The day before she decided to help Quinny out with the morning Spanish routine, so she was in the classroom even though normally she wouldn't be. I looked up and caught her attention. "Mrs. Cav?" I called quietly, surprised I had used her nickname. She looked up and smiled some, but I could tell that there was a lot of sadness and apprehension in her smile. "Yes?" I tried to smile back as I lightly questioned her, "Do you know what else the 17th is?" I had mentioned it was near the anniversary of my third and hardest surgery, as well as the date I had truly found out that it had failed. She shook her head. "No, what?" I tried to smile once more and I think it was a little reassuring. "It's the four year anniversary of the day I fractured my hip," I told her softly. Her eyes widened and she flopped back in her chair with a surprising amount of grace. "Now that is too strange," she informed me. The Kindred Spirit stuff gets to her sometimes. Rachel Carson and Dorothy Freeman (best friends) used to call it Stardust, when things were peculiar and almost fated like that--as if things were put together in life a certain way as far as thoughts or events go.
So Mrs. Cavanagh knew I would be thinking about her all day as I thought about myself and my journey. They have become connected, given how much she has been there for me through the last two years even if she did end it in some degree prematurely. I was certainly sending her white light.
When I went to Organismal Biology at night I blanked out for minutes at a time, just staring ahead of me and locked up in memories. It's only on days like those that I get the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or whatever symptoms. Well, I do to lesser degrees on other days with symptoms... But I just let myself be and cycle through the memories. It was hard to see myself in such pain again and relive it. I always allow my mind to do so when it needs, though. It somehow seems beneficial in the end, as if my mind is playing through a movie that it finds terribly difficult to get through but that always has a story and effect in the end. I suppose it would be parallel to my watching Harold and Maude whenever I do. It's so difficult to get through the movie and watch Maude die (especially as I've seen it so many times and it can no longer surprise me), but I always receive that excellent message in the end and it makes me feel alive right after I've finished crying and laughing at the same moment.
I took on different roles in the memories. Sometimes I was in the Kiwi body, viewing the various hospital rooms and physical therapy and home settings. Other times, I was this Supportive and Strong Almost Adult Figure. Still Kiwi, but different. I was lending aid and supporting her invisibly. Other times, I was just myself implanted in the memories with her.
One that sticks out is in Children's Hospital after the first surgery when they fixed me up. I pretended at that time that I wasn't scared at all. I had been in Children's Hospital dozens of times for bone X-rays and scans and long IVs and testing and appointments. But I had never spent the night--I didn't understand what it was like to spend the night in a hospital. I didn't understand that one real time minute in the outside world can feel like an hour or half a day in a hospital, and that time almost seems to go on infinitely in a most torturous way.
So I walked to her and kneeled by her bed. (I will consider her "her," because even if then I was her, in this new memory I was not.) I could tell that she was watching the television, even though it was merely fizz. It was symbolic. I put my fingers delicately on the back of her hand and she turned to look at me, her tangled surgery hair falling over one shoulder and her forest hazel eyes so defeated by a surgeon's fire and saw. She tilted her head some and I could see the glimmer of tears in her eyes by the flickering light of the maladjusted television.
I lifted myself up straight and hugged her for all I was worth, crying along with her. We were both sobbing. I told her I understood, I understood how horrible it is to stay the night. To watch what your new situation does to your mother. To watch the household respond to such an injury. To look out over one's new future life-road and be frightened by this new uncertainty that changes everything, including the Self. I kissed her forehead and held her and told her I Understood. I didn't tell her things would be immediately Alright, or that things would Get Better right away. I didn't send her any images, but I could feel her searching my mind and heart.
When she didn't recoil and only drew closer, I let out a sigh of relief and realized once again that she (and I) could do it. I kissed her cheek and she turned back to the television. I felt her squeeze my hand before the memory went back to normal and I was absorbed back into her again, back to the Kiwi inside her--but somehow not different from the way I am today.
I guess I'm the sort of person to believe that we have all our ages inside us. That by being 18, I am simultaneously 17-0, but also older. That though my idea and picture of my younger ages are more cemented, my older selves are present also. They show their presence from time to time and sometimes I catch glimpses of the way their faces might be, but that is all capable of change due just to my choices as I go through life. It's a beautiful feeling to me.
The Continuum of Kiwi. Yeah, I like that.
RIP Kiwi's Hip
You served me so well for 15 years.
I hope you have been resting well for these 4.
I love you and always will. Thank you for the way you have changed me for the better. I hope you're proud of what you have helped to form. You have sculpted me as a master would clay. I hope that now, as a creation, I might care for you in turn. I will keep you and the memories of you safe. I will cherish your legacy.
Go now in peace. Blessed be.
(I apologize for the way that this entry jumps from time to time. That is how time works in my mind. I hope you won't have too much trouble working things out. Smile.)