Not certain when this all began. Perhaps it was last winter. Perhaps it was earlier, when loved ones died, leaving me with delayed survivor’s guilt. Then again, it may have begun when the pain hit, slamming into my body more than a year ago. Nothing was broken. But an MRI showed the trouble shots, a spine that was curving like the C in my name; discs that were bulging and tormenting, and pinched nerves that were sending red flags of a curse in endless Morse code. Added to this morphing mix were the intruders. Politicians who politicked but not for me. Killers. Victims. George Zimmerman. Trayvon Martin. Feeling helpless in arching discontent, I was smoking more than a pack of cigarettes a day. In a weird way they were like my best friends, always there for me. Now that is a pathetic rationalization, isn’t it? I was hitting bottom.
The bottom was days upon days of no sleep and when it did arrive, it was accompanied by night terrors that surfaced during the day. Often I would awake screaming or crying, alarming my husband. I learned to muffle the screams by pushing my face into the pillow. I wished for a Ziplock bag. If I had one large enough maybe I could capture all these demons and flush them away as I had once done for a granddaughter who said there were ghosts in her room. And it worked! What do you do, though, when your soul is screaming?
I prayed. I meditated. And I became invisible to me. Self-loathing was winning this battle. I do believe in answered prayers, even if they don’t always seem to arrive on time. One day my husband said to me, “Cher, you’re slipping away. We’re moving to Florida.” He was that succinct. Mechanically I began packing boxes in the rooms of our home. Much of that time is a blur to me. But I do remember that after two hours of my husband driving us to Florida, I asked him to let me drive. For 1027 miles I drove the highways day and into night. He had been through a lot. I wanted to help.
We bought a home that has become our haven. People have said we were “crazy” to make such a drastic move. No, we left crazy behind. I am healing. I stopped smoking. We are content. We soak in the warmth of the sun and know beyond any doubt that this was the right move for us. Other people, even some of my friends, have and are suffering from maladies much worse than mine. To them I say, I know. I understand. Do not listen to naysayers. Find peace where you may. Save your Ziplock bags for keeping fruit fresh and don’t muffle your cries. Those who care will hear you.
About the Author: Cher Duncombe
Someone once told me, “Used-to-be’s don’t count.” I have pondered this often and find that they do count. We are the sum of our life experiences.
I used to be an English and Speech teacher. There will always be a part of me that wants to teach. I used to be an Investigator, first for the government and later in my own private investigations business.
I will always probe beneath the surface of issues and people, looking for the gem-like quality hidden in the text of words and personae. Today I am a writer and all of the used-to-be’s are part of the continuum of this journey. br> View My Profile