In the Cave

How are you holding up? What are you up to?

I’m in bed.

The short response worries me. Not good, I’m guessing.

It’s too much. It’s all just too much.

It is too much. For anyone to handle on their own. Can you talk to me? Tell me what’s in your head? On your heart?

I wish you were closer.

Me, too. You need a physical presence.

I do. Friendship incarnate.

I’m trying to find words. I’m not not answering.

Don’t worry about having words. I know the feelings.

I’m in bed in the dark, in jeans and a sweater and a belt,
because I was fine and then I wasn’t.

Everything about me is tired. Please don’t go.

I won’t. I never do.

That’s true. You never do.

I think it’s trauma.

It is trauma.

It doesn’t seem to be depression or even sadness. That’s the dichotomy in my mind. The confusion. Asking myself why I feel this way. But I think I know the answer.

It’s the events. I remember them perfectly. It’s the ER and the flu test and the prognosis and the promises. It’s like I have to drive through an intersection where my life changed forever. It’s the awareness of where I was. And where he was. And how afraid I was. I loved him through that night.

Are you still afraid?

No, I’m not afraid. My mind is stuck in that room. I can remember everything but the sound of his voice.

What if you stepped out of that room? Instead of being a character whos’ there, be a narrator. Or a spectator.

I can’t seem to leave. I’m trying.

How do you feel? What are the chains holding you there?

I feel so weighed down. Like I have to stay. I was the only one there. If I’m not there, nobody is there.

Do you know what happens if you don’t stay?

He dies alone.

You were there then.

You had to be there then. But what if you’re not there now? I am not suggesting that you don’t want to be there then, like someone else said – ‘wouldn’t it have been great if you had slept through it all.’ I’m not suggesting that.  But what if you watch yourself caring for him. Don’t BE yourself caring for him.

I did it so well.

You did. You did it very well. But he’s taken care of now.

You’re right. He’s taken care of.

I think it’s a piece of me. It gets bigger sometimes.

Of course it does.

You know what? I’m out of bed now.

You are very brave to enter this dark place with me.

You’re not supposed to deal with this alone. And now you’re not.

I came downstairs. I’m reading a cookbook.

In the last three years, anytime I am overcome or overwhelmed, I turn to food. Not to eat it, but to think of how to prepare it. I watched the Food Network for months.  I read cookbooks and food magazines.

Do you feel bad about that?

No, not at all.

Good. Don’t.

I just think it’s interesting to see how my mind works.

I want to read, but I don’t want to think.

I want to read solid directions that lead a to a concrete result.

Thank you for coming to find me in the cave. For coming in and bringing me out. For not just calling my name.

You’re welcome. You needed someone with a flashlight.

And then you came. And now I’m out.

Now you’re out.

How do you feel about chili? Or sausage gravy over biscuits?

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7 thoughts on “In the Cave

  1. I am so glad you have this friend with wise and comforting words. I’m up late thinking of and praying for you, too, Sweet Soul. So funny….Food Network, cookbooks… they were my go-to calming thing as well during worst year of PTSD. One day we should analyze why. I always say that cooking and thinking about cooking is a no-angst zone. No triggers to pain, just absorbing, low-key, sensory yummy thoughts of beautiful dishes we may or may not ever make or eat. Sleep peacefully. “All is well and all manner of things will be well.”

  2. Praying for you and the dear people in your life who love you so well. I came to know you three years ago in this season of joy; in this season of heartache and pain for you. But since that day, you have inspired me to live my life differently. To take stock of the passing of precious time and the days of opportunity that lay before me. But for today, I’m all in for the sausage gravy and biscuits. And one egg, over-easy, on the side. xoxo

  3. I’m thinking of you, as I do every year now and I’m sending Blessing and Peace to you and those two sweet boys. Your writing is so so beautiful and my heart aches every time.

  4. A paper snowflake on his desk today to celebrate the life that loved you. Prayers to you all.

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