“Faithfulness to the past can be a kind of death above ground. Writing of the past is a resurrection; the past then lives in your words and you are free.” ~ Jessamyn West
I know exactly what Jessamyn means, though I’d never have been able to state it so succinctly. And so resurrection occurs for me this Easter through writing. When you write about something, your perspective gets to control it; when it has already happened you can shift it…place it under the microscope of your perception. You can then craft it, shaping it, painting and whittling and building. When something inside me has died, this is its resurrection.
Several things died inside me yesterday. I am hoping the writing of them will resurrect.
My mother wanted to drive us down to see Boo for “our Easter” with him. On the trip I would look over at her, worry over her; she drives the car a little jerkily these days, and she has lost so much weight. She has not smoked in almost a month, and I told her I was proud of her. I am. But for her to quit smoking, she must have been very close to calling-911 sick, that unable to breathe. She doesn’t let on to things and she does not go to the doctor. Ever.
And so my mother and Andy and I repeat this process every Saturday, spinning the wheel of Jonah-Fortune, each time getting a different result. This time my mother and I passed a truck on the way down; on its back was painted a Bible passage about hope and trust in the Lord. This my mother took to be a good sign. I took it too. If God wants to throw us a bone, I’m a grateful pup.
Anyway, Jonah’s school had an Easter Egg hunt that morning, and Jonah loved it, they told us. I wish there were pictures, a video. I wish I could be Big Brother watching. No, not really.
I just want to watch my son smile and laugh. He laughed on the way to the apartment. We held hands and sang Guster songs and Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah. We played Where is Thumbkin…
I took 3 pictures of us. I’m a homely thing, but I’ll post one anyway. Jonah must have gotten the cute from his dad’s side.
When we first got to the apartment everything started as usual — Jonah almost immediately stripping down for a bath, my mother spreading out food on the table, Andy supervising the filling of the tub, me preparing to help where I’m needed.
Downhill it all went, quick as a bunny, you might say, and there isn’t going to be much of a blow-by-blow today because I don’t have it in me. Jonah ramped up and ramped up, splashing water, then throwing his plate of food, then turning like lightning and going for my face. I caught his wrists, he scratching the insides of my wrists. On time-out in the bedroom Jonah decided to use poop as a weapon and started to push.
Andy quickly picked him up and put him on the toilet, where Jonah finished pooping – but not before he got some on the white knitted throw. Andy did restrictive holds and scolded Jonah while my mom put the bedspread in the sink, scrubbing it, and I stood in silence. There was fighting and yelling among us all. It was chaotic and felt dangerous and wrong. It made me want to scream that scream inside me, the scream that keeps getting bigger, tight and thick as a brick. All this was supposed to be our little Easter celebration. I didn’t eat more than a few bites. I don’t know how long it will take for this to feel like another new normal.
I think it’s time we make an appointment with Jonah’s caseworker and we can all go and talk about Jonah, ask for guidance, find out what’s working for them and what isn’t, find out something. Find out anything.
Eventually we did get a small amount of playground time with Jonah, and we walked over to the vending machines and bought him pink lemonade. “Pool? pool?” he even asked as we passed the gated, empty, cavernous rectangle .
Yes, bunny, pool is coming…just a few more months…
Then back to the playground, where he actually scampered up the slide and on other play equipment (as opposed to swinging to the exclusion of all else). Abruptly he asked for “Birch House?” –which is where he lives, right next to the playground. His bedroom window overlooks it, the play area…his favorite swing… the pool beyond it. We followed him in to say goodbye. I know now how to put my brain and heart on NEUTRAL or I couldn’t do this thing again and again and again.
A small scratch Jonah had made just under my right eye stung every time I cried yesterday. My wrists look mysteriously pocked, almost pecked – The Birds style.
But mostly it’s exhausting emotionally for us all. Sometimes I don’t think Andy is doing well, I know my mother isn’t doing well, and as for me, writing is my resurrection. Still, there is doubt in everything I do — in every motive. Am I too self-conscious or merely self-aware? Am I hyper-sensitive or is everyone else desensitized?
And how the heck does the Easter Bunny get from house to house? I do not believe this has ever been explained to me.