Tag Archives: Guilt

A Little Bit

Today is my sister’s anniversary. 51 years of married life. I can hardly comprehend that. That’s almost as long as I’ve lived on this earth.

We don’t keep in touch. She lives far away. All my sisters live far away. We don’t keep in touch, ever.

Sometimes that feels strange to me, and at other times, I don’t think about it at all. It just is.

But this wasn’t what I planned to write about. 

I planned to write about guilt. One type of guilt, for there is always a variety of it to go around.

As I go through my entries on this blog, and  compile those I might possibly use, all sorts of memories are being triggered. Some memories have nothing to do with RA, while others send me headlong into the world of constant pain that I lived in for what I assumed would be forever.

There’s no denying that RA changed me. It changed my outlook on life. It changed my ability to function, productively as well as effectively. It changed my career and career focus. It changed the trajectory of my future.

But looking back from ten-plus years, for I really do not know when this dis-ease arrived, I cannot say it is a bad thing. Not entirely.

I have benefited from the care of a wonderful doctor, who puts up with my self-treatment and self-diagnosis. Perhaps my intimate involvement with my treatment process has meant the difference. For though I no longer practice in the field, I cannot stop being a nurse. I cannot stop wanting to bring wellness to those whose lives I touch.

I have seen the depths and I have seen the light, to use one worn out cliché. And because of that, I feel guilt.

Guilt that while others suffer excruciatingly from this ailment on a daily basis, I am forced to agree with my doctor’s mantra. “You are doing very well,” he says to me after every visit.

And I am. I feel better and more mobile than before RA checked in.

I’m not really sure what I have done to make this happen. From the research of my writings, both posted here and those still tucked away in my journals,  I suppose I will find out, glean some sort of insight. Is it diet? Is it exercise? Is it love? Is it companionship? Is it finding like-minded friends to talk to? Is it knowing that people out there care about me? Is it caring for others? Is it all of the above?

I know that the treatment for RA is not a one-size-fits-all. But perhaps my story might help. Just a little bit.

 

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Leaving On a Jet Plane

It’s a free, floaty feeling to loosen the ties that bind, even for a little bit. For no matter how lovingly they encircle you, they still keep you in place, grounded.  And though that does provide comfort and a sense of security, I look forward to breaking free, taking a hiatus, leaving the daily grind behind, for just a little while.

What makes this voyage that I’m about to embark on seem even more buoyant is that I literally don’t know when I’ll be back again.  My trip has no expiration date. And that’s OK. Like Scarlett O’Hara, I will think about that tomorrow.

When I’m lifted up into that clear blue yonder, I will be suspended between the bookends of my life here and my life elsewhere. I will be alone, alone surrounded by strangers. All of us traveling inside our own cocoon of solitude, for truly that is how we traverse this life, accompanied yet alone.

I am not so much moving away from one point as I am progressing toward another. I am going to, not going from. I fly to welcome an angel that has landed on this earth. A little soul who is a bridge between the life I live now and the life I tried to live then.

As much as I loved back then, I was unable to give my son, her father, what I most wanted to. A home with his own mother and father.  The love I feel for him is forever framed by the guilt I carry. A guilt that is somewhat assuaged by the fact that though we divorced each other, we did not divorce him. I know both his father and I love him dearly, our firstborn.

Yet now is not the time to dwell on that particular arc of our family history. My son has given me a gift that will take me even further back in time, a granddaughter who carries my mother’s name.  There is no doubt this new baby’s life will be one of privilege my mother could not even begin to imagine. A child sent out into the world at the age of seven to earn her keep would have no reference of what it meant to have a stable, secure life with two loving parents.

But, this Carmen will. And when I finally hold her great-granddaughter in my arms, I know my mother will smile down at me from the heavens I’d just been so close to.