It’s been four months since I’ve posted. An absence, as if a silence is the same as a forgetting. But it never is. Through these four months, winter moved in and out. Here, that winter gave both rain and wind; it never offered the kind of cold that cleanses and lays the ground bare in preparation for a kind of spring renewal. Through these months a friend died and with her passing, I lost a particular history, a particular part of my own life. There is a vacancy without her, a terrible and concrete missing; a yearning for something unreachable. My heritage birches survived the winter. My gardening skills are of the lowest order and any plantings renew themselves of their own accord for which I am always grateful. I suspect there is pity involved; I am sure they sense my earnestness, my focused intention at the time of planting. They are very forgiving. There was a hint of lilac and wisteria yesterday morning on my way to the barn. Pure pleasure.
But this spring renewal is making me uneasy. I’m feeling unprepared, unsure of newness. Almost tricked. These past 27 years I have worked with my remission-relapse MS. I have understood the game: I have an attack, a relapse, I work with it, I wait it out, I soldier on. Very little complaining, almost none, in fact. And then the remission. Always the remission. Well, the rules of the game seem to have changed. I have been waiting patiently these past three years for a sign of remission from the last attack and there has been none. In fact, there are now signs of progression. And I’m struggling. I have been engaged with an enemy my entire adult life. It has inhabited every nook and cranny of my life. There has never been a moment that we haven’t stared each other in the face. And despite that constant, unrelenting invasion, I have felt lucky. Lucky for my disease status: relapse/remission. It has always given me some peace, knowing that after the bad time would come the better time.
I don’t know how to dance this new dance. And sometimes I don’t know if I have the energy to learn. I’m 27 years older now and I don’t feel quite as invincible. If this is the beginning of the downhill slide, I’m not sure if I have the chutzpah to slide with grace. I’m afraid I will only bump along with the wide-eyed disbelief of someone watching a slow motion train wreck.
Perhaps this is just a bad day. Perhaps tomorrow I will feel a renewed strength that will buoy me up for the fight. Perhaps the birches, the lilac, the wisteria will remind me that I can do it.