A Bowl Of Oatmeal
It?s funny when you?re going through some kind of tragedy all of the things that we tell ourselves to silence that inner voice – you know the one, doubtful and pessimistic, you suppress it with one cliche after another and none of them quite console you. And I don?t want to try to be profound about the things that are swirling about me, I don?t want to tell you how precious life is or that we shouldn?t take moments for granted because certainly you already know these things.
In an instant. I?ve repeated those words so many times in the last few days. In an instant everything can, and does, change. In an instant, you regret not having said something you should have said or regret saying what you should have kept quiet. In an instant, the universe will put you in your place, kind of an unfair game of Rochambeau that you have no chance in hell of winning. In an instant, your Aunt – healthy and vibrant is anything but that.
You will be optimistic, hopeful, prayerful – all of the things you are supposed to be, all of the things she was before the words brain and surgery became part of everyday conversations. In an instant, a man in a white coat will tell your family hundreds of miles away that it?s best to induce a coma, give the brain time to rest and to alleviate the swelling.
That man in the white coat, sympathetic and kind is still so uncertain and he will come back to tell you what you already know – that we don?t know anything at all. The brain is a very delicate thing after all. And you think to yourself that you wish you didn?t know what a stupid tracheotomy was and that the man in the white coat hadn?t told your family, hundreds of miles away, that we don?t know if she?s going to wake up and even if she does, if she?ll ever be able to speak again. And speaking is a big deal in a family full of big-mouthed people who talk over top of one another and oh my God what if you never hear that voice again? Yup. In an instant – things change.
And so you come home from a day that simultaneously zipped by and dragged on and you make yourself a bowl of oatmeal. None of those fancy steel cut oats or oatmeal that requires an hour to cook. Just the box with the old white guy on it. A little piece of home when you?re not home. Like being 8 again only 8 is so far gone and you?re wishing you could get it back.