Ramblin Christian Gypsy
Literary whimsy. Dedicated poetic observer.
Literary whimsy. Dedicated poetic observer.
I would never tell you that I suffer from auras. That I get them, absolutely. That they then come with a dull headache chaser, yeah, that too. But the word “suffer” seems to be fishing for sympathy when to me the aura is a celebrated thing in history. Not a pitiable sickly symptom.
An aura. “A subtle field of luminous radiation surrounding a person like a halo.” Not so much an affliction, as a gift, in my eyes. They come and they go and they suit my Joan of Arc Complex just fine so I never fret overly when they present themselves.
Until this morning when I woke wearing a hat of such blinding pain affecting the region that would be covered by a swimming cap.
When trying to smear my forehead off with my hands I had a sense memory of seeing my Dad doing this very thing with his debilitating migraines. Finding a dark room to have a lie down would come soon thereafter.
My Dad would have to go to the hospital finally after days of an unrelenting migraine. They’d shoot him up with something and he’d then sleep it off for 24 hours or more.
Only this morning did I understand the legacy I’d been gifted by my family’s headache sufferers. My Dad’s Mother, Evelyn was likewise afflicted. And then her Mother, my Great Grandma Jenny Ahlberg Shepherd, had such savage headaches that as a child walking home from school, Grandma Evelyn would say she could tell whether it was going to be a good day or a bad day based on whether her Mother’s shades were drawn or not as she approached the house. Headache sufferers are pained by the light.
Great Grandma Jenny had a hard life. She lost her 12 year old son, Everett, my Grandma’s brother, to lockjaw which he contracted from stepping on a rusty nail. Family members say Jenny was never the same after her son died, but then who really would be?
Her story ended years, upon suffering years later, when a newly married and pregnant Evelyn went to her Mother’s house on Christmas Eve to find that she had “over medicated” a monster migraine all by herself.
The “over medication” as I’m so gently putting it, was absolutely on purpose but also just as absolutely about trying to kill a dragon demon of a migraine. A doctor came to the house that holiday night and he himself was very much drunk. He slurred his diagnosis/prognosis that she would probably just sleep it off and then left to merry himself further.
Pregnant little Evelyn Shepherd Warren spent that Christmas day with her Mother’s head lying in her lap. And it was there that Jenny quietly died. Very much the way a rabbit dies by just giving up their ghost. Without agony or whimpers. Just a Once Upon A Time Soul who comes to the end of their story.
All this known, but not overly examined information, came back to me today as Scarlett worried over her own Mother who was in a heap on the kitchen floor in the grips of an unholy, migraine related nausea. I was literally holding on to the floor, taking solace from the cool comfort of the tiles waiting for Kirk to return with magic, modern, migraine medicine.
He’d wanted Scarlett to come with him as I was wholly incapable of taking care of a child, but her shouting protests were so painful to my head I told him to leave her. She was adamant that she should stay. She was after all, very worried.
Just like the dogs who kept their vigil sitting almost on my person and staring me down, willing me to get better. Their fret was more desperate than the people in my life. They knew all too well that without me they’d literally starve to death if it were left to Kirk and Scarlett.
My medicine eventually came. And my nausea left soon there after. But I kept to my counsel of my kitchen floor for another hour feeling a hand holding camaraderie with the Great Grandma Jenny that I never knew but suddenly understood.
No one can live with such acute pain without looking up Kevorkian’s number is my thinking. You feel half dead in such situations and when there are lovely ones waiting on the other side and you’re halfway there, well….which way feels like the least agonizing road home? Outstretched hands on either side flap at you and hope you pick them.
Oh but that there were some modern medicine to remedy the nightmares in her head. I felt almost guilty for how quickly I rallied. And then giddy to feel better so quickly.
Like I’d been hit by the shadow of a car that ran her clean over, for realz. She’s the one, although I titled it differently here before, she’s the one for whom this poem was written.
"Sadness if prolific.
Makes heavy use of time.
Weighted melancholy sighs,
with tears a blink behind.
Bring me your heavy hearted.
Bring them close, I’ll keep an eye.
Tethered to my very wrist
I’ll walk a step behind.
Tugging to be certain,
if nothing to be sure.
That nothing woeful happens
by way of hurtful cure.”
I will sleep tonight in the hot LA night and as I doze off I will be reminded of sleeping on the floor of Grandma Evelyn’s house. All us cousins covered in pieces of lighting bug bodies from our night’s hunt. A veritable night light of insect auras.
The sound of a rotary fan will be the last thing I hear as the sheet flips against my shoulders like a fluttering memory belonging to someone else.
I very much need to see a picture of Everett.