Thursday, March 17, 2011

Thursdays, Therapy, and Me

It’s past noon on Saint Patrick’s day. I was out and about this morning, and I have just realized that I’m not wearing green. There is a thin vein of chartreuse running through my scarf, but that wouldn’t nearly cut it for my Irish relatives. I should be stripped of my one-eighth Irish heritage. I haven’t even drank green beer for going on 24 years. Haven’t drank alcohol at all, for that long. Not much of an Irishman, some would argue. At least those who subscribe to stereotypes.
It’s also Therapy Thursday. This morning’s session was much like last week’s. It took me a while to get going, but I finally hit that chord variation that I keep trying to avoid, the one I need to tune into, play through, and then, when the time is right, release it...note by note. The solution to my condition is in part, to feel the feelings that I have tried for so many years to block with school, work, busyness.  
Good thing I adore my therapist. I loved my last one too, some twenty years ago. Her name was Fyfe, and the therapist of the moment, well her name is Fiona. Both good Celtic names, albeit more Scottish than Irish. I appreciate them both, for their part in leading me back towards myself. At the moment, Fiona has me feeling emotionally depleted. Not crawl into a ball devastated, more like “really don’t think I am going to be cleaning the bathroom today after all” kind of devastated. Yet I also feel vaguely mellow, in a pleasant sort of way.
This morning I recounted what it was like to sit in an oncologist’s office eleven years ago and hear a doctor tell my mother that she had three weeks to live. How it felt when the oncologist left the room, promising that he would be right back, and then never came back. How mad I was that my mother was so hurt by his abrupt abandonment. My mother had put her life and her faith into this man and his medicine for sixteen months, and he didn’t have the guts or the grace to come back into the room and wish her well. Later that day Mom lamented: “To think that he didn’t even have the decency to come in and say good luck, take care or kiss me arse or anything.” Or something to that effect. My mother could be quite Irish when she wanted to be. Today, I’ve come to understand that not everyone can handle talking to people about dying, or saying goodbye. But that day, I wanted to go back to the cancer centre and strangle the bloody oncologist.
The other memory I had today, was that later that night, my Dad went to play darts with my brother and the guys, as scheduled. He was clearly in denial, shock. It was the best thing for him to do, as irrational as that may sound to people who don't know our family. I drove my mother back to the home she loved so dearly, the one place on earth that she loved above all others. We watched Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune and Touched By An Angel. We ate Kraft Dinner and pumpkin pie. My mother always loved Kraft dinner, but rarely made it because Dad doesn’t like it, at all. At one point in the evening, I sat at my mother’s feet and laid my head upon her knee. She caressed the top of my head as I cried and said to her very quietly: "I want to go with you." I didn’t really of course. I would never want to leave my beautiful family, my lovely life. Not then, not now. I guess I just wanted her to know that if I could, I would be with her forever. Always.
Thursdays are hard. I need to revisit the story, and process the grief. But I know and I trust that healing can and will follow the pain. I believe that with all of my being. I'm just beginning to remember the story.
Well, enough of this for today. Sorry if I have caused anybody out there sadness. I am going to switch emotional gears and go grab myself some lunch. But first, I might as well go out with a good old Irish bang. This one’s for all of my green-beer drinking Irish relatives, and in memory of my Mom, and of course, with love to my brother Danny.
This version is sung by a wee lad named Declan Galbraith. Enjoy it, and I promise tomorrow I will be funny.



  1. For the love of gawd.................... almost got through the day without a tear. You said you blogged about the song!!!!!!!!!!!!! Lie by omission. Ugh.

  2. Now I have just a lil more material for my therapy appointmentS tomorrow, thanks. By the way, that rendition of Danny Boy is beautiful. Hope you had a nice lunch.

  3. Keep sharing your stories of your mother. You keep her alive in the stories you tell. Therapy is such a good thing. I did many,many years....

  4. I do know something about your story. My mother died 4 weeks after diagnosis--she was 50 and I was 18. All the doctors kept telling us to have "hope" until one sat me down and said "your mother is going to die and she's going to die soon, so you need to think about what you're going to do." I had no other family. What the doctor said surely knocked the wind out of me but he said it out loud and spoke the words I knew in my heart were true. And she did die soon, on New Year's Day, 1974.

    It is hard to talk of these things but I too am struggling with emotions I have pushed down and hidden for a long time. Keep writing and healing will come--at least I am counting on that.


  5. Hollye...thank you - I love the idea of keeping her alive with my writing, I had really only thought about it as a means of processing my grief. Marilyn - my heart goes out to you. I do feel very fortunate to have had my Mom around until I was nearly 40. I really really am finding that writing is soothing my soul. I hope find the same for yourself...

  6. Oh, and thank you Debra Ann (sister).