Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Grinding Away

Sandpaper on balsa wood.

The Colorado River deep in the crevice of the Grand Canyon.

Abrasion cuts into the rock under a glacier, scooping rock up like a bulldozer and smoothing and polishing the rock surface, creating a pocket.

Knives of pain slowly carve away at me. Wave after wave of grinding agony peels layers off any protection I might have against this. Against watching my father suffer. His skin is gray against the sterile white linens. Two thick yellow tubes emerge from his back and bubble into a metered box partially hidden below the hospital bed. He shifts from his back to his side, pushing against the mattress in an effort to relieve the pressure on the incision. A row of twenty or more staples winds its way down his shoulder blade and disappears under his arm. His grimace is permanent at this point, it only deepens from time to time. His full head of hair is a disadvantage now - reflecting fully the amount of time since he's had a shower or a comb to tame it.

The heaviness in my chest feels like a sandbag, but instead of protecting me from a flood, it pulls deeper and deeper in to me with each passing minute. I can feel the crater threatening.

A hidden spring bubbles up almost imperceptibly. My brother comes to visit at the hospital and stays to watch the Yankees-Red Sox game and "shoot the sh*t". This is a gift that could never have been predicted. Dad is released on Sunday and comes home to sunshine and a home cooked meal. The pallor of his skin is replaced with unmistakable joy at being in his nest again, surrounded by adoring pets and more comfortable in his own recliner. Monday evening my sister comes for dinner and calls him "Daddy". I am welcomed in to this house and trusted and appreciated. My efforts to ease the transition home prove helpful and I am so pleased to be able to cook and clean and walk the dogs. The quiet calm and tangible love that surround us in this place are a balm. The grinding pain of the past week has opened up a new place inside me that is gradually being filled with love and gratitude. I have more space to contain it all. This is something I can hold on to for now.


Anonymous said...

So glad you are spending time with your dad and you family. Remember you are in a different,more authentic place now, be open and trust the new feeling of love and gratitude. You are safe. With good thoughts to you, and your family.....Remember to be kind to yourself during this difficult time. Treat your heart gently. Hugs.

Kim said...

What a wonderful way to look at it: that pain like this ultimately digs out more room for love and gratitude. That feels so deeply true. I will remember this image.

I'm so glad you had some support in this, and that you and your father are on the other side of this difficult surgery.

Scott from Oregon said...

I am so glad you have help and family around to deal with this. It is not easy watching one you love suffer in any way.

I figure since we can't choos permanent health, we might as well choose permanent love.

Jerri said...

You ARE filled with love, Kari, and you DO have more than enough space to contain it all.

It's good that you can hold that. You can also hold on to the love and care reaching out to you from all around the country, especially from KC, MO.


Michelle O'Neil said...

Beautiful Kari.

God bless.

holly said...

Beautiful writing, Kari.

Blessings to you and your dad.

Deb said...

I remember Jennifer saying when there are difficult feelings, open your heart wider. I remember her talking about the river being wide and deep enough to hold it all. That's what you're doing now and you've described it in your usual beautiful and loving way.

I continue to hold you and your family in the circle of my heart. Peace, blessings, love, Kari.

Suzy said...

Stunning writing. Simply stunning, and so are you.

grammer said...

I'm thinking of what Deb mentioned. I wrote it in the margins of my notebook at our workshop. The line Jennifer used, which always brought the tears, was, "There is room here." Feel the joy, the pain, the connections rekindled, feel it all. There is room.

Blessings on you and your family.
xoxo t

Carrie Wilson Link said...


Sue said...

I have been there, too, next to my father's side as he suffered from cancer.

The love, the memories of your past, the unspoken words of forgiveness, the family dynamics: they're all with you.

I love the way you describe the gift of your brother coming to see your father in the hospital -- and your father's return home -- the way that the events of ordinary, normal life becomes precious.

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