Thursday, January 14, 2010

Haiti and Compartmentalizing

I find it difficult to write tonight. Images of misery are still in my brain. When I clean up the kitchen a bit and make the coffee pot ready for brewing the morrow’s coffee, I usually watch the news channels. Tonight’s news was almost too much to bear. How can there be that much pain and hopelessness so close to us and yet so far away.

I am used to compartmentalizing to survive. Someone said to others the other day that I was always smiling. I didn’t say anything in reply because I did not know how to explain that I live with grief. Seeing my beloved child in constant pain is an underlying condition of my present life. Yet I cannot allow myself to realize that condition—or I could not bear it. So I box it up, tie it up tightly to try and avoid its escape, and then put it aside. Then I try to think of all those other things instead of that underlying grief. I must not allow myself to think on that grief too much or I will break. And I must not break and cause more trouble. There is enough trouble without my adding to it. Yes, I am adept at compartmentalizing. And there is much to smile about as long as the string holding in the unthinkable does not break or the box doesn’t leak.

So tonight as I sit here to blog, I try to erase the images of the wounded and the dead bodies on the street. Dead babies. I try to think of what fun things I have done today to share with you. I had my hair done. I finally met for lunch at our favorite Mexican restaurant with my friend Marilyn Schild as we have wanted to do for months now. We talked for two hours and parted as always wishing we could get together more often. I did other errands, such as getting an INR and picking up bananas, and everything went smoothly.

When I returned to Woodsong, I enjoyed the mail, surfed Facebook and Red Room a bit before supper, and then visited at the table with Gerald. Then I braced myself to watch the reports on Haiti. Now I am self-scheduled to blog. We’ll check out the local addresses for donations tomorrow. I am an expert at compartmentalizing. I must turn off those Haiti images, tie them up tightly, and not let them leak out. Yet I do not want to try and be funny or paint happy pictures of my day for you—even though it was a nice day. Somehow in my bright lighted office as I think of the dark night and pain down there, somehow the compartmentalizing seems obscene. Maybe I should pray instead.

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