In Jello

(photo from 6/9/2013)

Reflecting on last year it seemed we were frozen in time while Mike's life became overrun by medical urgency. Starting in January, he had a major brain procedure every 3 months. Surgery, then a bigger surgery, then radiation for a month. He claims the radiation was the worst. How could you possible choose a worst of three horribles? It would be like insisting a head on collision would be worse in one brand of car over another. It's three versions of bad! We'll just have to take his word for it.........I guess.

I can't speak for him on how the whole thing shakes out with hindsight. For me, I can best explain it this way: It was like we were stuck inside a mountain of jello. The world around us kept moving and we could see it clearly, but were not part of it. We were separate from it, suspended in another dimension where things moved more slowly. If at all. The outside world was nothing I could relate to. The constant press of concern and worry about my husband's brain expanded into every space available within my head. Conversations left me feeling bored, confused, frustrated, or downright mad that another topic would dare try to enter. That space was already burning and full of dread.

Who cares if your garden isn't growing. His head was cut open!

Don't they see we're suspended in jello?!

No. People don't see it. They don't know. Unless they've been stuck in it, too.


Back in my working days there was a woman who worked on my floor who never smiled. People in the building had a nickname for her, but I won't repeat it because this is a family site. Let's just say it rhymed with stitch. Any smile or hello was rudely ignored.

When I was stuck in jello, I was a total stitch. I couldn't find my friendly. I lost my social skills for a while. I couldn't fake it. And I now understand that sometimes when people can't smile back, they might be in the middle of something really heavy. They just might need some space and understanding. Or a plate of cookies left on their desk with a nice note. I wish I did that for the work stitch. Lots of people did that for us and it was the only thing that felt good: food. Words didn't matter so much.

I'm not in the jello anymore and it's refreshing to be part of both complex and mundane conversations. Regular life with uncomplicated words and the absence of constant fear. I hope I don't forget when I see someone else in jello. Instead of being offended, I hope I remember to feed them.