Jilly D.

Stumbling and Snowbanks

In Health, Mourning, Time and seasons on February 10, 2011 at 2:32 am

To walk gently on the snow

Stumbling. Falling down. Unable to stand comfortably. The fear of tumbling to the ground and not being able to get up is a real one for me outside. I wear sturdy shoes and boots; even have Yak Trax attached to grip the ice and snow. Simply put: I am not steady.

Suddenly I’m an old lady. I catch a glimpse of my reflection dragging my feet in half-steps; tentative, moaning in pain and stressed from an anticipatory slip. Will winter never end?

My physical challenges are somatic metaphors for my personal life. There’s no firm ground to stand upon. Almost 17 months later and I still feel as though the rug got pulled out from under my feet. Fibromyalgia symptoms this bitter winter are expressions of the pain I still suffer from Sam’s death. Some days I feel crippled by this second winter without him.

Hard for me to differentiate the aches from angst, the pains from the pangs, the injuries from the illness. It all feels bad. And it makes me feel old.

I drop a pen on the floor and I tell myself I can pick it up later. When I do bend down, I look around to make sure I do everything I need to down there before I try to get up.

Tai Chi. Island Health & Fitness. Cranio-Sacral Massage Therapy. Aromatherapy. Hydrotherapy.

None of above can cure me of being a klutz; only treat the symptoms resulting from my clownish accidents. And the best treatment now while I work is putting extra pillows under my tusch. Taking a spill last Sunday night on the ice and landing on my tailbone would have made a great America’s Funniest Home Video, but it was just me and Lucy on her leash in the dark while everyone else sat inside watching the Superbowl. Nobody saw or heard me.

Except Sam. I felt him. And he was laughing. And I was crying. And in that moment I just wanted him to take me in his arms and give me a big hug and tell me it would be okay and then get me to laugh.  

I laid there for several minutes on the road flat on my back. Nobody was going to rescue me. Ever. I had to get up.

And now I’m trying to stay up. On my own feet. Too easy to get plowed over.

It happened this week in Ithaca. A guy got plowed over. I heard this today at the hair salon. An older man was trying to get across the street in the big snow storm yesterday and he stumbled at the curb and fell into the deep snow backwards. Suddenly the plow came by and buried him with snow. He spent almost two hours under the snowbank calling for help, and digging his way out with his bare hands. A neighbor watched the moving snowbank and finally called the Fire Department. They arrived just as he broke free. The neighbor thought maybe it was a dog under there. It was a man.

That guy had a much worse day than I did. But I feel his terror.


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