Awake

By Nicole Ferraro January 2012

I blinked my eyes open. Early morning sunlight sneaked through the blinds on my window, casting a glow on the mess on my floor. Sitting up, I saw my bedroom in complete disarray. There were ripped Hefty bags and stuffed animals spanning twenty-four years strewn across my rug. My room looked like the scene of a barnyard massacre. Looking under my covers, I discovered I was clutching a giant pastel-blue stuffed bunny I’d received as an Easter gift when I was twelve. I could only assume I had spent hours in frantic search of this toy, tearing through our storage areas until I located it. I didn’t remember doing any of that, couldn’t remember the evening at all. But I never could when I was on Ambien. Groggy and confused, I tossed my comforter to the side and started to clean up the mess.

Insomnia had been a part of who I was for most of my life. As an adolescent growing up in Whitestone, Queens, I spent countless nights in my twin bed in the attic staring up at the ceiling, or watching the time on the cable box, waiting for morning. I tried distracting my mind, [...] continue the story

Memories

By Sandy Webb October 27, 2011

Memories come in many different shapes and forms. The things that can trigger a memory are numerous…a smell, a song, a book, a movie or television show and sometimes they just happen. There are childhood memories, high school memories, college memories, early adulthood memories, memories of finding that one true love and memories of your children.

I have lots of TJ memories; we spent 16 years creating memories. No, not all are good memories. It is impossible to put two stubborn, head strong, independent people together and not expect some volatility, but we did love each other very much and I have many more good memories than bad ones.

The memories that hit me the hardest are those that come out of the blue. It is usually a day that I am merrily going along in my new life and BAM! I have a déjà vu moment. The memory coursing through my entire body…I feel it everywhere. Suddenly I can no longer think about anything else, I become almost transfixed, I retreat into my own little world. The memory seems so real, so vivid, TJ is with me…I feel as though I could reach out and touch him. [...] continue the story

Chronic disease and grief

Svend Andersen has Parkinson’s disease. Based on his personal experiences and his professional background as a Psychologist he shares his thoughts on the grief that follows having a chronic debilitating disease.

________________________________________ When someone contracts a chronic disease, it is necessary to work with grief. The sense of being healthy and having a well-functioning body is lost, along with a loss of parts of one’s identity – at least for a period – maybe a loss of work role, a loss of possibilities regarding certain activities, and partly a loss of the former role in the family.

The difficulty of acceptance, denial, anger Such losses are not easy to digest and one reacts in different ways, sometimes to the astonishment of others. In the beginning, there can be periods denying being ill. You feel sad, you cry, you want to be hugged and let go of the sorrow. You feel anger. Why me? It is unfair. Some feel anger towards the disease, some against the doctor, who does not provide the help expected. You have feelings of guilt and ask yourself questions like “Was it my own fault that I fell ill?” and “Could I have done something differently?” You are fearful of the future [...] continue the story

Father and son, doctor and grieving family member

The edges of Cameron’s lips rise undeniably toward the clear blue sky. His legs move methodically. One motionless on the scooter and the other periodically kicking to propel himself forward. He weaves in and out dodging my shadow as I jog beside him.

I struggle to keep pace. My breathing unsteady and labored. My joints aching. And my brain foggy from lack of sleep and replaying the events of the day.

***

The hospital was uncharacteristically quiet. Even for 5am. My eyes fluttered with fatigue as I willed my mind to focus after two nights of countless interruptions. I felt no joy in this early morning excursion.

The room was lit by a small lamp. A woman in her forties sat with a young child curled on her lap. A boy, Cameron’s age. My eyes adjusted to the absence of light.

The middle aged man lying on the bed looked far older then reality. He took deep irregular breaths. Each pause a question. His wife held his hand gingerly. I inhaled the seen cautiously. I couldn’t help but think of my dad. Were his last moments like this?

The woman dabbed her eyes with a tissue. She tried to move slowly to avoid waking up the [...] continue the story