Yesterday afternoon a massage therapist gave me Neem oil. "Use it right after a shower. Rub it into your skin." And so I did.
Several hours later I was itchy. By 5 a.m. I was awake and back in the shower getting any trace of the oil off of my skin. By noon I was taking Benadryl as I was having a significant skin reaction to wherever the oil had touched. By 4 p.m. I was home, had taken another shower, changed the sheets on the bed, and taken another dose of Benadryl. Nothing seemed to work.
But this isn't just a story about a mishap with oil. This is a story about loss. You see it is the first time I have been sick and somewhat scared about my own health since Rob was diagnosed with lung cancer last September and since his death in early March. And though I can and do take care of myself, I haven't had to do so alone for decades. I have always had Rob. And I know that if Rob were here he would have made me tea. He might have sternly ordered me to go see our doctor. I realize now that I felt safer with him around even though I don't think I actually acknowledged that feeling prior. Perhaps that is the essence of love. It is mostly tacit.
And this story I am telling is incomplete. Well, what stories are ever complete? But after a good cry that coincided with remembering that six weeks ago at the very moment I was feeling so paralyzed, Rob died, my son appeared at the bedroom door and asked, "Why don't you go to the doctor. I can drive you."
And so after a moment of hesitation, I nodded yes and phoned. We went and our doctor prescribed a cure, along with a shot and now I am healing.
Tonight I am a bit of a mess. It was not lost to me how my son channelled his dad and how vulnerable I felt at that moment. And this too was bittersweet, though more sweet than bitter.
Each turn of the day reveals both loss and love, over and over again.