For a while there, I felt like I’d never feel normal again. But not long ago, I took my first shower in days. That’s always the first sign I’m coming back to life. It wasn’t quite soon enough, though. I missed out on some terribly important events. When you’re sick, you forget the profundity of the gift of health; how, without our good health, so many things are impossible. But illness can remind us of a few important things, too, like how little control we really have over many elements in our lives. I didn’t, for example, have control over the fact that even though every bit of my being ached to be at that funeral this morning so that I could offer my voice to a grieving family, when I tried to rise and meet the day, it was as if iron fingers were clasping my head and forcing me back down. I also had to let down my son, whose birthday plans to watch a movie with friends today included me. The admission that I was too sick to go through with it was a source of great disappointment to him, but for that event, there are second chances, and an upcoming Christmas break that will allow a retry.
Something good happened in the middle of this sick vacation, too. After months of waiting for a response from an editor, I received encouraging news regarding a book proposal. It wasn’t an all-out acceptance letter, but it wasn’t a rejection letter, either. It was a letter requesting more, and that is always a good sign coming from a busy editor who has hoards of manuscripts to review. So, I have my work cut out for me in the coming months, it seems, and while slightly daunted, I’m even more energized by the possibilities. So as I drifted in and out of sleep, I started thinking through what I need to do in response to her suggestion. If not for the flu, I might not have had that luxury of idle time.
So, out of the fog, a tiny sprig of new life has sprung forth. We’ll see where it takes me. In the coming days, however, I’ll first be sifting through the rubble of a house that’s been somewhat (okay…wholly) dismantled in the half-absence of a mother.
One more thing. Near my bed is a huge bulletin board filled with art projects of my children. One in particular seemed to guide me through my flu — a beautiful piece of string art fashioned this year by my daughter, child number two. I studied its colors and lines and form off and on over the past couple days. It provided a soft, colorful glimmer that has led me back to health.