Monday, June 18, 2012

A Series of Excisions

When I saw my daughter for the first time she was lying on a table about three feet away from me, beautiful and naked as God. Her tiny legs criss-crossed in the air. The nurse couldn't get over how much hair she had. 

I remember thinking she was perfect. She was born by emergency c-section. They put me completely out. I came to and saw her, and ten seconds later I was out again. I didn't get to hold her until she was already hours old. 

There is a scar on my right foot where a tumor was removed. I don't even remember what kind of cancer it was. It was rare and it had a long name. I used to have the name memorized. When the lump first appeared I was pregnant with my son and I watched it grow. It grew and my belly grew. When they they were preparing to do the biopsy, they told me the chances of it being malignant were 1 in 100,000.

My son was born the traditional way. He came out and cried and flailed his little red arms. They set him on my chest while we were still connected by the umbilical cord, life blood coursing back and forth between our bodies. I was so exhausted I was shaking and I was afraid I couldn't hold onto him. I wanted to hold onto him. I wanted to stay awake for all of it.

I had my thyroid removed two years later. Thyroid cancer. Odds: 1 in 100,000. I had stifled my voice for so many years, swallowed all those sharp-edged truths, and then I got cancer in my throat. I remember lying in bed at the hospital, wondering if those two things were related.

It took over a year to admit to myself that I wanted a divorce. Once I filed, it took another two years to actually get one. I remember early on, before we even started the divorce process, he had made up a list of everything we owned. He pointed out the things that he wanted. He was very certain about which things he wanted.

Getting out of my marriage was like wading through tar. For years. I'm out, but I can still feel the weight of it.

When I lost my job it was like a body blow. My position was being eliminated, they said. It was nothing personal. A reorganization. At first I was in shock, then I felt relieved, then I was despondent, then relieved again, and free. Because the job was not me. Finance. I'm not a finance person. Losing my job felt like taking off a too small coat. I hadn't felt free in the longest time.

When I left to go to the safehome I left quickly. I had no idea how long I'd be gone. I took only what fit in the back of the car – clothes mostly, some books, a Lego space shuttle, our two cats. We drove across miles of empty space. Just me and my kids. I was scared, but also happy.

We passed a car pulled over on the side of the freeway. It was towing an open trailer that was loaded up with furniture and belongings. I saw it and remembered when everything I owned would fit in a small trailer.

Something had fallen out of the trailer about a half mile back. A box full of something. You could see the guy looking back at it, trying to figure out what to do. Was it worth going back for it? Dodging through traffic? I wanted to tell him to let it go. Whatever was in that box, I was sure he didn't need it.

I wanted to tell him, it will be okay. Just let it go.








1 comment:

  1. Beautifully written....as always
    Elissa

    ReplyDelete

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