow is another day."

  3. Thanks for your thoughts, special needs mama and jerry critter.

    And for jeneva, along with Scarlett's famous words, I'd add Rett's "Frankly, I don't give a damn!" And that, of course, would be directed at the empty suits, poems, neurologists, whatever...

  4. I really admire your strength. I know as parents we all do what needs done for our children. I am not in your shoes and looking in from the outside I see you as such a strong person who goes above and beyond what is expected. I can only hope for you that the wave of bad is followed by a tsunami of good.

  5. I like that biblical passage too.

    (Found you through Barbara's blog)



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