As I begin this post, I notice the time – 11:08 pm. Shabbat has been over for several hours and a “new” week has officially begun. I should be filled with anticipation, excitement, and wonder at what this week will bring but if I’m to be completely honest, all I feel is fear.
When my Mom, z”l, used to tell me that if I “had my health I would have everything,” I used to sigh heavily (the way teenagers do) and say, “Mommm! You say that all the time!” I knew she had breast cancer but my teen-aged mind wasn’t able to comprehend what that really meant – the severe sun-burn-like redness the replaced her breasts, the nausea and vomiting brought on by chemo, and the effort it took for her just to do the dishes. Looking back, I imagine she was so concerned about my health because she had lost hers and I seemed to take mine for granted.
Although I don’t have breast cancer and can’t imagine what my Mom went through, I do understand what she meant about “having” my health. For the past few months my body has begun to exact revenge for the years and years of abuse I’ve put it through. The migraines have been severe and closer together, the flu struck quickly and violently, and my knees are damaged to the point of requiring surgery. It is painful to perform the normal household chores that need to get done and the longer I put them off, the more overwhelming they become. Emotionally, I seem to spiral downward until I’m so upset that I begin to cry when friends are unable to meet for dinner.
So as a new week dawns, I find myself asking if this is what my life beyond 50 will become. And I’m terrified that the answer is “yes.” Cognitively, I understand that things will get better. The surgery for my knee is scheduled for August 31st and the orthopedic surgeon assures me the problem I have will no longer be an issue. I trust that the small pink pills I take twice a day are having some kind of positive effect on my brain, and I know that as my body begins to heal I’ll begin to feel better emotionally. Unfortunately, feelings aren’t always rational and right now, mine are whispering in my ear that the way I feel today is the way I’m going to feel from now on.
It’s been over an hour since I began this post and I am physically and emotionally tired. The whispers in my ear have become shouts and I know that before long they will become deafening. At the same time, I know that once I am in bed and have recited the Shema my mind will quiet and I will find the sleep my body craves and perhaps in the morning the fear I feel tonight will have somehow morphed into hope.