A Fantasy of Healing

Earlier this morning, I was contemplating health. I was contemplating healing.

When my mother had a brain tumor, someone who spent more time in college than she did suggested she fantasize about some sort of healing scenario. This manifested, so she told me, as teddy bears slowly mining away at the cancerous tissues. It probably didn't do anything medically, but it brought her comfort.

I wonder about my mother sometimes.

Once she told me a heart monitor she was hooked up to stopped beeping and started saying, to her, "help me, help me, help me, help me, help me." Hearing her tell me about this was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life. I was sternly warned about lying and flights of fancy as a child, mostly by my mother, so to hear her recount something like this, it was the burning hot truth of the thing.

Mom was quite religious, she was certain of the power of the man called Christ. As sure as putting your foot on the gas would make the car go faster, Jesus was a force to her. If memory serves, she inspired other people to be more religious.

Religion caused a rift between us-myself and my mother- early on.

Certain things I found preposterous. Other things I found downright unfair. Somethings were plain violations.

But it all brought her comfort. Jesus. Scripture. The teddy bears. These distant, strange ideas some how made her happy, and helped her through pain. To be fair, there was a lot of pain. Who knows what you'll start believing if you're in enough pain. Not like, torture pain, but pain like wind blowing, pain like birds singing. Always there, sometimes more and sometimes less, but always there.

I've been trying to understand it lately, as I've been waking up injured every morning since two Tuesdays ago. It's odd. I tried to imagine my bones knitting on their own, like the character Wolverine in the X-men movies. Some loud sound effects, some popping, and good as new.

I felt no better.

I tried to picture to the teddy bears, and felt stupid.

Earlier this morning, I found something that brought me a great deal of hope. Not religion or scripture, but something vaguely like the teddy bears.

The break is nearly complete in my right carpal. It looks like a piece of bamboo snapped almost completely off. From there, I imagined spiders lived inside the marrow. Tiny, pure white spiders crawl from the places where marrow is made, and start flinging their spinnerets to and fro between the broken bones, inching them together gradually.

I have no rational reason for this kind of thinking, except that it brings me comfort.


spleen said...

This is extremely moving. I found myself struck by your description of pain like wind howling. I think about this kind of thing often. I didn't experience it as you have but I have known a lot of people facing sickness and death and pain and their experiences are woven into me, I can't just pretend suffering happens to others. When it happens to someone else, it happens to me too.

I tried to be religious when I was younger. I tried to believe, but there was nothing there. But sometimes it brings me comfort to imagine a healing light inside my veins instead of blood, or hands wrapped around my heart holding it gently when it feels raw.

What matters is what brings you comfort. Maybe our constructs actually do help physically - maybe less cortisol & other stress hormones are released - who knows. Maybe your mom's thoughts helped her feel less pain and more hope than she would have had otherwise. That is why, even though I don't believe in standardized religion, I feel everyone has a right to whatever tools they need at their disposal for comfort. White spiders indeed.

Nguyet said...

I agree with Spleen.

I was one of those weakling child who was so sick that the witch doctor gave me a different name to confuse evil spirits (medical treatments in war-torn countries were hard to come by), hoping that they'd leave me alone. Pain was a big part of my childhood memories. Being raised Buddhist, I was encouraged to meditate. When I meditate, concentrating on breathing, I used to imagine sitting on the edge of a window on a really really tall building, looking down, looking around, seeing stars...I suppose imagining flying was like your white spiders (this is before I learned about science and the human body). It gave me some comfort to accept that there is nothing out there but stars and molecules and blood and love.

Have always enjoyed your writing and stories. Miss talking to you too! Let's get together after we come back from Italy.

Hope those white spiders continue to give you comfort. Love to you!

Anonymous said...

Actions speak louder than words. ........................................