I have had the shittiest couple of weeks I can remember and what sucks the most about it is I haven’t hit rock bottom yet. Friday I found out I had hurt my sister-in-law, which is not something I ever intended to do nor something I will easily get over. She is in the middle of the health crisis of her life, juggling 2 darling kids ( not literally, they’re too big for that) and coping with the grief of transitions, adaptations and of course the fear that cancer always instills – facing our own mortality. Allison is such a remarkable woman and great mom and I love her so much that it is devastating to think I caused her even a thimble full of pain.
But wait, that’s not even the sucky part. Around 5 or so, I was getting ready for my gig and I fell fully backwards, missing my hard headboard by about a foot but landing on the back of my head with huge impact. Of course I had taken off my medic alert bracelet (“Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up”) for the gig but I was able to crawl to the cell phone and reach Edith. I lay there on the floor sobbing and wondering how the hell I could possibly perform.
Once I got to the club, I was surrounded by so much love and laughter, I got through it all with the help of brandy and painkillers. Lisa made sure I was well iced and the small number of folks who knew what was happening rallied to the cause. Edith informed me she was sleeping over which I felt was unnecessary until I fell again and again hit the back of my head. Again I sobbed and sobbed – less for the pain that the symbolism. These were the two worst falls since before my diagnosis, so scary, violent and random that even I am now forced to agree with many of the health care professionals I work with and most of my friends. I need to be in the wheelchair almost all the time.
Transitions are hard and this one is a bear.
I don’t want this.
I want to be normal.
Sometimes I wonder how many body blows I can actually stand. Since Allison’s diagnosis I have been sick with grief for her, for my precious and amazing niece and nephew, for my poor family who are already reeling and of course for my beloved baby brother for whom I would happily take a bullet (especially now!) While they have been fighting their battles, I’ve been dealing with my own decline, severing a 25 year tie with someone who has been very unhealthy for me, worrying about the state of my son’s hurting heart and slowly realizing that someone I really like does not reciprocate my feelings – or maybe just finds it way too depressing to date someone with my challenges. Either way it has the same effect.
It’s better if these things aren’t jammed into 2 weeks I think.
But here’s the funny part – blessings abound. The boys in the band offer their superb musicianship and their loving friendship, their wheelchair schlepping services, their jokes, their Carla-lifting and love. At the ALS event on Saturday there was no chair lift as promised and one of the men said “Don’t worry, we have all kinds of people around here trained in lifting people” and my piano player John R said “But they don’t love her like we do, “ and my bass player Jon said “Yeah, we’ll carry her.” Which he did, honeymoon-style up the steep set of stairs.
More love – my mom brought the famous (to this blog) Pat H. to the Bay Area to hear the gig. What a treat to meet her in the flesh!
More love – my dad and brother admitting to crying when they read the recent review, my dad covering my head with kisses after the gig and hearing my drummer David talk about joking with Dad at the urinals. He said something to the effect of “your daughter would say something really funny about now.” No doubt.
More love – my amazing, phenomenal, gorgeous girlfriends swooping in, bossing me around and knowing what’s good for me even when I can’t see it. The way they hold me when I cry, hold the space for me to vent, deal with things I don’t want to, mother me in a way that is so hard for me to accept but so deliciously comforting, look gorgeous in velvet dresses and laugh when I offer to help them bury their husbands.
Yet more love – if you saw me sing Friday night, I wasn’t being brave or faking it. I was just thoroughly loving the moment. It’s a joy, honor and privilege to get to sing and tell Sarah Palin jokes. It just doesn’t get much better than playing with those three guys for all of you.