Thursday, October 29, 2020

Sorting, Soothing

When we get any rain, I am going to sow seeds, and ahead of that I need to pull up dead plants, and exhausted veggies. Since the summer garden is all but done, I decided the goats couldn't do much harm if I let them roam. It was such nice weather, and the grass around the old pumpkin bed was tall. Tasha and Ada went right to work, like they were at a salad bar. Ada added peppers to her meal. We all ran around for a bit, me, the hens, the goats. Maybe one of the funnest parts of being a farmer is goats and chickens that will come for affection, for treats, that will sit beside me, or run around the yard, following me. It's fun, too, that we can keep goats and chickens, together. They get along, and make each other's lives more interesting. I miss having bunnies in the mix. I love witnessing and supporting the cycle that we have around the garden, the animals, the seasons.
Phil sent us a greeting card, with a photograph he took in France, and a fall leaf. I am guessing the leaf is from Wisconsin, not France. Maybe my New Year Resolution should be to send letters, cards, thank you notes, personal and tangible messages through the post. I owe so many replies. I imagine care packages and handwritten letters, that I am earnestly eager to compose, send off. I was better about all of that, once upon a time. But I won't pretend that I've been any good about mail in recent years. Prior to 2018, I would say that I was simply busy, literally had too much to do, and I didn't make letter writing a priority. Now, since the collision, I have the added challenge of... how to even describe this? I can't manage things very well. Everything is harder, as though even the most basic tasks are veiled and just out of reach. It's a relief to be at home, because the world is big and fast moving, I stutter when I am nervous, I forget things, and cannot recall other things, people I've met, things we've done, movies, books, dates. I can do one thing at a time, then nap, as though I put in a full day's work, focused, intense, demanding mental labor. And none of this is anything I want to admit to myself, to examen closely, because I am constantly questioning what I perceive and feel, and experience, doubting my reality, and willing myself to not be that way.

This was going to be a post about comfort, and cats, about rearranging the space on the balcony, where I paint. I was, I admit, going to say something about those pillows, the fluffy ones on the bed, where Cairo is napping. I've been self-conscious about showing them in pictures, about how fluffy and opulent-extravagant they look. Silly, of me to feel embarrassed, squeamish about them... it's because they are fancy and I am a snob about seeming to be fancy. And this, friends, is about as strange and raw a confession as I can make. But I've resolved to share that I brought home the first pillow, a natural fleece, and soft as can be, after casually touching it in a shop, and feeling utter bliss. It was expensive, and that is something else that I cringe about. In December it will be two years since the collision, and those pillows have been one of the most effective resources in my arsenal to ground myself. I cannot be in a car without a pillow, not comfortably, not without the chance of vomiting, bursting into tears, heart racing, sweating. I sleep with them, I hold them, I touch them and find my breath, stop shaking. I have learned I am not alone, that a friend, also recovering being hit in her car, had the same impulse... we talked about bringing pillows on drives, then I told her I keep two in the car, and then added them to my bed, and she thought this was brilliant. It was reassuring, a kind of relief, to talk about it with someone who gets it, and we agreed that healing and comfort comes in unexpected ways, that we would rather embrace these methods than reject them. If I could, I would give fluffy pillows to anyone in the world that needs comfort, that is recovering, or wants to feel safe... I know that it would be a lot of pillows.

I was composing all of the above in my head, and acknowledging that I am tired of nightmares, tired of unfinished collision issues, weary from being in pain, from the limits and challenges I am still trying to cope with. The recurring thoughts about how this whole event has been intrusive, consuming, life changing, tedious, damaging, hard, and long-lasting, were in my head... I was even thinking not a day, or night has gone by, when I haven't had to deal with what she did to me, and then my phone rang. The attorney is (still) helping me get more of the business of closing the case finished. She called for help with facts, details, photographs. Someone couldn't recall who I was, wasn't returning calls. If it wasn't me, if I was outside looking in, I could see it as another task, another memory jogging, more paperwork, lookng at pictures of a mangled van, twisted wheels. Someday, I hope to forget, and not feel trapped, not shake, not panic. I want to see simple tasks for what they are, do them, move on. I want to turn my head, left and right. I want to sleep through the night, or at least recgnize my surroundings when I wake up. I want to be comfortable, feel comfortable. I was only going to mention those pillows, so fluffy and good, but there's more to it than that, and I needed to talk about it... so, there it is.


gretchenjoanna said...

I must not have been reading your blog during that time... or I forgot that this happened. I'm glad you wrote about it -- that is good to know about the pillows! It sounds agonizing to have to deal with the business side of an event that far back at the same time the physical pain and suffering are hanging on.

The furry-fluffiness of your animals must be a healing aspect of their presence, too. What a gift they are.

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

You know, I am glad it's not something you've seen too much of... I have been very deliberate about not publishing every last detail, or coming to the blog every time I am dealing with it. Still, to process and release, it helps me to write some of it down. It was a head-on collision, a drunk driver left her lane in a turn. Thank God I was alone. It's been a longer, more painful journey than I would like to think is possible-necessary.
It's left me, I hope, a far more compassionate person... I feel so much empathy for all the people living with trauma, and it's not hard to realize that is a lot of people, and I think about how people cope, and wish that everyone that needs a pillow or a dog, or quiet space, or candles, or to scream, could find their release, their healing. And this is another reason I say something about the accident, about the challenges, and things that help... in hopes of helping others feel less alone, or confused, to normalize the process of recovery.
GretchenJoanna, thank you... knowing someone is listening, will engage with me about it, is comforting too.