Friday, February 25, 2005

Authentic Asian cuisine

Yesterday I was able to take a little time for myself, a massage at Essential Therapies to help limit my headaches. As I sat watching the lionfish floating in his tank, I could feel so clearly all the feelings I have been ignoring during the frenetic days. These are things I have tried not to write on the site but now I wonder if that is fair to me or to you. This is the journey after all. So here goes.


The pain leaks from my heart, sticky and hot like Thai chili paste, in spurts as the pressure becomes too much for the cracks in the heart to resist. It shoots through my arteries in a searing electric flash, wiggles through little capillaries and sticks to the walls of my veins. Thick and burning, it corrodes the veins to ooze into my muscles and gum up my sarcomeres. I can feel it binding up my body, a latent burn like the residual fire in my mouth from the paste. Watching the fish, listening to the trickle of water, feeling the clean stiffness of the robe, the muscles start to work themselves free. The ache becomes more immediate as it is jarred free by the masseuse. He pushes the pain back into the veins and lymphatics, along their path, back through the heart to the lungs from whence it is released.

The fear seizes hold of my breathing, like wasabi, to widen my nostrils and lungs as it grabs my ribs and prevents inhalation. It is fight and flight together. It takes thought to capture the breath, to reach for the salty comfort of friends and loved strangers, their prickly sweetness that of the ginger.

The loss is like food poisoning. It comes as an ache in the night that then reduces the body to tangled writhing and emptiness. Unexpected, it is bewildering and terrifying of its own. This person I discipline myself not to stare at-my mother, my best friend, my confidante-is here. Is breathing. Is better. But right now, she is not there to tell of strange bumps in the night, of failed hopes and abandoned dreams, of new games and pleasures. Again, the soothing sweetness of the ginger is the only remedy. To ease the nausea, the loneliness and weakness. Again, we are each each others remedy.

And Mom feels all these things too. Pain at her isolation and incomprehensibility, fear that she doesn't make sense and will drive us away with her confusion, loss of her strength and stamina and sense of self. We are getting better, all of us, but it doesn't stop the feelings. It is foolish to deny them, to deny the experience, as it is our experience and honesty that allows us to move beyond these gremlins to better futures.

Thank you for being my ginger, my solace. I hope this is a gift I provide you as well.



Blogger Jan said...

Dear Jacqui: Your strength, which has been soaring, can only carry you so far. Your pain and fear are palpable.I'm trying to avoid the cliche, "We feel your pain," especially since we cannot truly feel it except through our own relationships: mother/daughter, daughter/friend. However, we all wish there were some way to ease the welcome burden of the care-giver. Pam's progress since yesterday is astonishing. Rejoice and be glad...and take more deep breaths, both you and your mom.
Love, Jan N.

11:56 AM  
Blogger Angie Antkowiak said...

Pass the tissues, and thank you for sharing, Jacqui. Jan is right, you can only be a rock for so long before the waves slowly carry you out to sea...but know that once you are there, you can swim free.

I always marvel at your strength, enthusiasm, eternally positive outlook, and I only hope I could be so brave in such a situation. But I'm so glad that you were able to share a little of your own pain, because it affirms how deeply connected we all are, regardless of whether we have actually connected face-to-face or not. It affirms our human-ness, our ability and our need to really FEEL...feel the joys, the sorrows, the highs, the lows, for us, for others, and for all the world. And that is a true gift.

There is a Buddhist saying that you can't know "hot" until you've experienced "cold", you won't experience "light" until you experience "dark", and likewise, you cannot fully appreciate "joys" until you can appreciate and experience "sorrows"...

After all you and Pam and your whole family have been through...I'd say you'd better prepare yourself for some major JOYS in your life (looks like Pam is already providing some in her remarkable recovery!)

Yes, its one helluva rollercoaster...sometimes all you can do is raise your arms to the wind, and simultaneously laugh and scream your head off! Enjoy the ride, and treat yourself to ice cream afterwards! :-)

We love you all!

2:52 PM  
Blogger TraV said...

reading this after the fact it's difficult to put myself in the mind set as of when it was posted...

however, you paint a vivid picture & knowing what I know after the fact & how well recovery has gone, it shows just how much being able to post these thoughts at the time helped you get through the tough times.

12:55 PM  

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