Thursday, December 6, 2018

Back to the floor...that I love...Sophie Chronicles Part 2

The first time I returned to Phoenix on November 11th, Christine, my long term helper had spruced up my condo.  Nothing dramatic just a little six year face lift.  Most were little surprises except the two new chandeliers.  One for my dining room and one for my closet.  It was such a treat to return to these fresh updates.  She had purchased new rugs for my bedroom, and I actually had matching pillowcases for my duvet; "matching" really isn't normally my thing.  She got new bath mats and some new towels.  The chaise on the back porch that was past its prime was gone with a fresh replacement.  However, the most exciting thing she did was fancy up my closet.  I love my closet in Phoenix; even though it wasn't anything besides a basic walk in closet with a mini refrigerator and an ugly light fixture.  Christine's husband had put together (the a bit over the top for the space chandelier) so that wasn't a surprise except perhaps the scale of it...but what was a surprise were the lucite tables one that held the printer the other a mirrored jewelry box.  A mirror now hung above that table.  But the icing on the cake was the blue velvet tufted stool.  I was in love.  Much deeper in love than before.  I had an odd serenity in this closet and not often but every now and then when I was here alone and not doing well I would sit on the floor.  I just found it very comforting - quiet and Phoenix is so bright it was nice to be in a room without windows it felt safe.

The first week after Sophie passed I got into a routine to clean out one drawer or cabinet.  A really difficult aspect of this illness is the inability to be in motion; when all you want to be is moving.  So this was a fulfilling compromise that kept my mind and body moving without much effort.  So in the evenings when it was quiet I would find a cabinet, sit on the floor and sift through items. 

One afternoon Heather who helps me in WI was over and I felt good enough to do something but not good enough to get in the car and go somewhere and I said well we could do a few drawers.  The two of us sat on my living room floor and began going through a drawer in the cabinet under the tv.  A few minutes into random cords and tv manuals Heather looked at me and said, "I don't think I've sat on the floor since a child - this is oddly calming."  I smiled and said it is isn't it.  I started to talk/sing "back to the floor, that I the gypsy that I was.."

I tried not to cry, as I told her that was the song that I had playing when Sophie passed.  Most of the day was silent or I had Betty Who's I Love You Always Forever on repeat for awhile.  Then I switched to Gypsy.  Then I had turned everything off but put a Fleetwood Mac concert on the tv in the background often on mute.  When Dr. Yehle arrived it had been quiet and I panicked a bit realizing I wanted to hear Gypsy.  Sophie was nestled on my lap and I was trying to get it on my phone, but as luck would have it Amazon music doesn't have Gypsy unless you have the upgrade...if you were wondering.  And I was concerned that if it was on Youtube on my phone what song would come next.  If you are also wondering, no my phone doesn't have my music because my computer and phone won't "talk to each other", thanks Apple.  So this technology frustration was amping up my anxiety.  These are the things I focused on when I didn't want to focus on what was right in front of me; or perhaps the exact opposite I wanted all of my attention on what was happening but I wanted it a certain way.  So I asked my mom to come back into my room and grab my computer where my sweaty fingers wouldn't move the mouse very well.  At one point I looked at Dr. Yehle and said oh you are waiting for me and he softly said, "there is no hurry" in that calm tender voice when you feel so cared for that it breaks your heart.

I finally found it, "who faces freedom with a little bit of fear.  I have no fear I have only love." There were never truer words... I had only love.  I was trying to be back to my own "velvet underground, to a room with some lace and paper flowers..." I was transported back to my corner apartment with the slanted floor, the walk in closet in the living room, the two doors to enter and the lamp covered with a scarf.   The last place I had lived in Milwaukee prior to moving to Phoenix - when the entire world felt like it was wide open to this odd little Gypsy.  But right now "it all came down to you." And much of the last twenty years passed in front of me before I ever met this sweet little soul to this moment when I couldn't imagine my life without her.  How was I to know  the storm that was brewing in front of me fifteen years ago and that she would be my north?  "She is dancing away from me now.  She was a wish. She was just a wish."  She was my wish I never knew I had made.

My Wish Granted

Sunday evening, November 18th,  the night before we left back from Phoenix to Milwaukee I had had my first drink in a really really long time.  I had one tablespoon of gin with tonic.  I felt really blessed I didn't have any negative reaction to the drink that was a tonic for my frayed nerves.  So that night I fell asleep pretty hard to wake up sometime around three in the morning and I could feel Sophie wasn't in the bed.  I groggily got up and quietly called her name. I turned to look in the bathroom and then turned the opposite direction and there she was sitting on the floor that I love under that blue velvet stool.  I bent down and slowly scooped her into my arms which she curled into and carried her back to bed - and I knew.  Sophie never went into that closet.  She no longer jumped down off my bed.  These were clear signs.  I got back into bed and cradled her in my arms while she slept and I cried.  The next day Sophie and I would be joining my parents back to Wisconsin, home, I just hadn't known it then.

I'm back again in Phoenix, have been since Sunday.  My mom left this morning and despite having people in the house with me today I felt a little lost.  Sophie was my noise even in silence.  So while my helpers were busy downstairs I went into my closet and instead of sitting on the floor I just sat on the little blue velvet stool; grateful a few weeks ago she came here to seek solace.  Now I sit here as the one that remains.  Motionless, a bit numb, staring back at the floor that I love.

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