when life gives you lemons, just be glad they weren't apples



My entire basket has spilled, and I have apples rolling every damn direction.  Can you see them?  It's a big mess in aisle three, and Macayla at checkout is texting her boyfriend instead of responding.    Don't come near me unless you are ready to slip all to hell on these things.  Or, better yet, do come, and pick some up on your way. 

Since I've been out of the hospital, I've struggled knowing exactly which parts of my life I'm supposed to be doing or not doing as I recover.  A wise friend told me to think of my life as a basket that has turned over.  Imagine that all of my apples have been dumped.  The basket is empty.  The apples are all of the parts and tasks of my life.  Then ask, why am I in such a hurry to refill the basket?  Why even assume every apple goes back into the basket? 








In reality, people are picking up my apples, as fast as they can.  I haven't carried my own apples in weeks.  My basket is empty, and I'm staring at it wringing my hands.  Does wringing count as being proactive?








At first, I was okay with letting everyone else carry my apples.  The first weeks out of the hospital, no one allows you to carry them, and you sure as hell don't feel like it.  In a way, that phase is easy.  But as time passes and you start to look normal, maybe shower and put on zippered pants, you notice how hard everyone else is working.


You see everyone carrying your apples but you.  And it's gracious of them, but you feel shitty about it, because people have so many of their own apples, you know?  Everyone is eager to help, but frankly, a thought tugs that maybe they need help more than you. 

But even the tired people want to help.  People who seem like this guy...is he a hundred?  Why should he be working so hard for me?  Yet there he is struggling with that bucket.






And how 'bout this lady?  She's got to be a THOUSAND (maybe older).  Sure, Honey...pick up my apples.  Why should I do anything when you're fit as a fucking fiddle.  If you weren't carrying my apples, you'd probably just be lazing about taking hits on your oxygen tank, wouldn't you?









But wait -- I have many more apples to carry.  Who ELSE can we put to work on my behalf?  These women don't look busy.  Obviously, my life is way harder than theirs.  Pick up some apples, girls.  What?  I know you're carrying a baby, but it's on your back.  Put my apples on your head and quit whining. 





And didn't you know?  It takes a village to carry Pam's apples.  Sure people have cancer, MS, incapacitating paralysis, but maybe you haven't heard; my peripheral vision is the slightest bit off.
PICK UP MY APPLES NOW.





This kid resisted carrying my apples.
I'm having him arrested.






So..
...
...
[Ahem]. 
I guess I wouldn't say I was in the best frame of mind today.

Honestly, I'm confused.  My doctor reminds me the hemorrhage in my brain was large.  Another doctor says, "Hey, your eyes seem decent-ish!  Hooray!"  The neurosurgeon says, "Try not think of yourself as a stroke victim," but the doctor who knows me personally says, "Pam, probably you shouldn't forget that just yet."

People ask if I'm stir crazy at home, and I think, "No.  I'm really not.  I can't get quiet enough."  And that seems strange too.  Sometimes I wish I had a cast on my leg, so I'd know that when it comes off, I'm ready for the next step.

And always, always there's the voice in our heads that says truthfully, but with a tinge of condemnation, "You should be thankful.  Things could have been SO MUCH WORSE."  That's the death knell for some of us.  Because, instead of sitting gratefully, we tell ourselves,"Get on the stick, Honey.  Take back those apples!"


A friend gave me this and it's above my ash heap--I mean desk--I'm not a drama queen.  Shut up, you are.




I am trying to read it and pray and discern
which apples to carry and when to pick them up again.
Maybe life will go back to normal,
or maybe it will look different in some ways.
Who even knows?
Seriously, who even knows?












5 comments:

  1. Your writing is like this beautiful mixture of poetry and funny and comforting (even if painfully) real... maybe like an apple pie? Because the apples you have to use are green and sour, but then they get mixed in with sugar and butter and all the other yummy stuff, and the end result is just so good. My little brother had a stroke when he was 2 years old... bad enough that we thought he'd never fully regain his brain functions. But after about a month he started to seem more like the same little guy again. After 3 months he was back to the precious kid we all knew before. He's now 10 and totally great, smart, capable, and wonderful. Take your time picking up those apples. It's good exercise for everybody else anyway. :)

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    1. thank you thank you, sweet cute pregnant friend. i can tell you are a good mother and sister by words you always use. please follow me around and chant all of this at back of my head everyday.

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  2. Hmmm. How to respond to make you feel loved. and understood.
    Well, i love you. even though we've never met face to face.
    and i don't understand, because my apple cart is upright.
    but i sorta get it because of your story.
    I'm sorry. i really can't imagine what your life is like right now.
    honestly, i'm a little jealous that you have so many people around you to pick up your apples. because i don't think i would have very many. i'd have a lot of applesauce.
    so, back to you. feel what your feeling without condemnation. live with the grace that people and God are pouring out on you.
    be mad.
    be sad.
    be happy.
    be whatever you feel like being.
    and video chat with me.
    because really, it is all about me.

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    1. jillian you are a great apple helper, i just have this hunch. i bet u laugh a lot while you are doing it too, dont you?

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    2. And I would make you laugh too, fo shur

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