Thursday, September 30, 2010

Sitting Here in Limbo

My husband is a very private man. I am not. His 93 year old mother went into the hospital a week ago Monday and she is gravely ill.  As my father passed away just this past March, at a similar advanced age, of a very similar condition, after spending much time at the same hospital, seeing some of the same doctors, you can see I might be having a lot of feelings right now.

I wrote about this yesterday, here.

My feelings are mine, but the situation at hand is my husband's.  And I am trying to walk that fine line between respecting his privacy, honoring his need to own the story of his mother, while still finding a way to talk about what I am going through right now.  Which is completely tangled up in the story of my husband and his mother.  His story. 

So there is much I cannot say.  But I will say this: there is nothing easy about this time.

We wait.  A lot.

For doctors.  For nurses.  For phone calls.

And there is so much that needs attending to in our lives.  We carry bags and briefcases full of important-stuff-that-must-be-done.  And they sit unopened.   Waiting time cannot be filled.

It feels empty, but it is not empty.  It is full.  Of waiting.

The mind jumps around, cannot concentrate for long; it alights on memory's branches, leaps off again.  We flit between past, present, and future, settling nowhere.  We stare into space.

When there is so much feeling, sometimes there is its absence, too. The lid so tightly clamped onto the kettle, furious boiling contained.  For now.

I hold my husband's hand.  I hug him tight.  I want him to know he is not alone in this.  But of course he is, too.

I think a lot about my father, and remember again how it felt to watch him slip away, how there was that point when he was really no longer my father.  At all.  But then there would be a moment, and I would hold onto that one, a firefly cupped in my hands, winking its delicate yellow glowy spark into the darkness, until the next.

There kept being moments.

Until there weren't.

We wait.


  1. Varda - absolutely beautiful words for an absolutely heartbreaking situation. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family.

    Lisa Duggan
    aka motherhoodmag

  2. so difficult... i do not want to think of the day this may be me saying goodbye to the people who gave me life... but the day will come and i cant imagine. as always, beautiful writing...always moves me. i'll be thinking of you and your husband through this difficult time.

  3. So sad, and so sorry that you're back at the hospital again, waiting

  4. Thinking about you and your family during this difficult time. Sending hugs and prayers. Call if you need anything xoxo

  5. I am here a few days after you posted this, and I know that much has transpired in the time between this post and my words here.

    Much empty overflowing time.

    So I will just thank you for holding out your cupped hands for us. So that we might see these small delicate yellow glowy sparks of yours.

    So that we might see you.

  6. This brought me to tears. You captured something in words that are often times unable to be explained. My heart breaks for you and your husband during this trying time.

    In case you didn't know, Kris featured this post of yours. Excellent writing.

  7. Outstanding post. I came over from Pretty All True.

    Such a true, heartbreaking, amazing look at sickness and death. Thinking of your family during this hard time.

  8. thinking of you during this very, very difficult time.

  9. Such waiting...

    I know it well.

    This was so beautiful, and you were so very kind to me just now.

    I am overflowing.

    And so it's fitting the love should come back to you!

  10. You've described it perfectly.
    The waiting.
    Past, present, future. All at once.


    Yes, perfectly.

  11. This is the most accurate description of that waiting I have ever heard. I remember doing it with family members when I was younger, and with my husband's family in the past few years.

    There is no real comfort in those waiting places. Just fullness and unrest.

    Prayers for your family.

  12. Ah Varda, you get me every time.

    Thanks for Rewinding at the Fibro.

  13. I really like the last bit about the firefly analogy. We need those flashes of light in those difficult situations.


I am so sorry to have to turn word verification back on, but the spam-bots have found me - yikes!