Sunday, September 28, 2008

Foggy Haze

It's been a really hard year for Corey's family. I never blogged about this, but his mother was gravely ill last May and, in fact, missed our wedding. She was having an operation during the ceremony, recovering to the sound of a cell phone the Rabbi held during our vows.

We are in New Jersey right now at Team Headquarters as his dad fights his own battle for health. I find I don't recognize myself or my responses to things. I grow furious when the phone rings, but angry when it's silent. I'm irritated at the lack of knowledge I get at the hospital, but zone out when the nurses talk to me. I basically don't know how to be.

Here is how I process and deal with illness: Disgusting optimism. When I was in 10th grade, my biology teacher broke us into lab groups of 4. A recorder, an experimenter, an assistant, and an encourager. In life, right now, I am the encourager. I stand by his bedside and tell him he's doing a great job. I get really, really angry when anyone has anything but a completely positive and optimistic outlook.

Of course I understand that other people process differently and they are just as entitled to their emotions as I am to mine. It makes me spend a lot of time by myself in the family waiting room, knitting furiously and then unraveling after I get an inch. I am unraveling in many ways, I suppose. I like the scratch of the wool against my hangnails, the way it now stinks of the antibacterial hand gel I slather liberally on my body.

When I get home in the evenings, my skin is so dry it cracks and bleeds, and I rub lavender lotion on my arms as I stare out into the windows.

I canceled the class I teach at Pitt for early this week, but I have decided that I am going back to the city tomorrow afternoon. I can't allow the freshmen to miss an entire week and, since I missed Wicked, I know Corey's father would want me to make it back in time to hear Maxine Hong Kingston speak tomorrow night. I am trying not to feel guilty about this indulgence. If it were me, and he missed hearing such an influential writer, I'd be angry with him when I came to.

I'll be on the road a lot the next couple of weeks. I'll be doing a lot of Sodoku, unraveling a lot of hats. There is no protocol for this situation. I wish I had the energy to write some.


Paul said...


Dave has forwarded your recent e-mail to both his mom and to me and we just want to let you know that we are thinking of you and Corey, Herb, Ellen and Corey's sister and brother. Having had my mother battle through cancer in the '70s and all the "your mother's back in the hospital" type of phone calls, I can well appreciate what you and everyone else is going through.

Needless to say, though it's a bit hollow and meaningless from a couple of hundred miles away, if you or they need anything that is within our power to provide all you need do is ask.

Paul Matlin

p said...

sending thoughts and prayers

Soupie! said...

If you need help, i am currently shacked up with a lady that can instruct poetry to college freshman. I hope that the Lev family is hanging in there and that the whole Lev tribe has our blessing.


PeaceLoveMath said...

I am optimistic too! Happy, optimistic wishes are vibe-ing your way, and to the entire Lev family!!