In this den of discontent
Where the echo of love sounds
The emptiness of dissolution
Seeps into a vacant battleground
As inches become miles
The sting of separation flares
Leaving lonely and anxious skin
Searching for oxygen in precious air
Holding what breath remains
One must cross this blockade
While memories guard the gates
All passage is betrayed
Who will move with mighty mercy
In lonely corridors of perdition
Slaying dragons of animosity
Capturing the reins of admission
Who will speak the words
Tender, forgotten and true
Filling this hushed vacancy
Forever abandoning the coup
This past year has been incredibly trying yet transformative in the most interesting of ways. An age-old truth rings true. It often takes the darkest of nights to appreciate the return of the light. This past year, in the depths of darkness, everything I saw as “me” had been slowly stripped away. Likewise, in returning to the light, everything that was and is truly important has been revealed.
I have not written anything for quite some time. This is because this illness is attacking my brain as well as my body. In a cruel twist of fate, the part of my brain under attack is for semantic interpretation. It takes much effort to write these days and a great deal of review to be sure what is on the page makes sense. Humility has been a constant theme of late.
There is a reason I write rather than speak. Writing has afforded a safe space for my thoughts without the need for conversation. Writing has always been a solitary activity for me and I like to walk through the words on the page rather than run. This peaceful unfolding of thought is relaxing and a necessary release of emotions that course throughout my body.
These emotions reside in a deep well, filled with the turbulent waters of contemplation. My well has been artfully capped for a lifetime under the guise of “self-control”. I may sound thoughtful when I speak, but this is a self-imposed exercise to avoid the tsunami of emotions that would most certainly flow out at any given moment.
In yet another test of patience and humility, the area of my brain that is damaged, uncaps the well and makes it more difficult to hold back emotions or assess social cues. All these years trying to hide a part of myself only to have it all come rushing back in full view. The divine works in strange ways. It has been a year I laughingly call the “trail of tears” as crying has become a leaky valve unable to be shut off.
Thankfully my support network has stepped up in the best of ways. It is often in the darkest of nights in which those with pure intentions remain and those with hardened hearts move away from the discomfort. My forever partner, Dylan, has been my absolute rock. He has wiped my tears, listened to my overthinking, and held me tight when no words could soothe my broken heart. He has given so much of himself to me this past year and I am forever grateful. My son Zack has also demonstrated his ability to show great compassion. He is a busy young man with a partner and a corporate level job to foster, yet he has always made time to call and check in. He does not only speak but listens, a key component of compassion and a sign of true emotional intelligence. I am blessed beyond words. They are both porch lights in the darkness, guiding me home time after time.
I wrote the piece above, not about a specific relationship or hardship, but about the many things we must come to terms with in finding peace. It has become clear, a great deal of living and learning is letting go of prideful identifications. This peeling away of layers takes many years and leaves us completely naked and exposed at the end of our lives, just as we arrived.
On reflection, hardship is a great teacher. The past year has required me to dig deep, evaluate what is important and let go of the many calculated ways I present myself to the world. What remains is just me. The baby that arrived into this world, wide eyed, curious, innocent and accepting. The young girl that did not put harsh expectations and rules on herself. The adult who did not think of career, money, or success as a measure of a life well lived. This is a person I am glad to meet at long last.