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Archive for July, 2011

Dead Moms Can’t Care

Nearly twenty years ago, I awakened screaming in pain in the middle of the night.

I was the stoic one. Bust my head doing flips off the bed? Greet it with a grimace. Fall from a stand off my moving bike? Greet it with a grimace. What good would crying do me anyway?

It was my customary stoicism that made my mom anxious. It made her so anxious, in fact, that she decided to take me to the hospital. She did this despite the fact her deadbeat ex-husband as seldom paid child support as medical bills.

A trip to the emergency room? That would put her out months of garage sale money, which was frequently all the money she had to get by.

During uninsured periods, my mom grappled with the same horrific decision every time one of her children got sick: a trip to the hospital and even worse financial instability than she already faced daily (including potential loss of home) or riding it out at home and risking—if worse came to worst—the loss of a child.

Of course, it’s not only a child’s own health care that determines her personal well being. Read more…

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Maybe they are just going home

Try as I might to remember, I forget most my night dreams.

By contrast, one night dream I wished to forget clung to me for many years before I finally accepted its memory will be a constant companion throughout my life.

I am sitting in a doctor’s office with my sister Rache. She holds my hand as her elderly doctor informs her she’s not only sick with cancer, but that it is so invasive and malignant within her body that she has at most three days to live. Rache seems resigned; she simply pats my hand while I weep.

I’m suddenly by myself outside a large church. I gaze up at it and think, “How could you, G-d? How could you?” I walk inside the empty church and see that, though no lights are on, it’s full of sunlight filtered through stained glass windows. The church’s paneling is dark, so the light mostly emphasizes the nostalgic darkness of its interior.

Without being aware of having moved, I’m in the center pulpit of the church. I fall to my knees, look skyward and try to see the beauty of the panes above me. Instead, I see only beauty which my sister will soon never be able to see again. 

I scream. I scream, and scream, and scream, until my voice is lost and I can scream no more, and the ground around me is drenched with my tears.

I heard that same scream this afternoon.

I was enjoying the outdoor seating of my favorite cafe, basking in the goodness of having written 840 words in my WIP after a writingless week, when heartwrenching cries filled the air. My own heart plummeted to my feet as I thought, I know that sound. While I didn’t know its exact source, I knew it almost certainly had to do with the hospice next door.

I was wrestling with the warring urges to offer comfort and ignore it lest my offer be rejected when the middle-aged ladies the next table over stood up.

“Are you going to go talk to her?” I asked. They nodded as they strode away from their belongings and food.

When they returned a few minutes later, the older lady touched a hand to her heart and said, “She just admitted her son to hospice.”

My own hand rose to my heart as I said, “I recently lost my mom, so . . . I’m glad you guys went out to talk to her. I was struggling with whether I should.”

A few minutes later, as I prepared to leave, the woman further from me asked, “How long ago was it?”

I explained that it’s been more than a year now since my mom passed away. “It’s much easier now, but it’s hard to hear that and know someone is just beginning that journey themselves. The inevitability of it. I’m so glad you guys went and talked to her. I just wish I hadn’t waffled . . .”

Immediately, both women spoke.

“You’re just fine,” said one.

“Sit with us for a little!” said the other.

I shook my head and said I had to go, but thanked them again. They wished me well and I felt sorrow and gratitude warring in my heart.

As I turned to the left and started to walk past the hospice, I saw a woman sitting on a bench outside it. She was quiet, but her body was shaking with her silent sobs. I kept walking, seeing as if there were cords connecting them that the two people nearest her in the courtyard were with her.

What good could I do, anyway? I kept walking.

A cry escaped her as neared the end of the hospice. I froze and thought, “I’d rather say something, no matter how inane, than not say anything at all.” I turned around, walked back, and felt tears sliding ever faster down my face as I approached.

“Is there anything I can do?” I whispered, even though I already knew the answer.

“No,” the woman said, her sobs continuing. “But thank you.”

I didn’t say anything else after that. What could I possibly say? But I said a prayer as I walked away, wishing her comfort and love to see her through the tumult ahead.

I remembered that dream. And I was glad I couldn’t forget it, because how it ended was very different from how it began.

It’s the third day. Rache and my godmother are sitting on a hillside, basking in the sun. Rache waves at me and pats a spot next to her on the grass. “If this is all the time I’ve got left, I’d rather spend it here than crying in a dark room somewhere.” I smile, because that seems so right somehow.

I lay down next to her on the grass and she holds my hand. There are so many balloons in the sky, all of them drifting upward toward heaven, that I think maybe they are just going home.

Two vampires and a merman walk into a bar . . .

Reminder: Don’t forget to enter my two-book giveaway before Friday!

Once upon a time, which for the more literal-minded among you might look like March 7, 2011, yours truly reported she’d be releasing the second book in The Glass Ball trilogy (begun by The Monster’s Daughter)  in September 2011. The third book in the trilogy would follow by roughly six months.

Oh, March 7 Deb, you’re so cute!

Hope and all things hope-like, I will make you suffer!

When I posted these deadlines, I encouraged y’all to “Remind me I am merely editing already written books, for which six months apiece was probably a lot on the excessive side.” I didn’t (a) bother mentioning that I’d begun writing another book or (b) anticipate I’d finish my first edit of TMD 2 and realize I really didn’t want to wield my pen like a pitchfork just because I could.

I took the month of June off writing. I was driving myself crazy with blogging-related endeavors, so that I felt I needed a total reset before diving into non-blogging projects with energy and a fresh perspective. I considered my works in progress occasionally during that month, deciding I’d nose-down and plow my way through:

  1. Editing TMD 2 and release it to beta readers, then editors
  2. Editing TMD 3 while waiting for feedback from 1 above
  3. Finishing the first draft of Elelu (which has massively benefited from my experiences editing TMD)*

I greeted July determined to follow this path. My intentions are always as good, after all, as they are misguided! The problem was that I set out to write a couple hundred words in Elelu one day, only to find a veritable flood of words pouring forth.  Thus it is that one-third of the way through July I find myself going, “Welp, dammit, looks like #3 is becoming #1!”

Seriously, though. One deadline I’m absolutely going to meet? Finishing the first draft of Elelu within a month.

Really. It’s gonna happen. All my other deadlines? Those were different.

This one’s the real deal.

* As I described it in the entry Villains & pedicures, “Every several sentences, I ask myself, ‘Will editing the last few sentences make me want to jump off a roof?’ So far, I haven’t answered ‘yes’ even once, but it’s good to keep checking. This diligence now is an investment in a happier, saner future me.”

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