Weaker Sex

Monday, November 28th, 2016 – 6:12 pm

Once upon a time, I thought I was the stronger of the two. So stories and society certainly say.

I was wrong. The end.

I wasn’t strong enough when her mom was passing away three and a half years ago. Having just had my botched surgery, I spent the next four weeks on antibiotics and three times a day receiving Vanco via IV.

Not quite as gaunt and underweight as I am now, the three surgeries in two weeks already had exhausted me. The PICC line snaked inside my arm and vein to within millimeters of the superior vena cava and sat there for over a month. I’d always cover up the cyborg looking IV connector coming out of my left bicep with a bandage and my sleeve, right before we walked into the hospice to see her mom.

I helped the nurse grab the sheet and flip her mom over to avoid bed sores. She looked up and recognized me and her smile lit up the entire room.

I asked if they might have a guitar in the house and within minutes, the girl slipped into the room with one and left. We quietly closed the door and the two of us sang hymns to her mom as she slept.

The next day, her mother passed away.

I rushed across town to meet her in the parking lot, mere moments before we went inside to say goodbye. I held my love in my arms and already a peace and quiet strength glowed off of her. It was humbling and disorienting.

When we first got the news that Barbara’s cancer was terminal, I never would foresee any of this. I certainly had no vision of myself being so useless and helpless to lift up Amy in her mom’s final moments.

I felt helpless. I was and yet was not. I could yet drive and work and run and walk and contribute to bills and chores and laughs. I would cook dinner with her most nights after coming home from the gym.

She still makes me laugh and smile every day. It is harder for me to do the same for her now. My timing just seems really.

Off.

I had no idea the darker end of my spectrum of weakness, yet.

I had no idea the brighter end of her spectrum of strength, either.

Clawing my periphery with dirty looks, the Starbucks girls continued seething in our direction. I glared back through the window to the workers at the counter.

Amy was sobbing across from me at the outside table. I told her the workers must think I just said something cruel and think I am an asshole.

She musters a laugh.

Hours before this, I was laid off from my job. On my birthday. Just eight years plus a few days ago.

I told her it would all be okay. Because it always will be okay. Whether we feel it or not. I never once worried through our many financial freefalls or my myriad of medical problems. For twenty seven years. I knew we must grow old and gray, hand in hand. That is the way it is meant to be.

“We’ll be okay,” I say again.

Cast all your care upon Him. God will provide. Take no thought for the morrow. Weep with those who weep.

It’ll be okay hang in there chin up it could be worse bad things happen to good people did you hear the news.

God must have needed an angel.

I kept pretending strength, a fraud in the face of the faithful. I looked like a man bearing the burdens and was barely a bystander. I sometimes seem strong, but she is ever something else.

Just let me be strong for her once again.

She is sobbing and I’m somehow standing.

My walker is gone. I have no canes. It’s a miracle.

I’ve lost them along the wall and lost my way all along.

I hear her yell “why” between cries and someone who looks like me somehow stumbles to the sofa and collapses. 

Time lapses.

My daughter dabs a man’s bloody hands and covers them with ice again.

Nothing is broken. Everything is broken.

Lack of pairing in my para and my normal. No connection in the sympathetic and the parasympathetic. Shed some sympathy for the pathetic empathetics.

Animal and man. Mindless monster and rational reason. Sympathy for the devils.

One day you will desire the same. Bear before you the broken ones. Those who lost home along the way.  

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