An Ode to My Neighbor in my Sickness

To sick people and not sick people everywhere, and particularly to some.

If I try to run away,
it is from myself.

You ask me how I am feeling,
I wish you wouldn’t.
It is the same as yesterday
and the day before.
Although it might not be,
I suppose. It’s hard to remember pain,
it is always the worst when you are feeling it.
Which is why someday everything will be okay.

I wish, for one day, you would act like I was normal
and could climb mountains
and drink coffee
and talk about having money.

How do you just sit there
and forget that I am in pain.
Can’t you sympathize?
Can’t you ask me how I am?
To climb out of bed was like climbing Everest.

You think I don’t know what living is like
but I do.
Because much of life is dying
dying dreams
dying suns
dying teeth
decay. I know about it.
Why don’t you tell me about the rest?

I am a normal person
with normal hopes and dreams.

Frustrated.
Can’t hold more than one thought at a time.
multitask no

It is so exhausting
The normal things
I spend 15 minutes willing myself to go brush my teeth
It took this whole donut that will make me throw up later
to smile through church.
I close my door
and there are so many things to do
I want to write you and ask how your baby is growing
I want to catch up on work to pay bills
I want to read to train my mind
I want to change the world.
I lay down
and I cry
because I am not strong enough
Not my body–
my mind.
I know I could do it.
It would be hard
But I could
And so I hate myself.

Please understand that I love you
I am just thinking about my pancreas
and I am very selfish.

I don’t know what I want.
Less what you can do.
I wish you would help me figure that out.
But quit asking questions.

You pity me.
You seem to think my life would be so much better
if it wasn’t this way
But I wouldn’t be me.
If there hadn’t been all the ways before that you wish to eliminate. Would I?
How could I let go of everything?
(But sure, if you’re offering your life, I’ll take it.)

Home is not a place.
Not where the heart is.
It is where the PJs are
and the pillow that lets you cry into it without either of you trying to be the strong one.
And people who at least know not to expect too much out of you
and know that you are okay sometimes.

When you try to cheer me up,
I feel like you’re not taking this situation seriously.
When you help me wallow in self-pity
and half-gallons of ice cream,
I feel like I will never be anything but what I am
And you don’t care I am failing.

Would you tell your best friend,
after her husband has left her,
to try essential oils?
I appreciate the detective work,
I wish my doctor would try it.
But could you, for a moment,
acknowledge the grief?

I can’t imagine anyone more faithful than you
more understanding
more loving
more dogged.
I have not put up with me.
You have.

Just keep loving me please.
And tell me to buck up sometimes.
And sometimes to lay down.
Tea helps.
Hugs without squeezing sometimes.
Forgiveness all the time.

Help me to learn…
Find my west.

Sometimes when I need it
on a foggy day
put a compass back in my hands.
Don’t tell me what I must feel like
or ask how I am doing
or say everything is going to be okay
just show me where the sun sets
and remind me that the race will end

Give me Jesus.
Give me an always want for Jesus.
That never gets sick.


And from Real Poets: 

People are crazy and times are strange
I’m locked in tight, I’m out of range
I used to care, but things have changed.
-Bob Dylan

Long and Wasted Years
-Bob Dylan

Ultimately this Hymn to God, my God in my Sickness
-John Donne