A cycle of extreme determination and then crash

The Father quietly reminds me that I’ve a history of doing too much and then regressing back to an ornery thirteen-year-old as I disintegrate. He’s normally about a week too late, and more polite.

I started this week without having had enough sleep, something to do with a cancelled flight, the Midget’s addictive chatter and a concert. Last weekend was a great weekend.

There’s a higher background stress permeating the air around me: I need to find somewhere to live and at work we’re down a team member. Recruitment is a slow slow business that’s wearing us down. Furthermore, I’m in the beginnings of a potential freelance opportunity that’s amazing – if I can make it work. And… I’m racing 10km at the weekend.

In comparison to some it’s a pretty small list. For me however, it’s huge.

I know I’ve got problems when my dispraxic tongue begins tripping me up. My boss stares back across the desk at me. My words tumble out, but they’re all in the wrong order as if my tongue had taken leave of my brain and decided to try a shot at improvisation. It feels like I’m simultaneously trying to rub my stomach, pat my head and sing a nursery rhyme. I’m failing.

My skin is outraged.

There’s a tightness behind my eye, and more from alarm than habit I put on my glasses. I can handle a migraine, but I’d really rather it happened in the safety of home. Friday arrives with a sense of relief. I’m knocking over glasses, breaking them as I attempt to wash up and snapping at people who don’t deserve it. I need to stop.

Of course, none of this is a real problem. Give it a few days and I’ll be fighting fit. A few early nights, maybe an hour or two of meditation, a quiet afternoon spent curled up with a book and progress on the housing issue and I’ll be re-energised.

Yet, maybe it will be a few months, hopefully longer, but I’ll soon be back here again. It’s a cycle of extreme determination and then crash. I don’t recognise I’m falling apart until it’s too late and despite my determination I can’t seem to learn.

The final days of life; the first days of life.

The Nonna died, with my pink teddy bear and the Midget’s crying mouse in her arms. Warm, peaceful, painless. Death.

I held a tiny baby in my arms. One week old, the son of a friend, lips twisting ready to smile. Warm, soft, sleepy. Life.

And my mind is twisted by this circle that I so regularly ignore, the inevitable, the potential.

If I knew how to cry, I know I’ve got a world of emotion struggling inside me, but I don’t know how. I don’t know what I feel. First shock. The phone call stating that there was nothing more that could be done, the life support the Nonna’s body depended on would be switched off. Her brain, damaged beyond repair. Her life ended. Her breathing, once the ventilator was removed, steady but raspy. The snoring, predicted and normal, sounded a familiar imitation of The Mother.

Yet, throughout, her hand in mine was warm. The night passed and the sun rose, the sleepless night exhausting. Her breathing became more laboured. Gentle nurses injected drugs, brushed her teeth, applied lip-salve, and kept her eyes the picture of peace.

The end came eventually, as it does for all of us.

And in another room, a life was only beginning.