Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine

"It's okay, Sweetie," I whisper, bending over to kiss her forehead.  "I'm here, and you're going to be okay."

Greta chokes back a sob, tears streaming down her cheeks. "Okay Momma," she says, looking at me with wide, scared eyes.

~~~~
 
She's home sick.  Because of the blizzard and the subsequent power outage, we've been trapped in this house for six days.

School reopened on Tuesday, and I woke with a spring in my step, happy to have power back and the kids in school.  We'd been on top of each other without electricity or showers for four days, and I was eager to get back to the routine.

I found Greta quietly crying in her bed, holding her head.  "It hurts," she said.  "Everything hurts."

Shhhhh, I said, my heart sinking. It's okay. Just go back to sleep.

I shuffled Finn off to school and mentally rearranged my day.  It's probably just her sinuses, I thought.  Things will go back to normal tomorrow.

That was Tuesday.  Today is Thursday and she's still suffering from crippling waves of nausea, headaches, heartburn and body aches.

She woke up this morning with bright eyes, telling me she finally felt better.

I smiled to myself as I listened to her giggle with Finn while they prepared for school.  I hadn't heard that sound in far too long. 

Everything was fine until she put her backpack on and went out to wait for the bus. I saw her wincing, holding her head, and she turned to me and said, "Oh no, Momma.  It's BACK" and burst into tears.  "I thought I was all better," she sobbed.

She rested her head on my shoulder, shoulders heaving.  "But I WANT to go to school!" she cried.  "What do I do?"

I placed my hand lightly on her forehead, felt the heat rising from her body.  I bit back a heavy sigh and said, "Head on inside, honey.  Obviously you can't go to school yet."

This made her cry louder, and she stumbled indoors, flopped onto the couch and dissolved into hysterics.

I sat in the cold sunshine outside waiting for the bus to pick up Finn, feeling close to tears myself.  Irritation welled up inside.  I just want to have a normal day, I thought.  I'm behind on everything. This is so aggravating.

Finn spun around in the driveway, laughing.  "Hey Momma!" he yelled.  "Happy Valentine's Day!"

My heart lurched: Valentine's Day?  We've been so discombobulated I totally forgot.

Valentine's Day. I'm transported back one year to the day.  At this time one year ago I was staggering  to the car, heading in to the city for my very last radiation treatment. Nausea and searing pain were the norm.  A good day meant that I was able to sit up in bed and talk to my kids.  I hadn't eaten solid food in weeks, getting nutrition exclusively through my feeding tube. I weighed 129 pounds - about what I weighed in 8th grade - and my neck was a flaming, oozing red sore both inside and out.

I remembered with a rolling feeling in my gut how scared I was that day.  The idea of being locked into that head mask one more time, to submit to the poisonous, healing rays, was almost too much to bear.  Almost.

Finn laughed and waved to me before he got on the bus, and I waved back with tears in my eyes, grateful for the warmth of the sun's rays on a cold day and the feeling of my sturdy, healthy body.

~~~~

I wipe her damp bangs off her forehead and rub her sore back.

"Thank you, Momma," she whispers, her eyes closing.  "Thank you for taking care of me."

I rest my head on the pillow beside her.  "That's what I'm here for," I smile.




18 comments:

  1. Happy Valentine's Day Ellie, xo

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    1. Thanks Suzy! Happy Valentine's Day to you, too! -xo

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  2. Oh Ellie I'm praising God right now! Even though your little family is ill, you are THERE. You are there, mind, body and spirit to help them through. This is the BEST Valentine's Day!!!

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  3. Thank you, Julie! Happy Valentine's Day to you, too! I'm so grateful for all your support and prayers over the years! -xoxo

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  4. Perspective is a beautiful thing.

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  5. Oh poor Greta. A year ago you felt so awful, so you know how bad she feels now (and she is still so little to be feeling so bad, however all grown up she is)

    How wonderful that you can be there to look after her, but oh boy do I know that irritating aggravated feeling. You are not alone. {{Hugs}} Happy Valentines Day!

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  6. Sending healing thoughts your way. For you and her. :)

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  7. A buddy of mine wrote this as her status on Facebook today: "Just think how happy you would be if you lost everything you have right now.........and then got it back again." You don't HAVE to do that, Ellie - you DID lose everything - or pretty freaking close to it! And then it was returned to you, all of it, the highs and the lows. The gift? Being there in the moment, whatever that moment brings. Being able to be there - for yourself and for your loved ones.

    Praying for Greta's speedy recovery.

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  8. Inspiring post, praying for Greta's recovery...and giving thanks she has YOU for her mother. Peace and love. Siggi

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  9. Oh, Ellie. This gave me tears. So tender and so beautiful. I'm so sorry Greta has been so sick. Healing prayers are coming to her from me this morning. It's amazing how our perspective can change in a heartbeat. Thank you for always sharing these lovely moments. SO grateful for you. xoxo

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  10. Thank you for all the lovely comments. I wanted to reply to everyone individually, but my computer isn't letting me this morning, for some reason.

    I appreciate the prayers and support so much. I have so much to be grateful for, including all of you!

    -xo

    -Ellie

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  11. BAM! Paradigm shift. So glad you can be there for her as you want to, even when it isn't what you'd planned :)

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  12. Congratulations on your year... Here is why I think this post is wonderful...I just looked back at what you wrote after you finished treatment a year ago (I think it was a week or so after your last radiation)... Here's what you wrote...

    "To make the most impact in the world I need to hug my children. And what do I want to do with my life? Live it. The meaning of it all? Appreciate everything you have while you have it. Always."

    You are LIVING IT... you've done so much and come so far in this past year... and you're still hugging your children!!! You've honored what you value! That's awesome!

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  13. You know....days like this after a hard week - snowed in, no power, and then a sick bug through the house - that's really pushing the limits. I swear - I have been looking at the opening day of the neighborhood pool in May all this month.

    Don't you realize though that when we can be a caring person and just love and nurture back - that is the most important job we will ever do?Not the stuff we need to get done or the career goals. It's hard to remember this though when you're at the tail end of a week like the one you've had.

    You handled this one with both grace and gratitude. That is the gift of working a recovery program - really working it.

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