Making sense

Anne Lamott, on writing ...

"We are a species that needs and wants to understand who we are. Sheep lice do not seem to share this longing, which is one reason why they write so little. But we do. We have so much we want to say and figure out.”

Saturday, February 23, 2013

A thousand deaths

Eff me. It just happened again. Two bites into a bowl of Velveeta Shells 'N Cheese, standing in my kitchen, stirring the pot of chili.
The sudden chest pain, sudden dizziness (slight but alarming), sense of impending doom, the lightning-fast indecision/decision: do I call 9-1-1 or do I sit down or do I take a baby aspirin first and then call 9-1-1 and then sit down?
Half a second,  here it is, the intense warming. The tingling, pins-and-needles in my arms and legs.
This is it. Today I die. A day before my son's 25th birthday.
I'm only 47 years old. Dying, a heart attack, here in my kitchen.
Oh. The recognition, putting all the pieces together. How this morning's nausea relates to this. How my extreme fatigue has forecast this. My negative thoughts. Yes, turns out stress can kill you. Annoyed with my marriage (why can't he fucking talk more?) and thinking of renting a loft downtown but with what? my charm and good looks, neither of which amount to much these days, and having no money, and feeling like a broke college student selling her cashmere sweater to the rich bitch down the hall just to have some green in the pocket and then here comes the guilt oh my god what is wrong with me I have a perfectly good husband he's just quiet. That's all.
Where the hell is my husband? He was in the garage. He was shoveling snow. Now he's AWOL.
Figures. I'm dying. Massive myocardial infarction and he's not here to help me, or to witness it (?).
And all of this, the physical and the psychological pain and the desperation and the guilt, all happening at the same time.
The flash of a gun, and how if I had one, this would be the moment it all ended.
Calming myself down. Internal dialogue. You're not dying, Kathleen. It feels like it, but you are not dying. Really. You will be fine. Think of something yes.
Yes. Go upstairs. Put on some makeup (you'll be more attractive in the ER), spray some perfume, love on the dog who's sitting on your bed waiting for your attention.
See? It's working. You're not dizzy anymore. The chest pain has gone. Love on Millie. Love on Millie. Love on Millie.
All of this, all of it. Three, four minutes?
An eternity when you're inside the panic and it's devouring you.

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