As a young child, I idolized my second cousin Joan. She was a nurse. I was sure I wanted to be a nurse, like her. I stuck by that dream until I was 16. Something happened during the year to make me realize I had no tolerance for seeing others in pain, or even seeing things I perceived as being painful.
Over time my sensitivity to issues requiring medical attention increased. As I had children, I could attend to their cuts and bruises as needed, if no one else was around. If some other able body were in the vicinity, I would get hot, and then dizzy, rendering me worthless in dealing with the problem. The other adult would dress the injury. With things bandaged up, I could attend to their other needs.
Fast forward, now I’m home with a husband requiring attention to a surgical wound. YIKES! I’m able to get the initial bandage off. But the gauze around the drain tube is stuck. I feel myself getting hot, and my head getting lighter. I back off and sit down.
The good news is, my being a wuss about medical things is no surprise and we both laugh about it. He references how funny he thought it was listening to the doc telling me the things I would have to do at home.
After taking a break, I get the old bandage removed. Photo the site and the pictures off to the doc. Hubby is enjoying the break from having is neck all bandaged. I’m not enjoying his freedom. The sight is unsettling for me. We work together and get the bandage back around the drainage tube.
The phone rings. Doctor’s office calling. He has to take this call. Then he asks me to make some calendar adjustments. When I’m done, he’s completed his taping up of the new bandage.
Why this happens I don’t understand! Intellectually I understand what needs to be done and why. Yet when it’s time to take action, my mind doesn’t respond the way I need it to.
I thought I gave birth to a baby girl. We were to live as a family, on the land. I thought she was mine. I soon learned this was not true. This child displayed a rebellious and defiant spirit as out of control as the ocean in a huge storm, against anything that had the scent of tradition, authority or rules. Occasionally, I would have fleeting glimpses of the daughter I thought was mine. And then they would be gone! Hers became a dance of seeing how far she could stray from the line. The collateral damage and destruction of those she either hurt or destroyed in her dance of defiance is huge. Every time I look, the circle becomes larger. It includes people both close to her and those just touched by the fringes of her life, and people whom she once charmed and has since grew tired of. Then awhile back we vacationed with her at the beach. Those few short days were a gift. Time spent together was pleasant and devoid of the stress I associated with her. I’ve come to realize there is something about the ocean that seems to calm the rage she has against life and civilization. She is back inland again, and the glimpses I saw of her at the ocean have vanished again. Is the ocean her true home and not this land the rest of us live on? Perhaps she was not a baby girl, but a baby mermaid instead.
These thoughts have been triggered by both a conversation with my local pastor when he asked me to think of a time when she was innocent before all the problems began (which brought to mind a photo of her sitting on the beach when she was about 3 or so with a white suit with red and blue polka dots) and a conversation with my husband pointing out the vacation trip we took with this child was really a gift. We spent almost a full week together and it was no stress, no drama, no difficult times, just a very pleasant time together. I’m glad I was allowed to frame this vacation into the thought of a ‘normal gift’ with this child because my life history with her does not allow me many of those memories. Somehow those two images merged into the Mermaid Girl – I think that may be her!