Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A Last Hurrah

you've got to click and make this bigger to really see it!

I took the boys and Sophie to Santa Monica yesterday late in the afternoon. Frankly, summer is gasping, and so am I. We didn't want to do the whole drag everything down to the beach since it was incredibly crowded with Labor Day people, so we decided to rent bicycles and ride toward the Santa Monica Pier. I had brought Sophie's stroller and figured I could just stroll her while the boys rode, but then I decided to cart Sophie along behind me in one of those carts meant for two toddlers. Sophie is fourteen and of average height, but she's very light and likes to sit with her legs crossed, so she seemed comfortable and I was thrilled at the prospect of some exercise. The sun was sparkling in that late summer way on the ocean, sailboats were twinkling by and everything was rosy. The bike path was mobbed with cyclists, but the boys were doing well and we just kept riding. We passed families barbecuing, people playing volleyball, surfers changing out of wet suits and flashing their skin, homeless people rooting through trashcans and a whole beach of exercise hoops and rings and a tightrope walker who had the blackest skin and the biggest, rippling muscles the boys had ever seen (click on the photo above and see him up close!). It was there, at the outdoor "gym," that we stopped and watched for a while, marveling at all the athletic prowess. And it was there that Sophie started having one of her long clusters of seizures, the kind where her arms and legs thrust out. Where she bucks like a wild horse and groans. This went on for probably twenty minutes, during which I did what I always do: crouch over her,  it's all right it's all right and try to keep her from banging her elbows and feet. I was sweating in the sun and I suddenly lost my temper, but only INSIDE MY HEAD. Meaning, I thought I wish I could kill myself right now. I wish  we were dead. If you're worried, don't be. This feeling doesn't come often and I imagine that many of us who do this job over and over day in and day out for years and years have it. The beauty of this blog is that I have a space, a place to write it. It doesn't feel like a secret and wear me out.

Thank you for listening.
My last hurrah is actually for the summer.

And this is for you, courtesy of Albert Einstein:

Strange is our situation here upon earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to a divine purpose. From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: That we are here for the sake of others...for the countless unknown souls with whose fate we are connected by a bond of sympathy. Many times a day, I realize how much my outer and inner life is built upon the labors of people, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received.
Albert Einstein


  1. Oh GOD I love that quote. Thank you for that fucking quote. I hope you dont' mind the cursing but that is how I feel about it. I needed that quote, and I will cherish it, because it's a truth for me.

    As far as your day- and your thoughts- yes. Chronic emotional stress will leave those kind of thoughts to fly up in your mind like black crows. I've had that, too.

    Good job, momma. Really good job.

    my word veri is 'exhalia'

  2. Thinking of you and sending love your way :)

  3. beautiful, as always elizabeth. i am always so moved by einstein, and amazed that he is not (at least) as well known for his philosophy as he is for his science.

    and yes, those moments when you just wish it were all over. i know those.


  4. Elizabeth, I feel a great connection with you and I don't know why. But I do. And I think of you often during my day. You are a person who commands respect with your words and your deeds whether you know it or not. And you are taking care of your part of the world and I am grateful for you for that.

  5. Thanks for writing out loud what many of us say in our heads.

  6. If I would be made to pay a fine for every time I had honestly wished to be dead, I would be poorer than a church mouse.

    Isn't it normal? What are the other options at that time when that wish visits our despair? The body is tired, the brains are burnt, the spirit is rumpled at the bottom of my feet, sick and tired of being sick and tired. And knowing that this is not an isolated incident, a passing "bad".

    But while the incident may not pass, the wish does. Then I go on just like you do, neither better nor worse, neither wiser nor guilty of stupidity because of it. Elizabeth, you carry your burden with dignity, compassion, understanding and honesty. It is heavier than anyone of us perhaps could understand, but I know I can understand "that" moment.

    And that moment, thank goodness, passes. I am glad you are alive.

  7. Hi Elizabeth -- that was a very beautiful, real post. Feeling, in the moment, like you want to kill yourself because you can't stop your daughter's seizures sounds like a very natural response (in particular given the Einstein quote and its message of interconnection).

    Hugs, Louise

  8. Thank God for the freedom to lose our temper "in our minds" and to be able to share thoughts NOT as if they were secrets. There's some release in that .... just like the black crows flying up that Maggie May mentions. I can see them fly.

  9. Oh, I wish I was there to stand with you! I love how transparent you are... it's good for the soul, mine and yours!

  10. I know what you mean. When we were on family vacation this summer DS seized seemingly non-stop and after he dragged me across the table at a restaurant by my hair in front of our extended family I thought the same thing you thought today. Of course, we don't mean it. I think is an effective vent in the moment.

  11. Oh Elizabeth. I am not worried for you, I know you are safe.

    I am just so sad because I kind of know a little bit of that feeling. I have thought it so many times for myself, thinking just get it over with already. But I can't even imagine how much harder because it is with your sweet girl, but you just want peace too. You just don't want it to be so hard. You just don't want everything to be such a fucking battle.

    Love you dear friend.

    Love Renee xoxo

  12. I wish my daughter and I were dead sometimes too. Not often but every once in awhile when things seem hopeless and I think the rest of our lives will be hopeless. I'm glad I'm not the only one because I was feeling like the worst mom ever. Thank you.

  13. Amen to Albert E.!
    I'm so sorry that you have these moments, but I get it. Not that our situations are the same, but I get the emotions. I'm thankful that you have this space, too. We are community; you & your family are blessing us. You are gently held, even from afar.

  14. So sorry that beautiful day with its sparkling waters and the freedom of a bike ride, from even deciding to go on a bike ride, evaporated just like that. So frustrating and horrible for you, Sophie and the boys. I'm glad you have this space and compassionate listeners. Sending hugs from afar!

  15. It's not fair. Of course you're sometimes struck angry and wanting out. The miracle is that you have good times too.



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