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  • Writer's picturejodi

Imposition on my Heart

I recently entered a Non-Fiction Essay competition. Much different then the fictionalized Script competitions I've been entering. Although all forms of writing allow you to catch a glimpse into a person's heart & soul, non-fiction is full on truth. Like a glimpse of catching someone walking naked out of a shower, when you shouldn't. Or a driver sitting at a stop light picking his nose. I say 'his' because well, that is what I've witnessed. That in and of itself is a titch of non-fiction.

Non-fiction gives you permission to see the parts of people that they may not often show you.

I made it to FINALIST standing in said competition. Here are some bits and pieces of the words I received in my notification...

~ We send out this email to let you know that your essay is excellent.

~ All finalists essays scored high in the categories of subject, content, and technical.

~ Each essay is beautifully written and a standout in content and form...

~ Congratulations on making it to the finals!

~ You should be proud of this accomplishment and know that your story is top notch. ~ We're honored that you shared your work with us.

~ You wrote an outstanding essay that captured the hearts and minds of our judges.

~ Well done!

This is the part of the post where I tell you that I didn't win.

So, this essay will not be published or promoted.

Which as a writer makes me feel somewhat... relieved.

It's not as scary sending work to judges who are unknown.

People who don't have a name or face to associate to the words they are reading.

But having someone who may 'know' you read your work... well that's a different ball game.

And if you know me, you know I'm not really into any type of sports.

As a writer you want to share your work, but you're also afraid to at the very same time.

Part of me wants to share the essay here.

To publish it myself.

But the other part of me...

that part is utterly afraid.

So, with knots in my stomach I'm about to take a deep breath.....

and click copy & paste.


Here goes!

The Peacekeeper, The Rock and The Button

Walking down the hall to the cafe I realized that I had forgotten my book and earbuds at home. Usually, this environment is a place of comfort and familiarity but today I didn’t punch the clock. I feel slightly naked, no guided meditation nor book to escape to or hide in. I could feel a lump in my throat. My voice cracks, barely able to order my coffee without coming to tears. You know that feeling, every word you speak shifts the heavy lump of cotton in your throat. It’s as if something is physically lodged in your airway causing physical pain as you speak. And something is lodged in there but it’s not tangible because it’s grief. Every word spoken is like the crank of a Jack-in-the-Box handle but instead of a clown popping up, it’s your emotions that will burst through, you just don’t know when. And I wasn’t this emotional mess because of my forgotten items but from the sadness and fear that I felt; still feel.

As I sat down onto my chair my eyes started to leak. At first just a slight intermittent drip of an annoying tap; only one eye, but then eventually the other. I sat alone in the little hospital cafe staring out the window at a concrete wall and a bare branched tree. I caught a glimpse of the slightest hint of green, a bud at the end of a branch. It stirred up a transient flicker of hope in the pit of my stomach. This would be my view for the next few hours. It wasn’t the first time I’d been here. But for the first time, I wasn’t feeling strong. It’s so damn hard to be the strong one all the time… The Peacekeeper, The Rock, The Button. I once read that moms are like buttons, they hold things together. That phrase is burned in my brain forever. And with that, I felt a sense of guilt and shame for the grief that was burying me.

Slowly the little drips turned to silent streams that flowed down my cheeks. I could not control it, even if I had wanted to. My facade of being a rock was starting to chip away and crumble. Then I realized… this is why I had forgotten my book and my earbuds at home. So I could be here in this moment, feeling these feels. Was this subconscious forgetfulness or a guardian angel knowing what my soul needed? Or a bit of both? I thought, what could be a better way to release, cleanse and grow, then to give myself permission to feel. Give myself permission to cry. Give myself permission to grieve.

My husband’s diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis was concrete prior to that day. His multiple MRI’s evidence of proof. As were his symptoms. That day was just the gathering of more evidence to further prove what all of us already knew. I’ll never forget the surreal feeling on diagnosis day. Standing in the darkened room behind the Neurologist as he sat facing the multiple MRI scans. Witnessing his shoulders slump with heaviness as he carried the burden of truth that he was about to share. The words “innumerable lesions” still echo through my mind today.

The hardest part is not the black and white images on a screen or the other test results; it’s the little things that I see on a regular basis. Little pieces of him fading away. It’s the twenty years of nursing knowledge that fills my brain and never shuts off. It controls my logic and is an imposition on my heart. It possesses the power to scare absolutely everything out of me about our future. To the point that sometimes I'm stagnant, treading water, looking around in all directions wondering which is the safest shore to swim to. But I don’t live in those feelings, I can’t, but I do need to let them ebb & flow.

Recently there have been some pop culture news about MS. And it is horrible. And I empathize. It's sad, it’s heartbreaking. Tears stream down my face when I watch the news or read the articles because I get it. Deep down, soulfully get it. But I am somewhat perplexed by the way some appear perplexed by this disease. The way some react to hearing the letters ‘MS’ as if it’s something new. Something elite. Something they've never heard of. Something unjust. And it is that; unjust. But it is not new. Or elite. It is a disease that everyday people struggle with. Have struggled with. One that their families struggle with. One that their spouses struggle with. In this moment in the world of social media it’s ‘a thing’. An “Oh my 'so n so' has this” kind of thing. A disease that perhaps is gaining a fleeting glimpse of attention. And I hope it helps the cause, because it is not fleeting in our home. It's pulled up, locked in and has parked itself here.

My husband has MS and for lack of a better term, it sucks. It’s beyond hard. And sometimes I just wish he had more people cheering him on. That he had his moment in the sun. His star. His walk of fame. His moment to share his pain. Without judgement. Without seeming "Unmanly". If I sound bitter or tired, maybe I am a bit of both. Being a cheerleader is exhausting. Being strong is exhausting. It's beyond hard to watch someone you love, lose a little piece of themselves with each passing day. There is no one singular word to describe it.

More than once I’ve heard the words “it could be worse” and you’d be right, it could be. No doubt it will be. So those four words are like a jab. A flash of our future. Making comparisons does make our trauma, our pain and our fear any less than what it is. And if you know me, you know that when those words are spoken to me that I don't say a word, I just smile and nod because sometimes you just must be The Peacekeeper, The Rock and The Button.


Yours in Soulful exposure,



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