Posted by: alegra22 | February 21, 2012


Cricket song pulses through the night, a series of spirals infiltrating the shadows, spreading around the edges of buildings, and continuing over hills, down empty streets. My head on the dining table, I wait for the heat to settle beneath my skin. Once again, I’m haloed in fever. I’ve raged against it all day.

Zaviera turned five today. It seems appropriate for me to have spent the years since her birth stretching against this illness in my body, until today, on her fifth birthday, I felt myself break through, tumbling into confrontation: I can’t do this any more.

It was one of the commitments I made to God, when I was pregnant and bleeding in the emergency room, Zaviera’s heartbeat steady inside the frenzy of mine: I prayed for health. For hers, for mine, for freedom from this battle that has stretched and stretched since I can remember. I made a commitment to do whatever it took, and I have. It’s been an ongoing journey.

These are the memories that I can pull out easily from the files of my mind – times of illness. Rashes, fevers, falling asleep on the floor of my bedroom, all of the tests…passing out in the backseat of a car after eating at a salad bar, my words slurring after a dinner at a healthy chinese restaurant, the thick, fuzzy irritation that would crowd my mind and body after eating a dairy-free pizza at the local Bodega Bay pizza place. It seemed like food hated me.  It didn’t matter what I ate, sedation would overtake me until I couldn’t do anything but sleep and sleep and wake up feeling as though someone had peeled my nerves back, left them naked and raw.

But there were other things. The constant, reoccurring bronchitis – in cycles of every four weeks whether it was summer or winter or the seasons in between. The fear that maybe it was cancer. The well-meaning suggestions of others. “Mind over matter,” some would suggest cheerfully. “Pray,” others would say with love. Raw food, wheat-free, veganism, metabolic typing, this, that…

I prayed.

I cleansed.
I meditated.

I exercised.
I examined.
I got rid of.
I added in.

I was afraid of revealing this great weakness of mine to others. I was afraid of becoming a mother. I felt ashamed. I didn’t understand why God was keeping me alive when my body seemed so broken.

I have learned a lot along the way.

Tonight, as I wandered across the yard, the grass damp, I thought about writing this battle a love note.

The night pushed against my skin, giving me temporary relief from the constant heat that has been sitting crouched in my chest, in the center of my mind just behind my eyes.

I saw Joaquin’s tricycle toppled over. I picked it up. I sat down on it. The tires were soft, I wasn’t sure it would take my weight. I pedalled, knees out, shoulders hunched. The pond gurgled a subdued gurgle. Inside the house, the children yell-talked, arguing their points, pushing boundaries, calling out for me.

I thought, “It’s time for this to change.”

I wanted to be so much more for my daughter today but my body was weak and its weakness weighted my mind down to the bare minimum of what I could offer.

As I drove her to a cafe for breakfast, she rolled down the window and shouted at the trees, greeting them, greeting the horses, announcing to the world that she had been born five years ago, and wasn’t the world glad? After all, she inspires the world to grow! It’s just what she does. It isn’t something anyone else can do, not like she can.

She informed me of these things and I nodded, glancing in the rearview mirror, afraid that Joaquin will fall asleep out of schedule. I was afraid that without the nap I depended upon, I would lose all of the oxygen in my body – the only fuel I would be left with was jaw-clenching.

Anger is a dirty-burning energy.

Tonight I lift my head from the table and the cricket song is not distant or blurred. My mind is clear, even if my body is worn down, fighting itself.

I hate writing about this.

It bores me, embarrasses me, but it is the truth.

And here is the other truth I’m having to confront: there are things I can’t consume. They kick my body up and down the block and leave me animated only by my will and frustration and stubbornness. I can’t be prideful or hesitant or accomodating about it. I can’t be moderate. I can’t fear judgment.

Health provides a freedom that those who’ve always been healthy can’t comprehend. I’ve had to battle for mine and I’ve had to forgive myself for when I’ve grown weary or angry that I’ve had to battle.

Today, I wanted to be so much more, not just for Zaviera, but for my life.

I realize it is time to rage. A grateful rage against lost time and health. A love-rage.

Zaviera, I promise you that I will fight. I will rage with love. I will rage with responsibility, doing all that I can until the rage burns into nothing but quiet, sunlit love. I will continue until the rage sighs and becomes a whisper of the trees as they bow in your presence.

Yes, precious one, you inspire me to grow.



  1. Beautiful! I know you may not feel that though but the anger is okay to feel and you shouldn’t have to be sorry for feeling that way! I still remember you writing about Zaviera’s birth and your being in the hospital. I hope that this fatigue and fever passes over for you soon. You have a lot of responsibility pressing up against you in the midst of all of this with your health. I hope the right opportunity comes along soon to give you a break so you can find time to recover. One of my favorite lines from a movie (“Running with Scissors”) is ‘put the rage on the page sister!’ : )

  2. I feel your pain. Not literally, but I have seen your inner rage. I can only imagine how difficult it is for you to not have a ‘normal’ eating routine. How you have to prepare things specifically for you because you just can’t share food with others. SUCK.

    But, cause there is always a But. God has given you evidence that you are going to be okay. That you have the strength to get through anything. Your three beautiful children are proof of this. Through great pain and adversity will also come great reward. I know you can see this as I have seen this in my own struggles recently too.

    We are both on a journey. Our journeys have different luggage to carry that’s all. Sending you my love and blessings from a distant luke warm country. Once again your way with words is astounding my friend.

    Love you

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