Wednesday, February 11, 2009

THE OASIS Part 2

It snowed up here yesterday...and I was taken back seventeen years...

I used to have a photographic memory...now it's only a negative. The things I do recall, however, are with the same intensity that I used to remember everything. I see everything...hear everything...smell, taste, touch...everything...as if it were happening right now. Great for the good things. Horrifying for the bad things.

It snowed up here yesterday...and I was taken back...

When you live with chronic pain, it's never below an eight on a scale of 1-10. Sometimes it even goes up to 11, 12...sometimes higher. There are times when all I want to do is walk around in a circle three or four times in a dark corner...lay down...lick my wounds...and be left alone. I don't want to growl at those I love, let alone bite them...but sometimes I do...and hate myself even more.

It snowed up here yesterday...and I was taken...

When the pain is at its worst, I have two choices.

Heed the sirens call to go to the morphine pump they offered me eight years ago, and live the rest of my life in a relatively painless stupor, useless to those I love, or...

Go to one of my oases.

The sirens sing louder everyday...and there are no ropes binding me to the mast. I can jump ship whenever I choose.

Odysseus was a wimp.

It snowed up here yesterday...and I was...

I hold onto my oases like a drowning man. Cling to them desperately...but I don't take them out unless I absolutely have to. They are too precious...too fragile. Gossamer wings carry the butterfly in flight. They are a beauty to behold...but they are plucked so easily.

It snowed up here yesterday...and I...

I can't take the cold anymore. The metal knee...the metal screws...especially the extra one that runs about seven inches down my tibia to anchor it into the deteriorating bones...when they get cold, I get cold all over...so cold...and it takes forever to go away. That's why I wanted to move to Hawaii almost four years ago. The pain was at its most manageable when we were there. I dream about Hawaii...every night.

It snowed up here yesterday...and...

I closed my eyes. Let myself drift back on the currents of time. Seventeen years. Our first winter here. Our first snow. Lacy had just turned two. She was in the small bedroom upstairs next to Cherish's and my bedroom. It was a bad time for me. Very bad. They hadn't diagnosed the nerve damage yet. I thought I was losing my mind. I was sitting downstairs. Alone. Looked out the front window. It had begun to snow. Slow at first. Small flakes. Over the next twenty minutes the snowfall increased. The flakes grew larger. I went up the stairs.

Lacy had never seen snow in person. Only pictures. We had just recently moved her to a small bed from her crib. She was afraid. I sat with her each night until she fell asleep...holding her small hand in mine...waiting for the tightness of her grip to loosen as she drifted off to sleep. I would sit for a while after she was asleep, just watching her. She was the most angelic thing I had ever seen.

That was the way she looked when I entered her room. I gently picked her up and carried her to the small, porthole like window at the top of the stairs. She was curled up in my arms, holding me tightly...somewhere in that twilight between sleep and wakefulness. The amber glow from the street light across the road shimmered in her golden hair. If God ever truly allowed angels to walk among us...this must be how they looked. She rubbed her eyes sleepily. Yawned.

"Look, Honey...look out the window."

It took a few moments for the images outside to register with her. The flakes that were falling now seemed as big and fat as marshmallows. They drifted slowly towards the ground, occasionally hurried on their journey by a sudden breath of wind. Her eyes grew with amazement and delight with the dawning realization of what was happening. She turned to me...the face of an angel...the wonder of a child...pure love...

"It's snowing Daddy...can you believe it?"

The pain was washed from my body that very instant. I don't know how long we stood like that...her soft flannel nightie draped over my arm...her small fingers gently stroking my face and hair...her velvet cheek pressed against mine. It may have been ten minutes...it may be going on still. I don't know. Neither of us spoke again. Sometime later...much later...I laid her back in bed. Pulled the covers back up under her chin...and in that magic way that only a child can do, she was instantly back asleep.

It snowed up here yesterday...and...

I remembered my little angel. The pain left me for a while...and I cried.

I love you Little Miss.

2 comments:

Lacy Blake said...

I love you too Daddy...

Scott Palmer said...

I found your blog through a couple mutual blog friends. I'm glad I did. What a beautiful picture you paint. I have a 14 month old daughter myself. I don't have the chronic pain you describe and can't begin to imagine living with that. But I know that whatever I may be facing, be it pain, stress, fatigue, worry etc., all it takes is a few moments with my precious little angel to erase it all. Again, thank you for painting this picture so vividly.

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Christopher Blake is a loving husband...devoted father...minister...crippled ex-cop...screenwriter...novelist...actor...and more than a little rough around the edges...