Friday, March 30, 2012

Unwelcome Memories

It's been a while since a memory has snuck up and smacked me across the face.

It use to happen all the time.  I think it was my brain's way of processing something that it never imagined having to process.

What on earth are you talking about Amanda?

When my mom got very sick I rushed home to be at her side.  We didn't know how long she had.  Hours? Days?  No one really knew but we knew it was BAD.  Very very bad.  I spent the next 2 weeks at her side in the hospital.  There were some good days.  Days with progress.  Days where she was with us and laughing.  Good moments.  Moments where hope broke through.  But there were so many more bad moments.  Moments I would replay over and over and over and over again in my head.

I could smell the hospital for months.  I would wake in my bed having spent most the night thinking I was sleeping in a chair next to my mom.  My brain wouldn't let it go.  My brain tormented me with images and words and sounds and smells I never wanted to think about again.

But eventually it did give me a break.  It did let go.  And those memories flooded my senses less and less and less.

Now, it is rare that my mind goes back to the hospital unless I have willed it to.  It's rare that it catches me off guard.  Very rare.  But when it does it can knock me off my feet.

This morning I was in the bathroom straightening my hair.  Something I do every morning.  Nothing was unusual.  Nothing was special or unique about today.  It's not an anniversary of anything.  Just and ordinary Friday morning getting ready for work.

Then bam - I'm sitting in the hospital lounge surrounded by my family while the oncologist helped explain why it was time to move my mom to hospice.  We had already made the decision but I had asked the oncologist to come make the case to my family.  I knew I wasn't strong enough to answer why we made the choice.  To look my family in the eye and tell them it was time.  I needed someone else to do that heavy lift.  I needed someone else to convince them it was the right decision.

And I was stuck there.  I was stuck looking around the room at the people I loved as we had this awful conversation.  I was stuck looking at the hospital cart with the coffee and cookies the nurses provided for us -- for this awful conversation.  I was stuck looking at that ugly hospital furniture that was somewhere between sky blue and mint green and just UGLY.  I was stuck curled up on one of those chairs hugging my knees to my chest and crying.

Matt came upstairs and the sound of his footsteps broke through and I was free.  Blotchy faced, teary eyed but free.  I've found myself going back there today.  To that moment and wanting to know why?  Why did that moment surface?  Why did my brain go there this morning?

And so I wrote it down.  Because over the last couple of months I have discovered that if something is bouncing around inside my head, writing can help set it free.  Writing can help put it to rest. 

Maybe one day I'll understand why my brain does this to me.  Maybe one day I'll have a better way of coping with it.  But for today I'll just write.

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