“If the Olive Trees knew the hands that planted them, Their Oil would become Tears.” ~ Mahmoud Darwish

e. e. cummings Bench in Oregon by Tony the Misfit (FCC)


“Often what I need is even a darker darkness.” ~ Valzhyna Mort, from “Mocking Bird Hotel

Thursday evening. Low 70’s, humid.

Brighton Beach Bench by Elsie esq. (FCC)

I have not been writing, not only because of my emotional state, but also because my left hand seems to have frozen or something. It’s not carpal tunnel, but it may be a recurrence of De Quervain’s tynosynovitis, or what used to be known as washer woman’s hand. It’s a syndrome that is akin to carpal tunnel, but is focused on the thumb.

All I know is that I’ve been wearing an immobilizing brace on both my wrists, but my left wrist is definitely much worse. I have an appointment with the pain doctor on Tuesday. When I called to see if I could get in this week, they told me that everyone, everyone was on vacation. Glad it’s not an emergency.

So keyboarding is quite painful, as is anything else involving my wrist, which is . . . just about everything. I’ve been swallowing ibuprofen like they are Sweet Tarts, and it gives me a bit of relief, which I am taking advantage of at this moment to try to put together a post.

Earlier today my mother called and scared the crap out of me. I thought that she had had a stroke, and of course, no vehicle. I called Alexis, who eventually got here and drove me over. I didn’t call 911 because I had mom do the basic tests for a stroke while I was on the phone with her. If you don’t know what these are, you should. The acronym to remember is FAST:

  • FACE: Ask the person to smile. Does one side droop downwards?
  • ARMS: Ask the person to raise both arms above the head. Does one arm drift downward?
  • SPEECH: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is the speech slurred or strange (nonsensical)?
  • TIME: If you observe any of these symptoms, call 911

Fortunately, she did not exhibit any of the above. She had been sick to her stomach and dizzy. I reminded her that she had some nausea medicine. When I got to her house, I had her do the tests again, and she was fine. Her blood pressure was fine as was her blood sugar. My blood pressure, however, was way above normal.

“It’s so curious: one can resist tears and ‘behave’ very well in the hardest hours of grief. But then someone makes you a friendly sign behind a window, or one notices that a flower that was in bud only yesterday has suddenly blossomed, or a letter slips from a drawer . . . and everything collapses.” ~ Colette

Empty Bench by lovstromp (FCC)

So other than that bit of excitement, I’ve been trying to stay busy, but it’s not really working. I have so much paperwork that I need to do. I started it during the hurricane while we didn’t have electricity. I thought that mundane tasks were as good as anything else to do to pass the time. Of course, I didn’t finish it, and everything is in a neat pile on the dining room table (which I cleaned, also during the hurricane).

I found out that my lifelong friend Sarah suffered severe damage from Irene. Unfortunately, she suffered severe damage from the last hurricane to hit this area, and once again, she is without a livable abode. Thankfully, her mother still lives in the area, just down the street from my mom.

The top of the oak tree from the backyard is over the fence and into the bush hedge that separates the park from the houses in this neighborhood. Corey hasn’t tried his chainsaw yet to see if it works. Here’s hoping that it will work because a chainsaw is the only thing that’s going to work.

I hadn’t realized that so much of the tree had fallen. In my mind, I thought that it was just a piece of the tree, so Corey kept giving me funny looks when I suggested he just use his grappling hook to move the branch. Later, when I actually saw the damage, I realized that there is no grappling hook big enough to move that tree top. We’re talking about twelve or so feet of tree trunk with branches.

I need to call our homeowner’s policy holder as I learned that we can still get flood insurance, but it won’t be valid until 30 days after we sign up. Still, we really need to get it, and we just never seem to think about it until it’s too late. I think that we’ll be able to get a policy for under $400, but don’t ask me why that particular number is in my head. I could be imagining things again.

“The cure for anything is salt water—sweat, tears, or the sea.” ~ Isak Dinesen

Old Wooden Bench Overlooking the Aegean Sea by horia varlan (FCC)

Ann saw the lawyer yesterday to clarify disposition of the house. She/we want to make sure the evil stepmother cannot lay any claims on it. It’s the type of thing that she would do, too, stick her unwanted nose into family business of which she is not a part. I’m more family than she is.

As it turns out, the divorce agreement could be interpreted in one of two ways, so the lawyer suggested that Ann and Paul go talk to their father to clarify what his wishes are. I have no doubts that he will do the right thing as long as his wife does not butt in.

Can you tell that she just burns me? Yes, I dislike her that intensely, for numerous reasons.

I’ve written my eulogy for the memorial service, which is on September 10. I also have written a poem, which I may or may not post here, still not sure. Ann and I have decided that after the service, we’re going back to her mom’s house and drink wine, perhaps for hours and hours. That is how I feel at the moment: I don’t want to feel.

Nothing is real to me yet. I still have yet to grieve, still have not cried. I just can’t.

All that I feel is a continuous dull pain in my chest. I recognize this pain, know it for what it is: the wall between then and now. It is taking every bit of my fortitude to hold up that wall.

Please do not tell me that I need to let myself cry. I remember running into Caitlin’s doctors in the hospital away from her room, and the two of them said (her two female neurosurgeons with whom I had developed a relationship of sorts) that I should just let myself cry. I remember looking at them and saying that once I started I wasn’t sure that I could stop.

It sounds stupid, not thinking that you will be able to stop crying, but it’s a very real feeling—that taking that one step into the void will be irreversible, because it will. Trust me. I know.

“He wanted to cry quietly, but not for himself: for the words, so beautiful and sad, like music.” ~ James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Bench in Mobile, AL, Botanical Garden by Alwright1 (FCC)

I’m going to put together a collage of family pictures to put on display at the memorial. I told Ann that I would do it. Of course, I haven’t started it. That would be the responsible thing to do.

I’m just kind of treading water here. I get up from the bed, walk into the kitchen and look around, walk back into the bedroom, look around, completely forget what I was going to do. I sit down to this keyboard and then nothing . . .  absolutely nothing. Whatever I was thinking of doing or reading or writing is gone within seconds.

To be perfectly honest, I just zoned. I took my eyes from the screen for two seconds, and when I looked back, I couldn’t remember my train of thought.

It’s a state of perpetual hold, like being on hold with a utility company and hearing bad music over and over again until the best solution seems to be to bang your head against the wall, any wall, to make the stupid, inane songs stop, and then, just when you think the interminable wait is over, and that someone is going to respond to your needs, there is a click, and the soundtrack starts over again.

I think that I understand why people actually pull out their hair. Anything is better than this nothing.

Sorry to be so morose. It simply can’t be helped.

More later. Peace.

Music by Jets Overhead, “Where Did You Go?”

                   

Meaning

When I die, I will see the lining of the world.
The other side, beyond bird, mountain, sunset.
The true meaning, ready to be decoded.
What never added up will add Up,
What was incomprehensible will be comprehended.
—And if there is no lining to the world?
If a thrush on a branch is not a sign,
But just a thrush on the branch? If night and day
Make no sense following each other?
And on this earth there is nothing except this earth?
—Even if that is so, there will remain
A word wakened by lips that perish,
A tireless messenger who runs and runs
Through interstellar fields, through the revolving galaxies,
And calls out, protests, screams.

~ Czeslaw Milosz

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