Friday, August 22, 2014

Graham cracker

     The last few weeks have been particularly challenging for me emotionally.  The anniversary of mom's death, countless news reports of children being abducted and molested, children dying in hot cars, dying in Gaza, dying in Israel, dying in the streets of my own country.  So much death.
     I know some of my limitations.  I can't read books where bad things happen to children.  I can't go to movies or watch television where bad things happen to children, where even the hint of something bad will happen.  All these things turn me inside out emotionally.  So normally, when I'm flipping through the interwebs or listening to the radio, and I can sense what's about to come, I turn it off, walk away... refuse to subject myself to it.  I do this because I know what will happen in my head.  There will be horrible visions of my own children or the children of friends and family suffering.  It's unbearable.  It seems as though the suffering is everywhere in the last few weeks.  It's been too difficult to write or be creative when you can feel the collective sadness of the world around you, like the earth is crying out. 
     When I became a parent, my mother told me that she used to have horrible dreams of my brother, sister and I dying in unimaginable ways.  I was horrified, both for her and of the visions.  She told me that she felt it was her cross to bear to keep us safe, that each image of me dying in her head acted as some sort of talisman against the real thing.  I remember telling her that I didn't think it worked that way, but she told me I would understand one day.  I still don't agree with her interpretation of the nightmares, but I do completely understand the claustrophobic fear of anything happening to these three brilliant beings I helped create.  It doesn't ease as they get older, nor does it ease as news reports creep in with the faces of anguished parents.    
     On my way home from work tonight, struggling to get through the traffic, late as usual, I was fishing around in my purse.  Eyes forward on the road, my hand touched on a cellophane wrapper.  I pulled it out -- a chocolate covered graham cracker package that I had completely forgotten I'd put there a week ago. My happiness at that moment was almost indescribable.  So much death in the last few weeks, so much sadness, so much disappointment, and here in my hand there was one stupid moment of discovered joy in a chocolate covered graham cracker.  I opened it slowly, nibbling away at each corner, savoring every moment.  It was almost an ecstatic experience.  All over one chocolate covered graham cracker ... and for a brief moment, a very brief moment, everything wasn't so sad. 

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