There are no words from the lips of angels. There are no words that sing splendid in a symphony of the beauty of life. The beauty of you. The beauty of me.
There are no words that I find today that are not hollow. They are empty.
They are free and they are failure of every grand design and the most wicked of ways they still haunt me. They encircle my mind, they race across what I wish was a line of demarcation that meant finish. That meant for an ending. That meant they would simply venture onward.
Haunting someone else.
There are no pretty words that dangle from the softest tips of my bitterly bitten fingers. They have agreed with me in only one instance and assigned themselves to resignation and I only wish that it would be ever so easy for that were I to attempt it myself.
Attempt it for me.
There exists no way out from under this weighted stone.
This boulder of impossible pain and never-ending agony.
Suffering has been my life’s blood.
And today it seems the dagger twists in new directions and with a renewed vigor.
And I am tired.
So very tired of being tired. Exhaustion is another bedfellow.
Yet even she wants no part of this new dangerous dance of malevolence that is being tangled in my bed sheets.
Except never so.
Because these thoughts, these words, these empty patterns of impulses and synapses and electrical currents will not rest.
Energy can be neither created nor destroyed.
So it seems has been the past year of my life.
Creation and destruction in a delicate dance swirling about my hooded form tempting me to engage within their cauldron of chaotic order.
I want no part of it.
I want no part of today.
A year ago today I was in the hospital fighting for my life.
A year ago today I had to confess to my best friend I would not be able to stand in his wedding.
A year ago and three weeks my mother had the stroke that led to her dementia and ultimately a nine month battle she fought and seemed unaware that she was even in combat with the reaper itself.
I was released Christmas Day.
The twentieth plus surgery of my life, once more cut open from the top of my breast plate all the way down to the navel. Another journey of agony and suffering and learning how to function simple tasks all over again.
All mundane and simplistic in nature, and yet each time a new experience to conquer. That old friend you remember their name only in that it rests upon the very tip of your tongue yet you are unable to voice it as they approach you.
What was their name. Damnit.
And then they speak to you and you smile and you try to recall the intricacies of your history all the while not knowing inside something that every other day and every other moment was merely commonplace.
Upon my discharge on Christmas Day, I immediately went to visiting my mother in the hospital. Then skilled nursing facility after skilled nursing facility and hospital stay after stay. Getting her moved and accommodating her wishes as best I could.
As any son would.
And here I am, staring down the holidays.
Staring down the time I most enjoyed as a child.
And I wish I felt numb.
I wish I was medicated by the grief that overwhelms and takes you to places and to spaces you cannot and will not ever recover from.
I wish I was somewhere in the middle of love and loss.
Instead I am on the precipice of the extreme of each.
Normally I would be preparing a feast in the tradition of my childhood. I love to cook. I love to cook for those I love. I love to share everything I hold dear with them. And today, I just want to fade into the shadows, and embrace the darkness, the cold tips of inconsolable danger when you take misery and love in a mixed drink.
Today is a cocktail of shame, guilt, and loss.
I could have done more.
I should have done more.
I did not do more.
And I am usually thankful, and grateful, and every doctor and surgeon I have met has told me I have defied the odds countless times. That I am still here for a reason. Most would have succumbed long ago.
Why not me?
I do not know, but my mother offered me the most sage advice before the first major surgery I had voluntarily in 2008.
You have to have something to wake up for.
Before every surgery she endured – and she and I are ugh were eerily alike in constitution and personality – that she had her three boys that she needed to wake up to and take care of. So she did.
You have to live for something.
And here I am, staring back at this year of loss and pain and guilt-riddled shame wondering what it is that I have done? What have I accomplished?
What have I done to deserve these breaths I am taking and these points I am woefully not making?
I do not know, and that I just shake my head about.
I used to deserve this and earn this and fight for this – for life.
And honestly? I’m adrift in an ocean of mistakes right now.
One after the other tumbling like raindrops on a lazy summer day in New Orleans.
I smile all the time. I laugh all the time. I make people do both all the time.
And the thing is that inside, during all of this celebration and joy and delight I am burning alive. Embers crackling from fiery coals of my past snaking smoke about me until the tendrils transform into another monster entirely.
I have lived my entire life in excruciating leg pain.
I do not talk about it.
My closest friends who have been with me this whole time will ask if I am okay. Their gait slacks when I am with them to match my own pace. When stairs are involved they ascend them slower. They know I won’t ever say anything.
I never say anything.
The irony of it all, right?
I don’t ever shutup, and yet I don’t ever really talk.
I cannot express how much my leg has been hurting over the past year. It scares me, to be transparent. I know this cripples. I have always known it. And then this past year I was less able to focus on taking care of myself as I was the tattered remnants of my family.
I want to be thankful again, grateful once more, and always smiling with truth and sincerity.
I do not wish to hobble. I do not wish to limp. I do not wish to live within guilt.
I do not want these holidays.
The grief is overwhelming, but I don’t talk about it.
I don’t really know how to do so.
What I endure is paltry compared to so many others afflicted with circumstance and suffering far more true and significant than I have ever been dealt. The shame of selfish angst is a weighted belt taking me deeper into this ocean of despair.
I am in a desolate chasm of choice, and every direction that looks promising leads to one more barren valley and another wintry unforgiving peak.
How is it I have done so much, and come so far, and it seems so insignificant?
I want to change this, but I am struggling to do anything of the sort. I have worked to change this. And here I am.. staring at the stars.
The skyline is my greatest inspiration.
The oceanfront is my deepest connection.
The stars sparkle within my eyes, and I feel I have spent a wish of fortune for those I care for on each and every one only to find that when they brighten and have a deeper shine they are but fiery novas that leave lasting impressions. They leave scars.
The ocean churns within my center, and I feel I have cast a thousand bottles corked with quill ink scrawled parchment into its vast expanse hoping to someday reach out my soft hands and find yours. That we will be a shipwreck of emotions together not stranded and lost but rather finally found. Our destination met.
There are no pretty words within this hollow frame upon this shadow of a day for me.
I am in pain.
I am with loss.
I am always fighting.
I suppose that’s something to be thankful for, is it not?
The indeterminable quality of will and the strength to fail and to keep standing back up limping forward with a crippled leg and a shattered heart.
Searching for truth and for love and for those fragments.
Piece me back to completion, and I will give you my always.
I will give you my forever.
I promise you that.
May you always find your smile.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I just needed to write this out. Get this out.
Best wishes, kiddos.