August 26 and day 26 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. It is another beautiful sunny morning. I wonder whether it is safe to say that the dog days of summer are over. This is the summer when you have to turn on the AC one day and the furnace the next. In a way I do miss the heat. I did acclimatized after awhile so when the temperature drops, I really felt it. It’s been a roller coaster summer.
Haven’t life always been a hilly ride? It’s a journey of the good, the bad and the ugly trips. I’ve had many of each. In the end, when I look back, it was the bad and ugly that were the most memorable. With time and distance, the bad and ugly were mellowed. I was left with a sense of nostalgia for the times past. All the experiences taught me something but it takes time for me to realize that.
My first trip was my birth. Of that I have no memory. I was told I was a home birth and a difficult one, requiring a midwife. There is no kept record for I was born in a village in China. I have a cousin who is 3 years older. Her birth was a snap. Her mother gave birth to her on the side of a road. She was walking to her mother’s village, felt contractions, squatted and had my cousin. That is the story anyways.
My childhood in China was a fairly happy and secure journey though my father left for Canada when I was 2. I was raised in a matriach family, most of the men being overseas in Gold Mountain (Canada). I had a terrible 2 in that my left arm had a nasty burn that would not heal. I don’t remember the accident at all but I remembered playing and chasing the chickens in our courtyard just before. And I remembered my mother taking me to the hospital after they’ve tried all the home remedies. We had to go by a hired bicycle and it was our luck that we got the same bad driver every time. He could not stay on the road very well.
My mother said I was very good. I did not fuss or cry. I have no memory of the accident ,the pain or the treatments. Isn’t nature wonderful. I remember the bicycle rides and going through the arches to the hospital. My arm healed with bad scarring up to and a little past my elbow. I have full arm mobility. It’s on the inside so not very noticeable. I was very conscious of it from childhood up to adulthood. I would wear long sleeves even on the hottest summer day. I got over it when I entered nursing. I couldn’t wear long sleeve uniforms. So I got over it. And now, well, I couldn’t give a shit.
This trip kind of took an expected turn. It wasn’t my intended journey. It is what it is.
My morning self is a more positive side even in this sea of grief that we are presently in. At some point last night, I had to stop watching the vigil honouring the Humboldt Broncos. Otherwise, it would be difficult to extricate myself from overwhelming sadness. As it is the thoughts of the accident and deaths are always there, just beneath the surface.
April can be such a hard month. The sky is grey. It is snowing. Spring is not ready to show itself. On this morning memories of other tragic accidents surface. Young lives were lost in those motor vehicle mishaps from high school days. We were given the information at the time. Someone died. But there was no counselling and talk sessions after. Perhaps it is better now to have all this media coverage. We need to hear all the stories as much as the people need to tell them. So good that there’s emotional and psychological support available to people so quickly. We have come a long ways in dealing with trauma.
I shall meander through this time as best as I can. It is not my sadness but we all share the same space, breathe the same air. We are all bonded in our humanity. Let me not shy away from what is here. It is not my sadness. It is not my story but I can sit and listen. I will shed some tears but I will be okay.
Sheba was right on the money this morning. 6:05 am was when I felt her cold wet nose, followed by her little snort. It was still pitch black. But I love that part of the day when Preston Avenue was still asleep. No continuous ribbon of cars and only a few foot traffic.
I’m learning to leave my electronics asleep for awhile, indulging myself turning a few pages of written words. Once I start scrolling, one thing would lead to another. The minutes and then the hours would go by. My head and mind stirred and messed up with bad and/or useless information. Instead, these mornings I am reading Stephen Jenkinson’s Die Wise, a Manifesto for Sanity and Soul. It is not an easy read. I can only do a few pages at a time. Now I might have to leave it for a few days.
He didn’t tell me anything that I did not know before. What it did was to take me right back to the workplace I have left 4 years ago. The scenes and talks were so familiar. I know he is coming from an authentic place. He has given a voice to those things and feelings that I’ve experienced and breathed for years but couldn’t articulate. I am grateful for that identification. It will help me ‘get over’ and heal from my ‘anxiety’ or ‘trauma’. The book is aptly named. It is a manifesto for sanity and soul. I believe that my anxiety was from the denial of all the feelings I’ve witnessed and experienced in the hallowed halls of the Hospital. But how else could I have carried on working without the denial?
These things were never talked about that I could remember. Yes, there was a Health Office but that was mostly where you report to after you’ve been off sick. It was like the Prinicpal’s Office. Most of the time I felt like a truant child, not deserving but abusing. Health care was for patients only. But then this was my experience. I don’t know about others. We don’t talk about it much. It was the same way with after retirement. I don’t hear about how others fare. I just hear about the travelling. That’s what I hear the most. Are you going to travel? I felt obligated to travel just because I am retired.
What happened to me was I fell apart. Or that’s what it felt like. Oh, I did some travelling. I was busy most if not all the time. I wasn’t just sitting around having a nervous breakdown. I always took pride in being very functional, no matter what. No one probably knew I was having difficulties except maybe the person living with me. Sheba probably did. She had her own anxiety attacks. They were probably from me. She cushioned me by absorbing some of it. She is my best friend.
I am so lucky to have arrive in this space and time. I can now sit and stay with my feelings without jumping out of my skin. I can acknowledge the good, bad and the ugly. I can sit and read Die Wise – if only a few pages at a time.