The purple sage, visible from my window, wait for me to prune their plumes, two minutes in the morning I cut as many as I can until my arms and legs fall limp. In the evening when it is cool enough for me to walk outside, when I have a wave of energy and mobility, I prune them another two minutes. In between, they stand like children given a bad haircut, by a parent who can’t cut hair, but wants to save money. They wait for me, part tall tired plumes, part short green grey leaves beginning to sprout anew.
A Chinese Chicken Pasta Salad cools on the kitchen counter. If it had feelings it might be relieved that its waiting is over…that it has become a salad. Four hours it took me, to cut red peppers, and broccoli into tiny spears, to saute chicken, to mix soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, sugar and ginger into dressing and to boil linguine. I cut, I cooked a few minutes at a time, too many minutes at a time, until my body stopped, until I dragged it to bed or the sofa for a rest…and waited for a bit of energy to surface again. The salad, sweet and sour, is two nights of dinner, tomorrow I shall not need to use my trickle of energy, of movement to create a meal.
It is me that struggles with patience most, that struggles to wait for myself, that judges, that twists and turns inside my immobile body wondering “why?” and “how?” an always active me could end up with no energy, that an always thinking me could end up waiting for my brain to process… waiting for my brain to find words…waiting for my brain to regain energy.
Death waits. I do not want to be laying here, wasting precious time as if I don’t see him. I long to be LIVING, yes in all caps, doing what I long to do, if illness hadn’t moved in. I long to dance, sing, strum, run, plant, rake leaves and jump in the piles, run in run-a-thons, attending classes, sitting in circles of people exchanging thougths. I long to give cook, throw parties for my family, for my best of friends, for new friends, and to work to make the means to do it all…making every moment before my end– lived in.
Instead living chronically ill, is a process of letting go. I have lived with chronic illness and chronic pain for over twenty years. I was young and now I am middle aged. I am able do as much and at the pace of what i imagined I’d do at the age of 100…perhaps I could do more at 100 than I can now. What do I do with this little tiny bit of life that runs through my veins…with the loss of ever being young as an adult, with reaching a stage of life, just before death, long before death?
Some days I am patient and in that patience I am at peace. But, more days, I work at having patience and peace. It is not what human beings are wired for, this being young, and laying in bed every day. It messes with the mind to not be able to do what you know is good for you, exercise (exertion exacerbates this illness) and healthy food (most which my stomach cannot tolerate). I know without these, death steps closer. I grow angry not to have the tools to keep him where he would have been, if my body still worked. I grow angry, but can’t run off the anger, paint out the anger, prune the sages beautifully with my anger.
I want to write inspiring today…but I am not inspiring. I am sad, exhausted and body stilled. I am working at patience, at accepting that I have to have it, to know the moments that like just blown bubbles, float over ahead, make us look, and than fly elsewhere and pop. I don’t want to miss the bubbles, so I contemplate, a tear falls now and then. I will feel a fleeting sense of patience, think I’m getting there and then feel it no more.
I don’t want death to shake his head when it is my turn…and say “you could have learned from the loyal willow who you saw everyday outside your window, learned the act of being still and alive. You could have listened to the soft sounds, the whispers, the wind, and grown to know and embrace the good of the still life, the patient life, the peaceful life.” I want death to say that to me without the “could have”. I want him to smile and say “you did good at making the the best of was was.”
Today, I am a flawed, energy deficient, needing to learn and grow woman, in a bed, in a house that holds an imperfect, but loving family, in a town becoming a small city, in a little populated but mountain abundant state, in a country that makes mistakes but keeps on believing it can fix them, on an earth where some people live with more than they need, and more people live with less, in a universe that holds mysteries beyond our expanding minds. I am a little bitty someone in it all, hoping to be at peace with and patient with my damaged body and in so being, live fully in, this little place in the universe that for a short while, holds me.