terrible, thanks for asking

I’m good. People always ask how I’m doing. I always answer, I’m good. I’m fine. Sometimes I even border on great and an occasional excellent, but mostly, I’m good. I was just in Walmart. Ledah and Jud asked me and I answered, and then elaborated about my oxygen. Look! I’m off oxy! I’ve been at 97 most of the day! I still run oxygen every night from 8pm-8am but, wow! It feels so great to not lug around a tank on two wheels during the day. And, there was Lynn and Ike. Yep, I’m fine! I’m good. I talked to Scott on the way home. Yessiree… I’m hanging in there. A text from Marla. Don’t worry. I’m good, How are you? Neighbors over the fence, How ya doing? I’m OK.

The thing is… sometimes I’m not OK. Sometimes I’m a mess. Physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally, psychologically. My basement is flooded. My furnace is out. I didn’t have hot water for ten days. I bathed in a tote after heating water on the stove. I keep throwing a breaker. The kitchen has about a foot hole where water drips into a garbage can. I need a new roof. Terribly. I need to clear out 40 years of crap in the garage and the back yard and the basement.

I can’t loose a pound. Every single time I think of dieting or exercising, I gain ten pounds instead of losing ten. My legs hurt. I have blood clots. I’ll be on blood thinners for the rest of my life. I had a bloody nose the other night and it wasn’t pretty. I didn’t think it would stop. And, the next morning I had enormous clumps of blood in my throat. I kept gagging them up. I have painful varicose veins. I retain water. My legs are like tree stumps by evening. My heart rate is near 100 most of the time. I seriously have so. much. gas. My teeth need work. My hair is thin. I have skin tags all over the place. I have osteoporosis. My fingernails split down to the pink. I can’t drive at night.

Sunday I bore my testimony and said that my testimony comes and goes. I worry about things. I worry that Louise will get ‘there’ and it won’t be what I thought it was supposed to be. I wonder if my parents and grands are actually ‘there.’ I wonder what the point is of living forever. I don’t understand what I’m really doing. I don’t know if I will measure up. I don’t know if I will have a place, or if there is a place. All my life I’ve been taught… and now I think I know, but I don’t know.

Mentally. Well, this week I’ve cried a whole lot. My oldest said sister, Louise, passed away a few hours after I went to the Logan Hospital to visit with her. I knew it would be the last time. She asked about each of my children, asked how they are, what they’re doing, and if they are happy. She was in so much pain and yet asked me about my life. After I left, they gave her enough morphine to dull her pain, but she never regained consciousness. I will ever be grateful that I heeded a tinkling of a prompt to go visit her right then. In other mental news, I’m alone. A lot. I worry about making it through the night, especially when my water heater and furnace aren’t working. I wonder if there is gas leaking. Gas I can’t smell. I actually opened my windows [made it even colder than the already 58º], heated three rice packs in the microwave and piled on the blankets. My first words in the morning were, Thank you, God, for letting me live. I can’t say I wasn’t pleasantly surprised. Still in the mental category … people get upset when they hear that I don’t have heat or hot water and say things like you should have called. But seriously. I don’t want anyone busting around down in the basement. It’s basically a pot hole. There’s mold, mildew, slimy water, garbage, junk, piles. Why would I want anyone down there? I’d rather freeze. I’ve always said, If you knew who I really am… you would have nothing to do with me. I worry. Is my basement who I really am? Still mental: I wonder how I got here. I wonder how I could keep making the worst possible choices in men. How I could keep attaching myself to unattachable people. How I could keep hurting my children by my poor choices.

Psychological. Sheesh. I think that’s a mixture of all of the aforementioned plus a bit of betrayal trauma, abandonment, reality checks, and wonderment skirting on the edges of depression. I have to really hold on some days. I go through a mental list of things I’m grateful for, then a list of blessings, and a growing list of how I’ve been protected and guarded and guided. I remember what I’ve held dear to in the past. I remember my sweet mother. I remember my children and grands. I remember when I didn’t have much of a testimony or hope or faith. And, I remember when that changed. I remember the importance of connection and belonging. I remember the assurance of peace in this life and the life to come. I battle a voice in my head that argues with me and says the worse things. I often pray for God to take away that other voice that I know isn’t mine. I try to imagine placing the awful words on a big leaf and letting if float down a river. Good riddance. Or putting the words in a basket with helium and having them disappear in a cloud. I hate that other voice. I try to say five positive things to every negative thing. Like they say.

The funeral is tomorrow. Maybe after that I’ll be alright. I’ll be back to good. Fine. Maybe I will feel the Holy Spirit whispering to hang on and hang in. Maybe after singing with my sisters and remembering and connecting I’ll be back to my old self. I feel wounded. And I want to be whole again.

Losing my oldest sister reminds me that the rest of us are right behind her. Melvin, Janet, Diane, me, David, Eileen, Rob and Carol. We’re all heading in the same direction. I didn’t know this part of my life would have gotten here so quickly.