Thursday, January 6, 2011

Iron & Wine "Release"

I should have been writing one of my one trillion papers last night to earn my six credits needed to stay "current" with my teaching career, but instead I was addicted to a song. I played it over and over and over again in the background while I watched the black cursor on my screen blink in a wavy way since tears kept threatening to spill.

I frustrate myself the way I can get so down at times, and those times are usually while Gideon is napping and Brody is at school. I say to myself, "STOP IT! He's alive. He's sleeping upstairs. Be grateful! What is wrong with you?" As you can imagine, this inner monologue does nothing for my self esteem. In fact, sometimes I think that if I would just allow myself the time to cry, I could move on more quickly and feel much better. I need to let it all out... Not to wallow and allow darkness to take over my heart, but to just release everything... mostly the worry. And, surprisingly, the worry doesn't attack too often. Believing in a higher power does that. I'm not in control, and I know it.

There's always a trigger to this worry. I am thankful that I'm a moment girl, as I have said before, since I can exist in the here and now and not really dwell on what might come. Unfortunately, the here and now sometimes forces that attention forward, towards the countless unknowns in life's future.

An acquaintance I met through one of the support groups has a son whose ALL (same diagnosis as Gideon) relapsed a year and a half after he was done with chemo, and he "earned his angel wings" as we in the childhood cancer community would say. I have never thought about, processed, or even let myself process the thought of a relapse. This is mostly because my goal and focus has been to get through this chemo in the most healthy way we can. Since we are still entrenched in chemo treatments, that has been my sole concern. I believe and will continue to believe that Gideon will not relapse. I do, but there is still that lodged boulder there...the fear. I started to choke on that fear and was about to lose it when I heard someone on the stairs.

"I can't sleep, mommy. Can we lay on the couch to rest, instead?" Ummmm... YES. Maybe it's crazy or maybe it's normal, but I have been massaging Gideon constantly. He adores it (wonder where he got that), and I picture my fingers rubbing each muscle, every square millimeter of his legs, arms, back, neck, and I just pray the entire time. I silently repeat over and over, "Please, let this blood flow clean. Please keep coursing and working and remain sharkless." Gideon's peacefully closed eyes and closed-mouth-angelic grin on the pillow adds to the serenity of these moments. He doesn't get tired of me rubbing and I could do it for hours. And we did. For two hours I rubbed him and prayed and watched his sweet face. The worry didn't ease up from earlier, but the thankfulness increased significantly and completely trumped the worry. I was going to say "overshadowed" it, but that doesn't work, more like "overlit" it.

By the time we were finished, it was almost time to pick up Brody. Gideon said, "Mommy, let me rub your back. You're a princess." Every person should have a Gideon in his/her life. He just obliterates any negative thought or emotion. Of course I let him! He is GOOD. He walked on my back until I told him we were going to be late. So Gids and I noodled our way to the car after our spa time on the couch.

We went about our day, and I didn't deal with the worry still looming within until much later in the night. Writing a paper about differentiating a class seemed impossible. I searched for the live streaming of Iron & Wine's newest album (coming out at the end of the month) just to be my background chill tunes of inspiration. That's when "HALF MOON" was played and I just stopped. The cursor was waving due to the tears, and I didn't want to experience vertigo (excuses, excuses).

Here are the lyrics, I think you'll understand why I had to stop what I was doing:
Halfway home in the hilltop trees
And all our footprints in the snow
And the evening glow leaving

Low night noise in the wintertime
I wake beside you on the floor
Counting your breathing

'Cause I can't see nothing in this half moon.
Lay me down if I should lose you.

Halfway-working on a worn-out house
And all our friends
The ragged crows
And aching bones whining.

Where are we when the twilight comes?
The dark of valley and the breeze
And the frozen leaves chiming?

'Cause I can't see nothing in this half moon.
Lay me down if I should lose you...

I do that sometimes. I go into Gideon's room and count his breaths and watch his chest rise and fall. With this virus he's got going on, I try to prop his little head higher without waking him just so he can take deeper breaths. "I can't see nothing in this half moon" to me spoke of my attitude yesterday. That darkness creeping in and threatening to block the full light of beautiful outcomes instead of the darkness of worst-case-scenario. "Where are we when the twilight comes?" Where will we be if things take a turn for the worst? That whole stanza completely encapsulates the worry I felt... The what-if, the hows, the icy fear that was gripping me. "Half-way working on a worn-out house" described the way I was zombie-ish in my approach to getting things done yesterday -- robot-like and just going through the motions due to this fear. Everything hurts worse when there are darker thoughts instead of lighter ones playing out in my mind, so I even identified with "whining bones."

Mostly, it was the moon part that got me; not being able to see the brightness when there is possible darkness to eventually contend with... But the heaviest of all was the line, "Lay me down if I should lose you..." I think that one sings for itself and I don't and can't really expand on it. That's the line that transformed the cursor into a blob of black that completely took up all of my white writing space. It's impossible to write on a page smeared in black.

I could take this song line-by-line and get all literary critic on you, but I'll leave it there. The version I listened to had more instruments and haunting vocals in the background, which added to the beauty, the sad beauty. I'm guessing that's the version that will be on the album. For now, you can listen to the song and just feel it. It served as my emotional release and I'm no longer in the half moon, but the full sun, so worries! I needed it, and I also need to keep it real on this blog.

I believe. I also believe it's okay to cry sometimes because of sadness (we all know I don't stifle the joy-streaked tears, we need to be fair to all of our emotions).


  1. You know, my dearest, it is perfectly normal and human to be sad about all this sometimes! Your daily outlook is so very positive (due to your "living in the moment" outlook on life) but it's truly okay to feel not so good about things sometimes and to have times where you simply cry. Just know that we are all with you in the good time and bad and we pray for Gideon and all of you daily.... multiple times daily.

  2. Beautiful one, Please allow yourself the tears. Also, I've got your back whenever u need me. Or I've got ur shoulder to cry on. Loving you! Mel~~~

  3. Thank you so much for "keeping it real." Thank you.

  4. While you inspire us constantly, this is more of your personal journal than anything else. We are grateful you are letting us in and sharing all sides of your journey, not just the positive side. This makes the ups so much higher and we all see God in all of it! Don't apologize for keeping it real. Don't apologize for listening to music maybe others don't care for... These are your words, your feelings. "Jesus wept" too, Amanda. There is no shame in grief. Also, know that the people who truly love you will never judge you.

  5. Thanks SO much for the No Shark shirts! I couldn't get my little Robert to take his off last weekend! He proudly wore it everywhere (except church). ;-) Its already been washed several times! You and your guys are beautiful stars and I'm so grateful to know you!

  6. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7. I agree with everyone else that you need to let those tears out when they are looming. There is no shame in crying. The devil looks for a foothold in our weakness. He knows you are praying to Jesus and he hates it:) I know you are a music person and was wondering if you have ever listened to the Gaither vocal band? There is a song called "No more night". Awesome song. Also a song called 'The anchor holds" is awesome. Thinking of you often and praying for your family!

    Erika Fiedler Docusen