10 December, 2013

Lean On Me

The post that follows was originally written for February 17, 2010. It was the last of a trilogy of brief essays relating to the first anniversary of spending weeks on life support as I was held in drugged-induced slumber. (See: Amen and Resurrection and 18 Days Later ... - although The Keepers & I and Can I Get A Hug? also relate)

It is, perhaps, not an uplifting way to spend the day, but some of you will find in it a message of love. I hope so. I'm not sure how it will affect you, dear reader, but it will certainly help you understand why I am so fond of Tree. There it stands, well-rooted against all manner of storm, as a symbol of the constancy of life, and its persistent cycle of seasonal variation reminds me of the continuity of life (I'd say "circle," but it's been done).

The Sleeper has awakened.
Literally, certainly, but also figuratively.

About a year ago he was brought back to consciousness by the Keepers after weeks of maintaining his body on life support. Yet there are parts of him that are only today beginning to reawaken as he seeks enlightenment from lessons long left in shadow and as he develops new insights for living a good and honorable life and a life filled with love and laughter.

At about the same time he was placed on life support, the Sleeper’s Wife began the last of many weeks of radiation therapy – a process during which she lay isolated in a dimly lit room, deserted by all, and with her head held immobile by a laser-designed mask that made her both uncomfortable and claustrophobic as it gripped every square inch of her face. Daily she endured this healing torture after traveling nearly fifty miles from where the Sleeper lay and never knowing what she would find when she returned once again to the Sleeper’s side. It was surely a dreadful and lonesome journey.

I am the Sleeper. I was the one not there for her. I was not there as she had always been for me throughout each of several life threatening crises. Any reasonable person would say it was unavoidable – that within the tyranny of such illness the Sleeper had no choice. I too would say it was unavoidable – that within the tyranny of such illness I had no choice. Nevertheless, I was not there for her, and it hurts deeply to recognize that in her moments of greatest need, I was not.

It is a great loss and one that cannot be recovered. I was not there for her. I shall always regret that fact, mourn the loss it represents, and must somehow make certain that such absence when she needs me is never again allowed to happen.