I’m Melting, I’m Melting

November 2, 2007 at 2:24 pm (Uncategorized)

Until this week, I didn’t realize the human body had so many tears in it.  But on Wednesday night, I sobbed into my husband’s shoulder for about two hours.  When I finally emerged from where I was lying, face down, his shirt was sodden and I had so many tears in my ear, I felt like I had been swimming.

Usually, I am not a crier.  I’ve always thought of myself as a bit of a stoic—you know, I’ll take my suffering with a few sighs and a clenched jaw, perhaps, but certainly not with tears.  But now, when mere acquaintances ask me how I’m doing, I start crying, and mind you, I’m not talking a delicate trickle of tears when I say crying.  This is full-blown bawling.  In the past few days, I’ve sobbed in two different doctors’ offices, on the phone to friends, with my parents, and repeatedly, with Jay.

Clearly, the landscape of my grief is shifting.  Someone asked me why I’m so sad right now, when I’ve endured tougher times before without shedding a tear.  It’s a good question.  Maybe it’s because my broken foot (which I’ve now been forbidden from putting any weight on, including by driving my car) has made me a virtual prisoner in my home.  I have to use a scooter to get around the house; moving among the three floors of our home means going up and down on my butt.  All this sitting still means I can’t distract myself in the ways I have for the past three years.  No errands, no slaving over complicated meals, no trips to the park with Andrew.  I’m just here with my thoughts and my feelings.  It’s as if the grief of my entire illness is catching up with me.

I am sad.  There’s no other word for it.  I acutely feel the losses that sarcoidosis has brought to me, to my husband Jay, to my son, Andrew.  It’s hard to believe that four years ago, I could hike up mountains, paddle twenty miles a day, and stay up all night writing a book.  Now, I can’t walk across a room.  I can’t cook a meal for my family.  I can’t bathe my son.  The optimists in my life remind me that I only have four more weeks in this cast with its attendant weight-bearing prohibitions.  They’re right.  But this sadness is much deeper than being stuck at home.  This is the grief I feel in my bones for losing the person I was.  This is a fatigue at having been constantly sick, in one way or another, for nearly four straight years.  My son has never known the person I was before I was debilitated by both my disease and the toxic medicines used to treat it.

Next week I will likely have a lymph node removed to check for lymphoma.  “Aren’t you terrified?” a few people have asked.  Honestly, no.  I am too tired and too sad to even much care about the latest in what feels like a never-ending series of medical crises, scares, and reports of bad news.  Until I need to deal with it, I’ll just plod along.  Or, rather, scoot around.

I think this sadness is good for me in the long run.  I think it is long overdue.  A wise person told me that I can’t learn to live a happy life again until I mourn the losses that both I and my little family have endured.  I hope all this sobbing is part of a natural grieving process.  Sometimes I get scared that the grief will swallow me up and never return me to myself or my family.   But, honestly, I think there was a greater risk in my functional numbness and fake cheerfulness destroying me, than in these tears melting me.


  1. Nancy said,

    You are loved by many of us who have never met you – and I will be here when you come thru this tunnel too – this is another passage, not a stopping point. Nan

  2. Rebecca said,

    Nancy, you just made me cry– thanks for your sweetness and love and long-distance hope.

  3. Susan said,


    I love you so much and wish I had a magic wand to take away all the pain and suffering you have to endure. I wish I lived closer to I could just hug you and cry together with you. You are so couragist and brave to take all these challenges head on. You are truely and inspiration to so many people with or without your disease. Susan

  4. Alicia said,

    I’m sorry that this latest wave of grief is so strong. When you are trapped in your own body and have nothing but your physical and emotional pains to experience, it is only natural that your spirit gets worn down. I will be thinking about you and hoping the tears slow soon.

  5. barb said,


    I would never choose your experience for anyone, and, I am so very grateful you are able to let the tears come, let the knots come untangled and say so out loud. My great grandma used to say to her “clients” when they were so bottled up with fear of feeling..”Come and put some air on it dear, it will make you feel so much better and strong again”. Well, thanks for putting some air on the grief. Its deep, real, crappy and healing. Lean on those of us who care when you are worn out. Sending air your way.

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