Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Broken but Unbowed

Humpty Dumpty Sat on a Wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
Couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

But really, would you ask a horse to fix something you broke? Does that seem reasonable in any set of circumstances? I mean, they don’t even have fingers, just hooves.

Pondering broken things today.

I don’t like broken things. Who does? Well, with the exception of piñatas. Those are more fun broken…although an argument could be made that piñatas are even nicer when they are intact, all colorful and papery and full of the promise of delights. Sometimes when you break one you realize that there’s only a bargain candy mix inside, full of generic brand hard candy and stale tootsie rolls. Ew.

This week we’ve faced a few broken things here, some big, some small, and I’m left wondering how one fixes the unfixable—or really, how do you make peace with the unfixable?

This isn’t really a rhetorical question.

In taking down our Christmas tree, one of my favorite ornaments got broken, the only real ornament disaster we had this year, aside from the $1 craft store sculpey Santa that the dog ate…and the Rutgers R I had made for my spouse one year (also eaten by the dog) . The ornament that broke was a Chilean nativity, a tiny clay ornament that crashed down when one of my children barreled past the tree while we were un-Christmasafying things.

yeah, no roof for His head is right. Meh.
Of course I peacefully said, “that is ok, child, do not worry about breaking one of mommy’s very special nativity collection ornaments”. Of course that is what I said.

Excuse me one moment while I find a fire extinguisher to put out my flaming trousers. Ahem.

I know I can probably super glue it. Maybe. I will try, but it makes me so sad to see the little pieces all over. Definitely NOT calling a king’s horse for this one.

Over the last few weeks and months I have also realized (again) that trust, once broken, is nearly impossible to repair, especially if the breaker of trust doesn’t seem to give a flying wahoozie about making amends. This weighs quite heavily on me these days, because in some cases this realization carries a weight of personal responsibility on its broken back. I can’t quite figure out how to make peace with this—as much as I am a snarky cynic, I do trust people, or I want to, and then smackaroni and cheese ends up all over my trusting expectations. Sigh.

And when I have a responsibility for the way someone knows how to act, it is heartbreaking when trust is broken and broken and broken again and again. How do you even begin to make peace with what you cannot fix?

And finally, in our scary horror film parallel universe, the Desperate Valley of Onco-land, we learned again this week that brain tumors cause damage. NEWSFLASH! Ok, to clarify, when tumors grow catastrophically after years of stability, they can still find new parts of the brain to hurt. Still…NEWSFLASH?

When you are in crisis mode, ie Stop the Tumors From Growing! mode, other issues kind of fade to the background. It is only in the relative quiet of stability-in-progress that these issues have room to hiss at us.

Many parts of the brain, once broken, can’t be fixed.

This is a sobering reality, one that sinks in during the hours AFTER the initial meetings full of reports and bell curves and diagrams and percentiles and doctors soberly saying things like "this can't really be compensated for", meetings that follow other meetings where the delicate balance of brain chemistry is always at the forefront of discussion.

The report is intimidating even before it comes out of the envelope. Double meh.
There are strategies, and techniques, and certain things that can help address the broken parts, but some things just can’t be compensated for--as per sober doctor in super cool tweed suit.

That thud you heard was me getting smacked upside the head by reality.

So yes, this is unfixable—but countering that reality in a cloud of neon animal print and an obsession with American Idol is the reality of a kid who is, without a doubt, “one tough cookie”. She isn’t defined by statistics or percentiles or reports or even by my fears. She is the fix to  her own unfixable, in a lot of ways.

The obstacles are real. The struggles ahead, no joke. But I have to try and draw some hope from the reality that my kid IS a tough cookie. She doesn’t need kings and their horses or men to get her through—what she NEEDS, I can try to give her (or advocate--er, nag, demand-- for other people to give her)—love, support, and some extra heavy duty reinforced wings for flying.

I may not be able to keep her from falling and falling as she tries to stay on the wall with her peers…but I can keep helping her back up, I can make the wall sturdier and wider. So much of what she faces is unfixable, and I have to make peace with that (again. Yes, again.) But unlike broken trust, or even a broken ornament, the unfixable here just leads to another path. We just have to figure out what that path is, what the best way is, and then try to ease on down the road with a song and some super glue.

Who knows, maybe once the king’s horses and men realized they couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty back together they just made a giant omelet or something. There is always a solution, even if it’s not the one anybody anticipated. I have to find hope in this.

Although now I’m a little bit craving an omelet…

1 comment:

  1. Incredibly honest and transparent -- I have never know you to be otherwise. This is so poignant and sobering that, at minimum, it brings the lump to the throat. Only in Eternity are ALL things fixable, and we are only at the edge of Eternity. What depth and wisdom, K.! This one is certainly a keeper.