Saturday, September 5, 2009

Under Water.

It is surreal to be preparing baby food for breakfast in the kitchen, hearing Lily's playful noises in the background, while simultaneously contemplating Alan's final days in hospice. I often find myself in absolute disbelief over what has happened. One moment I'm marveling at a photo from our honeymoon, wondering if it all had just been a dream - a distant memory that maybe never happened, and the next moment I'm replaying detailed medical procedures and conversations while stark images crowd my mind. I am lonely in a way that I suspect I will always be, and I often find myself floating through days viewing the world through Lily's eyes only. Much of the world I don't care to see. A widowed friend asked me the other day if I had seen an article about cancer drugs and the inability of pharmaceutical companies to do anything but prolong a life by mere days and I could only reply that yes, I had seen the headline, but had had no interest in reading the article. And that is how I have been for months, detached from most things that reflect sadness, inefficiency, faltering policies. I have no room for it in my heart, nor my mind, and when I must engage in conversation that encompasses subjects such as those, I do, but I check out. I switch to autopilot, I can't even say I'm conscious of what comes out - and I'm not sure where what I do say, comes from. And being unemployed as a single parent has left me with little outside stimulation. Traveling was good, it put me in social situations, I even got to an aquarium, but I still feel as though I'm in a haze and I wonder if the fog will ever lift.

My routine is built around Lily and I now find joy, as she does, in the simplest pleasures whether it's making funny noises, dancing or reading a board book. Sometimes I wonder halfheartedly if my brain is shrinking - but my other mom friends assure me that their worlds too, are currently "limited in scope". Much of it is a welcome distraction, and while it is daunting to have the responsibility of raising a child, for the time being (knock wood) three minute showers, five minute meals, and meditating on a blade of grass suit me just fine. I find humor in the mundane - the way Lily looks when she takes a sip of water is a mix of confusion, suspicion and near disgust. When I pick her up at night to comfort her, it is she that is now patting my back. I delight in her spontaneous screeches and bouts of surprise panting excitement, and she bowls me over with X-ray stares that hold my undivided attention. I love to watch her lean out of the stroller, watching shadows and the wheels as they cover ground, and I envy the ease with which she relaxes - legs kicked up on the stroller bar, one flopped over the side. Thankfully when she's nursing just as my thoughts begin traveling to the darker corners of my mind, I spot potato behind her ears and then flecks of it in her eyebrows. Lily brings me back to a safer place, and though she is the one in my arms, I feel as though I am in hers.

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