I flip through the pages of Time Magazine until she breezes into the waiting room to invite me back.
“How are you today?” Her eyes sparkle, and the corners crinkle.
I flash a big smile. “Fine. Just fine!”
I climb up into the chair, and she pins the bib around my neck.
She flips on the reflector light, dons a spotlight.
“Did you have a good holiday?” She’s very chipper.
She reaches for a silver pick.
I know she expects me to say, “Great” and “How was yours?”
But I’m in the light, and so I say, “Well, not really.”
And I tell her about my mom and that’s why I’m late seeing her this time.
“I’m sorry,” she says.
And there is silence except for the sound of metal on enamel.
I study the posters on the ceiling.
Joni picks and scrapes, and I shudder with the sound.
And my mind travels to her body shaking and holding her hand and telling her it was okay.
And wondering if she even heard me.
It was “rally day,” and I wonder if the bumping and jostling of the recliner in getting her outside or the whirlpool bath afterwards had somehow shaken things up.
If this seizure would have come anyway.
At least that day.
I know better.
She squirts. I swish. Mr. Straw sucks.
I try to shake off the reality of grief.
And the anger I sometimes feel at the inability to be real about it.
I try not to think about it.
How life goes on, and how being real sometimes causes discomfort for others.
How they expect me to be strong.
I’m grateful for those with whom I can feel safe to be real.
For those who comfort with the comfort they’ve received.
For those who understand I don’t need therapy.
Who are therapy.
And I’m grateful for the reality of Him, the One acquainted with grief.
Well, wasn’t that depressing.
Never know what will come out when you let the words spill.
Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy;
share tears when they’re down. ~Romans 12:15 (Message)
Joining Lisa Jo and community for five minutes on the word prompt REAL.
Linking, too, with Emily for her last Imperfect Prose gathering
as she steps out in faith to care for two more boys who desperately need her.