‘L’ala, how the life goes on

The first chance I got to hold my baby after her PICU stay.

I was sharing a vastly abbreviated version of my daughter’s emergency heart surgery in 2001 to some people a few days ago, as part of the explanation for why she has to have open heart surgery this summer. Often, when I recount some of the crazy horrors in my life, I find myself a bit out of my body, looking in on the scene and saying, “you are too calm. These people are about to dissolve into tears with this story and you just keep talking. Cut it off, Blankenship. Skip the details.”

It happened this time, as well, and later, I was thinking of how this is exactly what I mean when I talk about how we write our own stories — or at least part of what I mean. As I spoke, I edited the story to only the main points, leaving out much of the emotional part. The emotional parts that can be spoken or even written have little impact on me any more. The parts that are so impossible to express — the way I sometimes accidentally relive the pain of it all — those are the parts that are my undoing and, frankly, the parts I don’t think most people could handle hearing.

While I will often pour my heart out on this blog or in other writing pieces and I do strive to be authentic when doing personal writing, it is much harder work for me to do this in person. When you can see how people are reacting and see your pain reflected in their faces, it sinks in further (as if I didn’t already know) what a terrible thing “it” is (whatever it that may be). I want my past to stay in the past. It’s not that I mind sharing about it and I do feel I have done (and continue to do) a lot of hard work to deal with it myself, but I do mind the reliving it. I went through it once. Let’s keep it that way.

So, when I realized I was bordering on traumatizing these people, I waved my hand and said, “we are here! She is fine … great, actually! About to be 11.”

At those moments — and I have a fair number of them — I always hear the Beatles refrain in my head, “Lala, how the life goes on.”

That’s the point, isn’t it, of telling the stories? We tell our stories simply because we are here to tell them. We made it. Life threw every damn, stupid, awful thing it could find at us and we made it. We tripped, we kicked, we clawed our way. We collapsed and took a rest, we stumbled and someone dragged us along. We got hurt and we got better. We are worse for the wear, but, dammit, we are still here.

Happy ever after in the market place.

Author: rosie

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