Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Even Angels Can Get Tired

Easter, 1952
Originally uploaded by Seeking Tao
She sways like a branch in the wind, her beautiful
eyes closed, and the tall thin bassist leans over
to glance at his watch because she has been dancing
forever, and now it is very late, even for musicians.
Billy Collins

Monday it took a long eight hours to get my mom checked out with all the pre-op interviews and tests for surgery this Friday. At one point I sat going over a form with her: did she want to temporarily rescind the “Do Not Resuscitate” order currently in her Living Will.
She did not.

I tried to explain that this meant that if during surgery or in the recovery room her heart stopped, they could so something.
She replied, “Maybe I should take it as a sign.”
In my head I heard myself almost shouting, “Mom, you got to try. You got to try for me!”
But, as I looked at her I saw how hard she has been trying for months. Her body shakes with the effort life requires and she is tired to the bone.
No words came out my mouth.
I lowered my eyes as they started to tear and became loss in a tangle of ambiguity: love, my needs, her life, until I heard her say quietly, “I’m sorry.”

Tuesday I awoke feeling trashed. Movingly slowly through the morning routine I wished I could just burst and let some of the emotions out. But, something was all sealed over and safely battened down.

Then at breakfast I read a poem, “Questions About Angels.” The last stanza blew me open and for that I shall ever be most grateful. At the time, I didn’t understand why or what had registered.
Now, I see it s about the gentleness of acceptance and that everyone, even angels get worn out.

At least, that’ show I interpret it. I hope you enjoy it all on your own.

From Billy Collin’s Sailing Alone Around the Room:

Questions About Angels

Of all the questions you might want to ask
about angels, the only one you ever hear
is how many can dance on the head of a pin.

No curiosity about how they pass the eternal time
besides circling the Throne chanting in Latin
or delivering a crust of bread to a hermit on earth
or guiding a boy and girl across a rickety wooden bridge.

Do they fly through God's body and come out singing?
Do they swing like children from the hinges
of the spirit world saying their names backwards and forwards?
Do they sit alone in little gardens changing colors?

What about their sleeping habits, the fabric of their robes,
their diet of unfiltered divine light?
What goes on inside their luminous heads? Is there a wall
these tall presences can look over and see hell?

If an angel fell off a cloud, would he leave a hole
in a river and would the hole float along endlessly
filled with the silent letters of every angelic word?

If an angel delivered the mail, would he arrive
in a blinding rush of wings or would he just assume
the appearance of the regular mailman and
whistle up the driveway reading the postcards?

No, the medieval theologians control the court.
The only question you ever hear is about
the little dance floor on the head of a pin
where halos are meant to converge and drift invisibly.

It is designed to make us think in millions,
billions, to make us run out of numbers and collapse
into infinity, but perhaps the answer is simply one:
one female angel dancing alone in her stocking feet,
a small jazz combo working in the background.

She sways like a branch in the wind, her beautiful
eyes closed, and the tall thin bassist leans over
to glance at his watch because she has been dancing
forever, and now it is very late, even for musicians.


Eve Bralley said...

I love you Patty. As hard as this is for me to think about losing a grandmother, I can't even comprehend how it must feel when it is your mother. Grandma has a great strength, we've seen it for years, and especially in these past weeks. She'll make it through this and we'll get to see that spark again.

I am glad your flood gates were openend. You are I are so similar in that way. Energy needs to move through us, not stay bottled up.

I know I don't have to thank you for doing what you are doing with grandma, but I do. You are there for her for your own reasons, but I appreciate it immensley.

Love you.

Pat Bralley said...

Thanks, Evie.
Isn't life something!

sijagur said...

thanks.. its awesome

Pat Bralley said...

Thank you! ... and Mom is doing well.