My eyes opened at 6. I turned over and gathered Julia into my arms. An early morning snuggle. “Do you want to snuggle?” I whispered and Julia, still mostly asleep, rearranged herself to accommodate my arm across her upper body and tangle her legs with mine. Julia promptly fell back into deep sleepy breathing. I dozed and my mind started to take over the light sleep.
“Do you want to snuggle?” That was the question David or I would ask in the morning. The first one to reach partial wakefulness would ask the other and we would rearrange ourselves and the covers to lie together. He on his back, me in the crook on his arm. And we would doze, or fall back to sleep, or wake up and chat until some alarm or a child or the doings of the day caused us to stir. Have I asked that question of Julia before? I don’t remember. I don’t think so. And this memory does not come with pain. Missing. Nostalgia, but not pain.
Two days ago, I had 672 messages in my email inbox. I am someone who used to have no more than 100 messages, preferably about 50 which were all current and awaiting action. I used to read, delete, file, or reply. And looking through last night I found so many that I wanted to answer one, two, three, or five months ago. I have become an awful correspondent. There are emails from people that I meant to get back to, wanted to get back to, and should have gotten back to. There are invitations to “find time for tea.” There are answers to queries that I put out and then never responded to. I’ve been in this position more than once since David died. I clean out and sort out my correspondence and then plunge back into chaos. How many more times? And I so hope to become more like the very good email correspondent that I was. But hoe long ago was that? At the bottom of the email pile are two emails from David written just a month before her died. They are like the sweater hanging in the closet that the widow doesn’t get rid of. Very casual. They say nothing of import. Like that sweater that another widow might open the closet and push her nose into to try to remember the scent of her beloved, I open those emails from time to time to read, “Tuesday works for me,” or “you might want to put this in your favorites.”
Julia went to school yesterday with 9 bandaids. A new low for her. Progress comes very slowly, but the torture is mitigated by the knowledge that Julia has a condition, albeit one that is not fully understood. I doubt that the fact helps her. This week, she experienced a definite part of the cycle of the sores. I’ve noticed it before but could not put it into some order, and I do wish that the unsatisfying doctor experience could have explained what I see now as a cycle. The sores do not proceed like a wound or bit that is healing, that is from irritated skin to quieter and quieter scab which eventually falls off when the skin is sufficiently healed underneath.
Instead, there is an eruption time, when the sore looks almost bloody raw. I think this is when the individual sore is most itchy. When Julia was scratching insistently, she would scratch off the top of the sore and the sore would get bigger eventually bleeding underneath the skin to form a bruise. Each sore got bigger and bigger and sometimes looked like one was joined to another.
When she lets them alone, like she is doing now, the raw and bloody sore seems to calm down after a few days and the skin begins to close from the outside in. The itching decreases and slowly the outside of the circle of sore comes together and forms a red pimple (for lack of a better descriptive word). This pimple will eventually form a white top. This too is itchy and scratching the top off of this part of the sore seems to put the sore on another path of healing, one that needs to go back to the inflamed bloody sore again and the pimple before beginning to shrink and heal. I don’t know what or how the pimple begins to shrink and become a pinhead or small mark on the skin for another few weeks before beginning to disappear. I don’t know what breaks the cycle, but the hard pimples have erupted over and over. I know the steroid cream has helped push some of the sores into real healing, but not all of them.
So much for my description of physical healing. Now if I could get on to the heart and soul healing. Should I be seeing metaphors?
Chinese New Year cards have finally arrived and I will be getting them out this week. I opted for commemorating out last winter holiday with cards for friends and relatives so that I could put posed family pictures on the cards. My dear friend, Amy, who is a professional photographer took pictures of of the three of us when Cheshire was home. At that point, Christmas, Chanukah, or New Year cards would have only been very late, but Chinese New Year cards could still be on time, so why not? And there is a picture of all three of us which Cheshire complained I never send out. Not to print address labels, assemble, stamp and send.
Julia is awake and asking about the pictures hung behind by headboard. I think it is time for showers and waffles and walking the dog before our first therapist of the day comes.