Diverted by a Storm

Friday, October 28, 2011

7:15. I just want to squeeze in a couple of thoughts this morning before I head out to meet Tamela for our treadmill walk…

Dave’s had a few difficult days. After all the excitement and activities of the fundraiser and release of the TV segment we’ve had to get some extra rest and regroup (and I mean we!).

What? I didn’t mention the TV segment? I am in a time warp here. The fog – from SCDS or caregiving or both – thickens. (The plot thickens/ the thot plickens as we say.)

It opens with a startling statements that shot like an arrow though my heart (and other family members), “Within a matter of weeks, Dave Hitchens will die.”

I can’t write about this at this moment. Too many noises of thinking running through my head. I am anxious. Anxious to knock off the to-do list, anxious to have new beginnings, anxious that life is going to get tougher, not easier for some time to come. It’s like watching the spring sky in Texas from my childhood. We’d see the daylight turn dark with clouds puffing up – gray, angry clouds. They’d come in like a wall. The air would smell musty and the birds would rush around, chirping their warnings.

I remember one time how the great outdoors become silent, completely and utterly silent, the air pressure dropping in seconds. North Texas tornado season. Where was the funnel we wondered? Dad and I searched the sky. Mom pierced the silence as she yelled for us to come inside. Suddenly, the atmospheric pressure lifted just as quickly as it had fallen. The birds chirped again, more quietly. I’ve no doubt that was seconds before a tornado might form. I remember this scene in black and white like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz.

I always felt safe because Dad was the storm watcher and protector.

Dad was my protector.

(This brings me a burst of tears (flash flood). God, Leah, I ache deep inside right now with the pain that you, as  your father’s daughter, are trying to avoid. I’m so sorry. I can’t do anything about this.)

My life is like this approaching tornado. The pressure builds and relents. One of these times it won’t be just a gulley washer behind the wall of clouds but something more. I don’t know what for now. But it can’t be pretty. All I can hope is that a rainbow will follow someday.


At moments like these (“You are having a real,” he said.) I can still go to Dave and explain my tears. He still comforts me. He always knows what to say. He remembers that his own dad wasn’t much of a protector. He had to comfort his grandmother during the heavy storms of Tulsa. She’d call the young boy to come stay safe under the covers. He knew that he was comforting her, not the other way around.

“Women need to be strong for others, more than for themselves. Men are the protectors,” I observe.

He comments that he has felt “on his own” most of his life. As a child, as a father.

Yeah. “On my own” is the place I feel like I’m heading.


1 reply
  1. Ellane Chandler
    Ellane Chandler says:

    I just saw the TV segment for the first time.

    Right now Joan, all I can say is I love both you and Dave.

    I think about the afterlife a lot. A few years ago I said good-bye to another teacher at Evergreen, one who had become a dear friend. I don’t know if you or Dave knew Doranne Crable. Her departure from this world, along with my entering my fifties, made mortality more than an abstract. In my efforts to get my mind around the fact that there is an end, I imagine that end as a kind of door or gateway. Imagining the end as something like sudden silence and darkness and nothingness is horrifying. I so much prefer and hope that it means you get to see your family (including the four-legged ones) and friends again, somehow. I even hope that I get to see ancestors I didn’t get to meet in this lifetime. My wish for you, and Dave, and myself, and everyone, is that we will meet again. I do not regard this as corny or silly or sentimental. I don’t know what your beliefs are along these lines, but I wanted to share these thoughts all the same.

    I love Asheville, but I wish I was in Olympia these days so I could see you both.

    Please say hello to Dave for me. And again, remember that I so appreciate your keeping this blog and being the beautiful person that you are.

    Ellane Chandler
    Asheville, North Carolina


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