When we returned home from the hospital I had to rest. I had to cope. I had to keep it together. After drinking too much a few nights, I wanted to find other ways to cope. The key ingredients for a day of sanity consisted of
- Licorice Tea
- Reading David Copperfield
- Reading Cut Flower Farm
- Planning projects
Bonus activities were
- Arranging flowers
- Completing projects
- Talking with my counselor once a week
For three weeks, I focused on myself, made possibly by my husband’s leave from work. My six-year old and I went through Celeste’s things every night the first week and a few times the second week. She did not ask the third week.
Week four I attended mass by myself and prayed deeper than I had praying in a long time. I asked God for help, for…something. I do not think I knew what I was asking for in that moment. I suppose that makes it all the better.
Then came the grace. I saw in my mind’s eye Christ and my daughter together. I felt close to her again even though her body was in the ground and her soul was beyond space and time. It is because her soul is beyond space and time that I could feel close to her. That is the communion of saints.
The next day, Thursday, I read to my children. On Friday, we prayed the Stations of the Cross at home. I felt attentive to them. I felt I could take their needs into my mind and parent them. It felt amazing. On Saturday I think we went to the farmer’s market. I don’t remember exactly…
Because on Sunday at 5am, Peter’s temperature was 103. I packed and rushed him to the hospital. My husband stayed behind to prepare the children. We arrived in San Francisco at UCSF around the same time, Peter and I in an ambulance, my husband with the kids in the van.
When they left Tuesday morning and I knew we would stay, I had to explore what I need to do to keep myself going. I once longed to go back to San Francisco because there I knew how to cope. Peter was safe there. Now I longed to be home, because there I knew how to cope. I felt safe there. It was time to erase the geography from the equation and take to heart the words of my counselor: the ability to do this is in me.
I walked. I read. And I wrote. There was such joy in writing again…and fun. I walked. I read. I wrote. I worried. Peter grew worse and so I wrote more. I could not control the situation, so I explored it in my heart through the thin veil of fiction.
Peter grew better. I forgot the steps that helped me because of the joy I felt in his energy. We returned home soon after.
Time to learn again. Time to pick up the book I read daily at the hospital. Time to write again. Time to pray again. I think this will make me more flexible. It will make me more happy. So much of it is simply the decision to do. It is a decision to do the things we know we should but feel too lazy to do. The temptation is to vegetate or numb, but that does not help. It is time to take steps.