PlazaJen: Passion Knit

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Finding The Poultice

Long-term readers know my youthful obsession with All Things Pioneer, my desire to wear a bonnet; I often drifted off to sleep, imagining myself in the back of the covered wagon, off on another adventure. I must have read a lot of period pieces right around the same time I owned every Holly Hobby doll to have such a confluence of old-timey goodness influencing my youthful psyche. Everyone should just be grateful I didn't sustain my love affair with calico.

One of the things I remember reading about, and thus wanted to have one myself, was a mustard poultice. I don't even like mustard, really, and the descriptions of having a mustard poultice applied were never glamorous - people writhed in pain - but hey. This is the same girl who wanted the mumps.

I seem to find myself doing most of my grieving for my father in the car, on the way to work. Whether it's a particular song that triggers memories, or just feeling like I have a 15-minute capsule, that has a definite closure (because as understanding as they are, I doubt my boss would get on-board with the All-Crying, All-Day-Long plan for work.) During this time, I think about how this pain feels, how I would describe it, what makes it different each time, why it only hurts sometimes yet is inexplicably, always there. What will fix it? What would ease it? And my ever-wandering mind ran right over and pulled the bonnets off the pile and held up "poultice".

This sadness, this pain, it feels like another layer was inserted into the existing layers of my epidermis. A bruised, blue-black-orange layer that pools and slides and can be as thin as paper or as thick as a brick. And a poultice is a hot mixture that is spread on the skin, opening the pores and drawing the illness out and smothering it in its own mass. To the best of my knowledge, there is no poultice for grief. I spoke with my therapist about my sadness, and told him that (a while back) a very caring person suggested I should increase my medication, talk to my doctor, if the crying and whatnot continued. I told him I felt myself resisting it, just the idea of trying to mask these emotions made me envision my heels digging in. It's not that I enjoy how I feel; I just think it would only delay me "getting through". Even though intellectually, I know, there isn't a point where you get to be rid of this pain, ever. It gets easier, it doesn't haunt or pierce or feel like a kick in the stomach; at least that's the general consensus from those who've carried their pain longer. I trust them. And I'm not debilitated by my grief - I go to work, I function, I even laugh hysterically at Bubb Rubb and his whistletip interview.

I still cry fiercely and hard when I realize how fast everything happened, when I see the fall colors my father so desperately wanted to live to see, when the sharp hard truth that he is dead cuts through the jumble and flotsam of everyday life. And when those tears fall, and I feel the huge sadness under my skin, I wish for a poultice, to pull some of it out of me, so it won't hurt quite so badly, it will make the soul-sucking pain end a little sooner. Time, time time. The universal healer. Oddly enough, the song that has made me cry every time I've heard it? Time After Time. Just the line, "If you're lost, you can look, and you will find me". Because I know, if I look hard enough, even in the recesses of my mind, he is there. Probably putting mustard on a brat, just to make fun of me. But he'd like that the word "poultice" is still in my vocabulary.
posted by PlazaJen, 10:41 PM