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I’m still here. Only with lower standards.

Don’t expect much. I’m only sitting here typing because I made a deal with myself. I would write something, anything, and if I did then I could have a spoonful of peanut butter. Of course, who am I kidding, I’ve already had three already today. But I’m using this contrived bargaining chip, and low and behold, results! I have completed four and a half lines so far.

It has been so long since I have even attempted to write that my mind has lost the feel for it. My thoughts are slow to form and my fingers are equally lethargic. I took both a voluntary and involuntary break this past January.  Involuntary because my husband was in the process of switching offices and while he waited for his new offices to be finished, he commandeered my work space. Voluntary because I had just completed a new fiction novel. One that I was – I mean am – pretty excited about. Jam packed with sex, murder and little league baseball politics, it’s a total homerun. (My apologies for the lame humor. The brain isn’t quite sharpened yet.) Anyway, after finishing it, I was spent, and didn’t mind the brief reprieve, until days turned into weeks which turned into months. Soon my office had multiple screens up, projecting law documents and memorandum. His files overtook my random papers of creative thought and soon I couldn’t find a bit of myself in the corporate takeover of my writing space.

At about the same time, my father took a dip in the deep end of the depression pool, and while this is far from uncommon, sometimes when my guard is lowered, my resistance down and my hormones up, it weighs on me as heavily as the ice cream I wind up eating too much of. Each trip to the pool is unique and this time he wasn’t flailing around as usual, grasping at anyone (me) to save him. No, this time he sank slowly, barely making a wave. I stopped reading, and it being winter, confined myself to hibernation, keeping busy with all the uber-important details that a mom of three growing boys must tend to, mainly doing the laundry for them to kick across their floors, schlepping them to and from school and fields while they ignore me on their phones, and preparing meals for their lackluster review. With the husband busier than ever and no mental stimulation to distract, the water seemed to rise around me as well.

But that was then. Now, I’ve spent the last few weeks diligently nudging myself toward a better frame of mind. I’ve embraced the sun (when it shines) and use it to lure me from my shell. I have started reading again. First a book called, The Art of Hearing Heartbeats, a truly lovely romantic fable with so much sweetness that it gave my dark brain an attack of the eye rolls. But then a friend handed me, I Am Pilgrim, a detective thriller that has me electrified and turning pages at lightning speed. It has been a gift, offering both escape and inspiration.

I now occasionally catch myself contemplating what to do with my new manuscript, while mulling over potential freelance essays on the new dynamic of parenting my first born teenaged son, the recent birthday of my mother (No she’s not 70!) or how the girl next to me in my gym class achieved such an amazing ass. I mean really people, it’s essay worthy.

I even remembered that I have a blog. So you see, I’m slowly wading over to a safer place. But I don’t want to overexert myself. I’ve accomplished what I set out to do. I sat here, rubbed the sleep from my brain and rambled on a bit. It’s a start. I think I earned my reward.


Okay, so I took two spoons. But it’s kind of like therapy. Protein is good for the brain, right?! I actually think I’m going to need another one to hit publish. I forgot how stressful this was! Okay, here goes… 

My Call of Duty

He’s waiting for my call.

I can see him, crouched over on his bed, trying to rouse himself out of his stupor; hoping a call from me will do the trick, maybe give him some reason to wake up.

I don’t want to call.

I haven’t wanted to call in years. Decades, maybe. But it’s not about what I want, it’s about what he needs. And what he needs is for me to check in on him daily, just to show him someone still cares, that someone is interested in whether he lives or dies. And that someone is me. There is nobody else.

He had his home health aide there earlier but he slept through her entire shift, and now he’s woken up alone. The table is covered with medications of all colors and sizes. The room is littered with books and papers and boxes of clutter. Ash from the cigarettes he shouldn’t be smoking dusts the room.

Getting from the bed to the bathroom is a dangerous escapade with his weakened legs and broken body. Through heavily medicated eyes, he considers his path. It is all so overwhelming, he allows himself the pleasure of closing them.  Sleep is a beautiful thing.

By the time he opens them again, it is over 20 minutes later, but he doesn’t feel the passage of time. He generally doesn’t feel anything, but of course, the pain. And a nagging urge for the bathroom. He considers his walker a few feet away. He should use it for support. He has fallen at least three times this week, and his body is sore from the damage. He can’t fall again.

He wonders if it’s his body that breaks down and then he falls, or his brain that loses focus causing him to fall. Probably both. More than once, he has been woken by his home health aide on the floor, where he fell. The effort to get back up is too much. The frustration unspeakable.

He eyes the walker. In this crowded space, it can be as much an asset as a detriment. Is he strong enough to go it alone? A heavy, head drooping sigh causes him to look down at his feet and notice the rash creeping up his legs. Problems, everywhere he looks. His glance focuses in on the ice cream he took out hours ago, melted on the counter. Oh well. He can pour cereal in it and have it for breakfast, if he ever gets up.

He begins to close his eyes again, telling himself he needs just a little more rest before he makes the attempt, but really he’s just unable to find the motivation to move himself.

The phone rings, distracting his thoughts, waking him a bit, taking him to a more hopeful place.

He’s waiting for my call.