Monday, May 5, 2014

How We Do It: Part XLIV

When a doctor tells you you have silent migraines, it's like asking someone on the street which way to the station and they say, I think it's that way, and point toward an urban horizon. But they're not sure. My policy is to never follow directions from someone who isn't sure. Keep asking until you find someone who knows, even if it's awkward and insulting to the person that thinks you should probably, maybe, turn left.
Stephen Elliot, via his Rumpus emails 

I watched Sophie have a very big seizure yesterday. She was sitting on her bed when it started, as was I. I was reading Eleanor and Park aloud to her, wondering if it was all right to read aloud the words fuck and shit which were sprinkled liberally throughout the first chapter. She's nineteen years old. I skipped over the word retard, flaming off the page. Sophie fell over seizing and I put down the book and said it's ok, Sophie, and then I watched her grimace and jerk, her thin legs and even thinner feet stiff, her toes curled. She made a guttural sound even as I spoke softly and watched her lips turn gray and eyes blink. I looked out the window, at the light falling on the drifting sun mobile that hangs from the silk floss tree. I probably blinked a few times and wondered at my own dissociation even as I dissociated. No one knows what this is like unless they know. When it first started happening, when I asked for direction and got it, I trusted the way. I gave her this drug and that one. I measured sticks of butter and whipped cream with slivers of strawberries, spooned it into her mouth as she paced restlessly around her room, starved. I removed all fragrances and chemicals from the apartment, the direction an Orthodox lady gave us using a pendulum in upstate New York. I removed dairy and added long-chain fatty acids, probiotics before they were called that, walked down paths while being mocked (I know you did, behind my back). I don't remember which year it was when I realized that the person giving directions wasn't sure, but I stopped taking them. If you stop taking directions, you wander. You wander down different paths and up staircases in offices on residential streets. A man with a ridiculous name taps his long fingers together and tells you, Help will not come from a traditional source. It will be natural and near-spiritual in nature. You forget that direction until you remember it. It's a feeling in the pit of yourself, not in an organ. You dissociate from it until you can't any longer, and then you look. You find someone who knows, and that someone is you. It is awkward and insulting to the others when you find the way, but you keep walking it. You give her the oily extract from the plant, a spiritual plant. Sophie only had the one big seizure, and it came after nearly three weeks with none. Go this way, says the sun as it twists in the wind under the silk floss. Keep going this way.


  1. Trust your own inner guidance. Always.

  2. You are natural and spiritual in nature, too, and quite a healer.

  3. "You forget that direction until you remember it." What post~! Thank you.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. I wonder how often those doctors that are giving us direction only seem to be confident that they know the answers. Actually, never mind. I don't want to know...

  6. I've given over the lion's share of my backyard garden and a whole lot more of my hope and prayers to the promise dangling at the end of those bright green, pointy leaves. Your family's success keeps me diligent in tending to my compost tea duties.

  7. You knock me out. Every day.

  8. Thank you for this post. For this post and for the hundreds of others you have written and shared to show us the directions you have followed. As I sit here at my work computer, wiping tears from my eyes about my own directions, all I can think to say back is thank you.

    1. Well, now you've made me cry -- not only this comment, but your overwhelming words today on YOUR blog. I guess we'll all have to huddle and cry together, right?

  9. Oh Elizabeth. I'm going to email you.

  10. Thank you, Elizabeth. You are such a warm light in this world. You can do this.xo

  11. I'm still listening, reading, watching reflections and disassociating sometimes.

  12. Following your heart - it's just the only way - keep going

  13. It certainly sounds to me, from this far remove, that you are on the right path.

  14. I love your How We Do It posts...these glimpses into your world and Sophie's. But I hate that you have to do it at all. Keep going this way, and know we are cheering you on, and also taking notes for our own journey.

  15. it must be both a huge relief and a huge weight on you.

  16. Elizabeth. This is so poignantly beautiful in its expression. I weep because I live this wandering, and it is so hard, yet I am grateful that it is me, and not my child. This you live, and this you walk, and I am so very glad that you have found a road that has led to this respite for your beautiful Sophie.

  17. I can't help but think of TS Eliot (of course), and when I went searching for these lines, I kept reading, and it's all so perfect. I know that you are a master at finding solace in the very life that holds so much pain. And I know you take solace in poetry.

    We shall not cease from exploration
    And the end of all our exploring
    Will be to arrive where we started
    And know the place for the first time.
    Through the unknown, remembered gate
    When the last of earth left to discover
    Is that which was the beginning;
    At the source of the longest river
    The voice of the hidden waterfall
    And the children in the apple-tree
    Not known, because not looked for
    But heard, half heard, in the stillness
    Between the two waves of the sea.
    Quick now, here, now, always--
    A condition of complete simplicity
    (Costing not less than everything)
    And all shall be well and
    All manner of things shall be well
    When the tongues of flame are in-folded
    Into the crowned knot of fire
    And the fire and the rose are one.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...