|Black Limbs (M.A. Reilly, 2014)|
Twenty-five years ago this past Monday, Rob and I were married in the front room of Dave's West Rutland, Vermont home. Dave's wife, whose name I have long forgot, served as the only witness. Twenty-five years have past and today finds me thinking about all I could not know that morning in Vermont. We stood there in that modest room with the wood stove burning, snow falling beyond the front windows and made promises to remain true "for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part." A series of phrases we repeated not knowing then the many things that these words would mean.
On that same trip to Vermont we found a deserted tree-lined road full of deep snow, untouched. We put the jeep that had been stolen two weeks before and recovered 24-hours later in Newark, NJ in 4-wheel drive and drove on only to stop a bit later and test the snow that was knee deep. We had to push hard on the doors to open them and we did and then walked about, laughing and I was sure we were the only two people on the planet.
We were so young. So unable to know the future could be anything but bright white snow and us in it.
Memory is a Klein bottle, non-orientable, for what appears at first to be inside and outside breaks down when a trace is followed and lost.
We are more tangle than line; more hypotenuse than leg.
Yesterday, I called 911 as my husband could no longer walk, even with assistance. He is unable to use his right leg to do what it has done for six decades. Stand up. Rob was supposed to go for chemo, but he could not get from the house to the car. Nothing we tried, and my son and I tried everything we could, helped. Rob simply could no longer stand up--not a for a quarter of a minute. When I called the oncologist's office to say we would not be there, the nurse practitioner told me to get Rob to the emergency room immediately as she feared spinal cord compression. 12 hours and an MRI later, spinal cord compression was confirmed and Rob was transferred from the emergency room to the intensive care unit where he remains as I write this.
Inside this story there is an abundance of sadness and fear and so much uncertainty that nothing looks orientable and really nothing ever is beyond the moment. Inside this story there is hope and the large generosity of others.
Today, Rob's leg is stronger. The doctors, and again I have lost track of the number, have begun treating him with large doses of steroids and radiation and the outcome is a bit brighter than yesterday.
Nothing holds steady. Not the turn of years, not the lives we are making and forgetting.