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Dancing with the Devil

7 Mar

In my varied traipses through life, I have, time and time again, found the following, figurative analogy, to be true:  When a person becomes addicted to a mind altering substance (aka: illicit drugs and some not so illicit, yet rendering the same effect), the Devil can walk away.  His job is done, the drugs take over.  The job being the mission to destroy.  But before the diabolical being has the freedom to relinquish its prey to the, master of wreckage, a dance occurs.  The Lucifer Waltz.  This is where Lucifer has the lead, but only if his partner is a willing follower.  Like any waltz, there is an objective to the act.  And through a good leader of dance (which the Devil is), the second partner will receive the intended result because of the effortless guiding of the leader.  Thus, with poise and purpose, the victim of the waltz is lead through the steps to get there.  There being addiction.  Once there, it seems to me, the Devil walks away.

Since last October the world of narcotics has entered our life.  Yes, my son is a cancer patient.  Yes, he has an unfortunate affliction of unidentifiable pain (unidentifiable meaning, the brain is registering a severity of infliction yet the body is functioning without harm–not an uncommon occurrence post a disruption to the brain as he has suffered by the removal of his brain tumor).  Yet with the introduction of pain management, into his life, the dance began.

These past four months my husband, my daughter, and myself (friends and extended family included) have been watching on the side lines while our beloved has been swept from one side of the room to the other, whirling and twirling in many directions.  All of them pointing downward.  And of course this dance came in a prettier package than one found on the street, for it has the seal of approval from the echelon of the medical community.  Fancier clothes, same waltz!

My son needs help to be sure.  Yet help has come with too high a price…fear.  Fear our beloved will not awake.  Fear our beloved will lose all hope.  Fear our beloved will be taken away and a drone of a human left in his stead.  Fear the music will end and he will not be left standing.

I have shared my concerns with my son, we all have.  Thankfully, he has been given an insane amount of strength…strength for life.  He has heard the cries of his family.  The overwhelmingly loud cries of his failing body, and has stepped off the dance floor.

Are narcotics still present in our lives?  Yes, though not to the same degree.  Yet for a while there it seemed the Devil was gaining in its efforts to no longer take issue with my son.   But it is the fool, for my son stopped the music while the dance was in progress.  And for now, the intense amount of familial stress has subsided.  We are abandoning our posts as spectators, nay judges…nay, survivors of the dance.  We are returned to other things: dreaming, working, exercising, loving, sharing.  No longer ‘white knuckling’, but living.

Previous to October, if someone asked me if I would like to pray, my answer was always a question, “Oh, did I stop?”  Meaning, I am so accustomed to being in constant communication with Father G-d that I would only stop talking to Him, in order to have a conversation with someone else.  Yet only just a few weeks ago I had to enact a practice of beginning each day with prayer.  An act which required reminders and an effort to remember.  But I ask you, “Is it any wonder my prayers were silenced for a spell?”  After all, can anyone hear their own thoughts when Cacophony is orchestra leader to the ‘Lucifer Waltz’?!

Note:  I do not claim to understand the power of addiction, nor its infliction on any one person.  I have not the education to claim any real knowledge on the subject.  It is only my experience, as a witness to the demise of life and the role drug addiction has played in the cause of destruction, of which I write in this post.  My heart is heavy for those who are no longer dancing.

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LOST; and in search of my inner Lesley Gore

12 Feb

Have you ever been lost?  Truly in a spot of unrecognized territory?  I have.  Once, while vacationing on the island of Oahu, Hawaii.  I took my husband and two children on an adventure we will never forget.  I am an avid hiker, at least the Rivka I am most familiar with, I can say, is an avid hiker.  So to an unfamiliar trail I took my family, the call of true adventure my thrill.  We began our trek to the hidden waterfall with somewhat of a visible trail to guide our way.  And though at many times we were unsure if our chosen steps were leading us in the direction we hoped to go, we were offered a smidgen of hope from a random passerby to assure us our desired destination did, in fact, exist.  So while we had a successful venture to the pool of water I had longed to see, our hike back to safety took a wrong turn.  The rain began to fall…and fall, and fall.  And with it, the trails were completely washed away.  Banana palm trees lay fallen in the mud.   Our once familiar markers were sailing down the, now flowing, creek leaving us truly lost and in a place of unrecognizable territory.  Gone were the one or two previous people who kept us on course.  Gone was solid ground, only slippery mud and a husband/father with a guitar (because every hiker totes a musical instrument, right?), a wife/mother with a bit of fear lurking inside her, an optimistic boy, and a little girl who promptly spilled the rationed trail mix as if paying homage to the ritualistic offerings from the island’s past.  In that moment, flip-flop bedecked, we the Bent family were considering how it might feel to sleep in jungle-like surroundings with no food or water left for sustenance.  Yet plenty of rain and who knows what else!  We obviously made it out, thanks to the guitar and the little boy.  No questions please.

Well, here I am again.  Lost.

Where is Rivka?  An honest to goodness question circling within my soul.  Hello…anybody home?

Oh the logistics of my whereabouts are accounted for, but the “me” I am so familiar with seems to be missing.  I am not depressed.  I know what that looks and feels like.  I am not oppressed, I have been there too.  I am simply too pooped to come out to play.  Every day for the past three weeks I have awoke in the morning and begun my search.  Or I lie awake through the night unable to properly sleep, thus getting a jump start on my quest.  I am looking for my Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows.  I am hoping for the feelings of “everything that’s wonderful is how I feel when we’re together” to return into my view again.  You know, my Lesley Gore!

Yes I have been lost before.  However, I have never before been in a predicament of unfamiliarity as result of too much pressure.  I have been blue, I have been burdened, I have been overwhelmed, and I have been tired.  But being in a place of enduring the weight of too many difficult circumstances culminating simultaneously equating to a pressurized intensity unbearable to my body, mind, and soul, is new terrain.

Unable to speak.  Unable to write.  Unable to muster up the energy for thought.  Pressurized, and thus, vaporized.

I began to formulate an ‘SOS’ type text to send out to my girlfriends who I figured could handle a cry for help.  But even that weight felt too heavy to lift; end result, delete.  Prayer.  Ah, the Heavenward thoughts which unite the human spirit with the spirit of One.  Key word in previous sentence being, “thoughts”…mine are bankrupt.  Fill in the blanks.

As I sit here in my living room writing, post a three week hiatus, my husband enters into the room to inform me our plumbing has backed up yet again.  We have a root ball blocking our sewage flow.  Tomorrow the dig will begin, at least I will know where to find me…on another path leading toward shit.  I think I’ve written about that in the past.  Sorry, the color brown seems to suit me.  And a statement like that does echo the voice of depression, I apologize.  I am merely utilizing my literary license to invoke the melodramatic.  Truly, sewage problems I can handle…I know how to squat over a bag covered bucket!

Sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows…the search continues.  “Lesley, are you out there?!”

P.s. It is a good sign that I was able to formulate a post.  Cheers to that!  Now may you please enjoy the song, and remember it’s that time of year again when the baby king hides out in a cake.  😉

Off and Running

11 Jan

Why begin the new year with mediocrity?  Well, to answer the question as plain as I can, we are not.

To kick start our meander into 2013 we had the awesome pleasure of learning our daughter’s first semester as a full time college student ended with her gaining  “A” grades in every class.  And since my mother was in town when the good news arrived (her last visit before moving full time to the south American country of Nicaragua) we decided to have an ‘out to dinner’ celebration.  Which we did, at a local Japanese-California fusion type restaurant.  We had a magnificent time until I looked across the table and over at my son, only to realize with a single hand he was (literally) squeezing a restaurant spoon with such force that the head of the spoon found itself visiting with its tail.  My son is strong to be sure, but this action was not customary even to him.

Turns out he was experiencing a significant amount of pain which led me to square up the bill in a hurry and get him home where his pain medication innocently awaited his return.  Unfortunately not even prescription narcotics could avert the intensity of his anguish.  Mind you, he has been through a lot…brain surgery, eye surgery, kidney stone passing, combat zone activity, etc.  And yet, this amount of pain was causing him to have respiratory failure to the point his hands were numb and had turned blue.  We watched him attempt to pull his hair out as he writhed on the bathroom floor awaiting the emergency crew who had just been summoned by me, via telephone.  We were at a loss, what with no bloody wound to apply compression to.  And no apparent heart attack, choking, or drowning in process.  Only an abdominal pain so severe that the five of us (Cole included) weren’t sure if this was his last hour.  HAPPY NEW YEAR! 😉

So off to the emergency room we went…for further celebration, of course!  Thankfully Cole is still with us.  He had an intestinal blockage and the ER doctor gave him the necessary shots, IV’s, and nutrients so Cole was able to return home and suffer out the rest of the process here at home.  Now the day after our celebratory fiasco, my mom had to get to the airport, my son to his doctor, and my daughter to the store for a couple international necessities (voltage converter and the like).  Those errands were accomplished and Esther was packed and ready to go.

Brian and I took Esther up to LAX airport (insisting to Cole he remain at home due to his tenuous circumstance and uncertainty of requiring a second trip to the hospital).  We left our young world traveler in the hands of the long security line with the loving words of a TSA agent as her new found guide, “Where is your boarding pass?  You need to be prepared!”  Esther, in her inexperienced manner, had clipped all of her paperwork together…annoying the agent because she had to rifle through a few pieces to encounter the boarding pass.  Brian and I left our little girl smiling anxiously, knowing the next step was unfamiliar for her, but having confidence she would learn even if from her mistakes.

LAX International

The sea of security, LAX International

LAX security line

Mom’s shaky hand manning the camera, notice the boarding pass!

So she is now in France.  She has already experienced a class at the university, the marketplace, the local cuisine, a 16th century apartment, and been introduced to various people.  She called us this morning (via Skype) because she said her brain hurt from so much French–meaning, she is truly in an immersion situation and her abilities are being utilized and stretched beyond their present capacity.  …mission accomplished!  At this moment, with her host family, she is on her way to the coast and tomorrow they will venture into Spain.  We couldn’t be more excited for her…and she is truly enjoying every moment of being there. …Touché to the movie, “Taken”…touché!

Now on another front, you might not believe this, but I am still sick!  I actually finished my regimen of antibiotics last Friday, but after our trek to the hospital and then the days which followed with quite a lot of activity, I have again landed back on my ass (buttocks, not to be confused with my imaginary mule).  What the heck?  This is one tough repiratory virus, that is all I can say.  And of course, when combating such a fierce microscopic bug, I do recommend staying far away from their known watering hole…the hospital.  But like I was going to send my son off in an ambulance with a kiss and well wishes…NOT.  So to the watering hole I went, and here I now sit as result.

The good news, 2012 shall not be outdone!  We roll into this new year like a band of wild horses who know not which way they are headed; just off and running, as is their custom.  Sweet Jesus, can you please keep the minions at bay?!  For we just might want to nibble a small crumb of mediocrity for a spell.  …I don’t know, it’s just a thought. 🙂

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