Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Gratitude

It's sitting there in the paper robe, staring at the ceiling, wondering, as always, what would happen if the fire alarm went off at that exact second, that it all crept up on me. While waiting in the lobby for forty-five minutes, I had worked myself up into a state of anxiety and worry. It's routine, but routine for something I try to deny, as if by denying its existence, it will suddenly disappear and never haunt me again. What if the scans showed an exacerbated problem? What if I wasn't okay like I thought? What if I should have had the boy come with me? What if? What if? What if?

She walked into the room and said, "Well, everything looks normal. Now let's just do a visual exam."

I left. My body was sore from the poking and the prodding. But I can go another six months in denial again.

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It was a brief phone call. Uncle Lenny is not doing well. Call him this week. We don't know if...but I wouldn't let her finish the sentence.

He is sick. I know. I have known.

The last time we saw him, my husband and I sat on the couch next to Uncle Lenny and we talked of our courtship. BB flirting with me, my obliviousness, and BB's dedication to the cause of getting a kiss out of me. Uncle Lenny laughed so hard at the image of BB showering me with gifts and me still thinking we were just friends, he nearly fell off the couch.

Just two hours west of Pittsburgh, Uncle Lenny's house is a shrine to the Steelers. Blankets, pillows, and rugs emblazoned with the three tetracuspids decorate their front room where we sat. We started teasing Uncle Lenny about Ben "Worthlessburger" and then moved onto Ben "Ruthlessburger" and once again, Uncle Lenny was in stitches.

I remember this vividly because when we left the house, I grabbed my husband's hand told him I was glad he'd gotten to meet Uncle Lenny because I wasn't sure if he'd ever...and I couldn't finish the sentence.

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This evening I rode my bike to my part-time evening job. Thanks to Daylight Savings, it's getting dark by 5:00 and is dark by 5:30. Somehow I managed to arrive at my destination at that magical time between twilight and full dark - the time when the sky is not lit by any hint of sun, but it's not black dark yet. The sky is that perfect sapphire blue that gemstones can't quite replicate.

I stared up at the sky, just looking. The color, the perfect color, will never again be like that.

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Once I get home, he has dinner ready for me. I eat and sit on the couch with my novel. He sits next to me with his own book. We sit next to each other, not talking, not touching, just being together.

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Each moment is a treasure. I so frequently wish time away. I can't wait until Friday. I can't wait until Thanksgiving. I can't wait until we know what his job will be next year. But every day should be appreciated because every day is filled with its small graces.

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I'm going to enter this into Scribbit's Write Away contest for November. Her topic is "Grateful" and this does seem perfect, no?

3 comments:

  1. I'm sorry to hear about your uncle, and I hope that whatever his situation, he's not in any pain. I also hope that you are ok, both emotionally and physically.

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  2. I definitely believe in all of this.

    I've always found that looking at things from this perspective makes the bad things not seem so bad.

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  3. I'm sorry for your Uncle--and all those worries you described sounded so vivid. My husband was in the ER last week and it turned out to be nothing serious but when questions of health come up it does make you go back to what is really important.

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