I opened my top drawer this morning to find three pairs of ugly tread socks staring up at me. No regular socks. No underwear. No bras. Only these reminders of two hellacious weeks in a hospital bed listening to the constant presence of the beep...beep...beeping machine reminding me that my broken heart was at least beating for now.
“Why is my underwear not in here?” I thought to myself. Then, I answered my question, “Because you’re too sick to do your laundry!”
“Damn slippers!” I shouted as I slammed the dresser drawer.
Anger seems to be my constant companion these days. I can’t say that I was furious at the slipper socks. I might not have even been infuriated about the fact that I couldn’t do laundry. I hate doing laundry, after all.
No, the anger isn’t at the slippers. It’s at the slipping. It’s at the slipping away of my life as I knew it. It’s at the slipping away of my daughter’s life as she knew it. The anger is deep. It is a level five on a river of rapids that ram helmeted thrill-seekers into jagged rocks at will.
Slippers keep you from slipping, but I’m not slipping. I’m tumbling. I could put the hospital slippers on, yet I have to wonder if they will protect me from the fall of my life? When your life is tumbling and falling, what do you do? Do you slam drawers and curse at inanimate objects? I do. I find myself yelling at dishes that I can’t pick up to put away because they are too heavy. I find myself cursing the bed sheets for not putting themselves on the bed. I scream at the vacuum because it is not an iRobot Roomba on autopilot that knows the carpet needs cleaning.
Screaming at inanimate objects is uncomplicated. They never yell back at you or argue. No matter what I say to the dreaded tread socks, they just sit in the drawer silently taking my abuse. The dishes do nothing unless I throw them. The vacuum remains still. Screaming at people isn’t as trouble-free. I’ve learned the hard way that bubbling anger should never boil over onto spouses, children or anyone else that happens to be in the line of fire.
I know that anger breeds indiscriminately. If I’m not careful, there’ll be anger bunnies hopping all over this house competing with the dust bunnies that I cannot vacuum up. How does one herd rabbits? I guess I could google it. I suppose I could put on my tread socks and chase the anger, but it might strain my heart too much.
I could write about my anger, but that would give life to it. Wait a minute; I am writing about it. I am angry that my life has been taken from me. I am angry that Jennifer, my beautiful daughter is struggling to get her life back. I am angry! I am angry that I cannot pick up Jennifer’s daughter, my granddaughter and hold her like I used to.
I am even more outraged that Jennifer cannot pick up her daughter because she is paralyzed on her left side. The thought of Jennifer’s daily struggles breeds those anger bunnies in me to the point where I cannot escape their floppy-eared presence and thumping feet...thump thumping in my brain. I see them. I feel them. I cry over them.
Should I feed them? Should I feed the anger bunnies? Should I give them more and more fodder by writing about them? No.
I could give in to the anger. I could succumb to the slipping. I could put on the hospital slippers as a constant reminder of my broken heart. I could continue to yell at all the things that remind me of what used to be. I could yell at all the people who remind me of what I cannot do. I could grieve regularly, but what would that accomplish?
Yes, I’ve lost a lot, but what have I gained besides three pairs of hospital slippers? I have gained a new perspective on life. When I’m not angry, I’m grateful and even hopeful. When I’m not chasing anger bunnies, I’m chasing a bright future full of cute little donkeys that make me smile.
I have lost so much. Jennifer has lost so much. There is no escaping that fact. Dwelling on that fact could cause me to spend the rest of my days trying to herd anger bunnies. I don’t know, but I’m guessing that herding rabbits is a futile endeavor - even if you’re wearing non-slip slippers.