It’s at times like this in the middle of the night, that I wake up and quickly become torn between a peaceful beauty and a horrible reality. Her seizures have become more frequent, her disposition less predictable, Sherry’s despondency – greater, and the biggest of all fears more looming; the realization that a full eighty percent of the things I once thought important are in reality, silly and worthless.
To watch her roll into one of those incomprehensible “little seizures” is a lesson in powerlessness. Her eyes roll back into her head, her body stiffens, her hands start to tremble like an old drunk in need of stiff drink. Her voice becomes small and distant and her cries for help, more pathetic. She wants to be both held and left alone and I never know if this typical behavior of a seizure or typical of behavior of a woman. Perhaps its both, all I know is in either case its something I have no control over.
I watch the snow falling in the dark Michigan night and its depth blankets my soul with a quiet and commanding peace. I have no more control over the events of my life than I do control over the snow. Both cover me in a suffocating hold and while I’m “a” part of it all, I’m not “the” part of it all. She’s gone for the weekend but still here, still blanketing my thoughts, still holding me captive, still rendering me powerless.
I feel like the bird I once caught in the garage; it had flown up into the cupola and kept trying to fly higher to get out and after a day of watching this I knew I had to get involved. I crawled up into the top of the garage and with some effort, in a flurry of feathers and fear - trapped it against the slats of the vent. It struggled, pecked, cried and twisted its head in every direction but my gloved grip was not to be overcome. As I laid the bird on its back, I noticed it became calm. It's struggling ceased, its fear totally consumed it to the point that I assumed it thought death was near. I carried it down out of the cupola, out of the garage and into the daylight, turned it right-side up and with a toss, released it to the skies.
I'll never know what it thought as it flew away. Was it thankful? Wiser? Confused? Did the skies seem more blue that day, or the sun brighter? Perhaps Bethany is like that gloved hand that saved a bird's life once. A bizarre struggle of fear and death, a few moments of consuming peace, then daylight and release. As I fly away, I'm forced to wonder if the gloved hand that held me is somehow thankful, wiser or more confused. I wonder if for that gloved hand, is the sky now bluer as I fly off, is the sun somehow brighter?
The suffocating stillness of the snow, the suffocating stillness of her "little seizures" are somehow, in some strange way, my gloves of redemption and that little realization has turned my world on its back.