Double Exposure


It’s such a delicate balance.

How much good, bad and in-between news can we expose ourselves to everyday without crumbling? How much can we process?

My mother-in-law had a stroke two days ago. News like that has a sound. It sounds like the hum of my routine coming to a screeching halt. For me, my head spins while my body remains still.  She’s doing okay and God willing will recover fully and soon.

I can’t say enough good things about this lady. I know my own mother, who’s been gone for six years, would be so happy that I have such a wonderful lady to be the mom I miss so much. They liked each other.  Both tall with big feet, my mother (Paula) and my mother-in-law (Natalie) have a confidence you don’t see very often. And no matter what was going on beneath the exterior, they rarely would show it. I’m not sure if that’s a good trait or not.

What do you do on the days that it’s all too much to process? When it all just accumulates like a pile of dirty snow until you need a time out?

Drink to dull the senses?

Eat for the pleasure of taste and comfort?

The medicine cabinet emergency Xanax prescription?

That friend who always has pot to smoke?

Retail therapy?


A walk?

A nap?

Lose yourself in someone else’s story?


Long conversations with compassionate ears and lips?

Or do you, like me, find yourself frozen in one spot? Next thing you know it’s twenty minutes later and you have no idea where the time went. You pull yourself back together from this mini vacation in a time vortex or some other Dr. Who/Star Trek kind of explanation. I unfreeze my body. I unfreeze my brain from my own cryogenics lab, mentally say goodbye to Walt Disney’s rumored head in a jar, and begin to process it all once again.

I think about how last night Miriam said these words to me…”I like to play with you Mommy. Let’s hold hands.” And how she wouldn’t let my right hand go as I continued to type with my left hand on my laptop.

How that made me cry disproportionate tears because of the news about my mother-in-law.

Because of that story I shouldn’t have clicked on that day about the young mother in Australia with cancer and the kids she’s leaving behind.

Because of remembering the days with my mother when Noah was little and what she would say now about Miriam. She’d be so proud and amused by her leadership qualities.

Disproportionate tears keep falling because somedays the hurt slightly outweighs the feelgood. And we have to cope however we cope. I write my words, rearranging my sentences and phrases until it feels right. I hit the PUBLISH button from the rocking chair and call it a day.

I don’t worry anymore about how I sound. I’m all about the brutal honesty. The vulnerability. The exposure and sometimes the blinding double exposure.



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