Friday, January 7, 2011

The Fight and The Table

We had not had our fight for quite a long time. And it arrived suddenly, and completely. Dinner was on the table and despite Colby having had ten seizures, the mood was light as I set out the napkins. Then we heard Colby have another seizure: it was time for Diastat.

The manifestation of our fight is about Colby: when she seizes a lot, status epileptus, we try and take care of it at home rather than taking her to the hospital. Her emergency medications, Valium in two forms, are imperfect and hard to administer. There is a lot of gray area in figuring out how much she has gotten in her body, and how much she needs. And this is where the fight comes from.

We, husband and wife, do not agree on how aggressive to be with the drugs and getting her out of the seizure cluster. I am more panicked about the seizures and willing to take on the burden of the side effects of the drugs. In my heart I feel like getting the seizures to stop is the most pressing fact. And Craig is more able to ride the moment, able to wait and see what happens next, in a way, he is able to be more present and accepting of the seizures and what their affect is on Colby.

Feeling this fight return filled me with adrenaline and fear. It had been so long, I felt like we had come so far in our ability to talk things through and eventually, however eventually, find our way, together. As soon as I felt how right I felt and how wrong I thought he was, I was plunged back through an icy cistern of difficult memories. The early days with Colby when we were going through these seizure clusters together for the first time. They were nearly constant back then, five years ago. The days and weeks and months of seizures and hospital stays bled together. And we fought. Not agreeing about how to care for a child in a chronic medical condition, I saw no way through. I did not expect us to make it.

Five years later, on the bed with Colby, emergency Valium, Diastat, in hand, dinner waiting for us on the table, the fight heaves around us and I feel as sure as I was back then about one thing: this is impossible.

And it is impossible. So, then what? How can you accept that? Coral was quiet. She had never seen this fight before, our real fight. I stood in the hallway. My petulant side wanted to slam a door and sulk. But that is not a true choice here, I thought to myself. Craig is not wrong to think what he does, and it would be strangely childish for me to behave as if there were something to apologize about and act like I wanted to be coaxed out of the bedroom like a pouting teenager.

Dinner is on the table. As I stood there in the hallway, Craig storming, me sulking, I realized it had been a year since this essay series started. And this was it, the choice, again: do I show up at the table, find my kindness and gratitude, and face the person, the people, across the circle from me? Do I show up?

I took a deep breath and walked to the table.


  1. Vene. I love your grace. This brought me to tears. Thanks for the reminder we all have it. xoxo

  2. And that's what makes your relationship so strong. Each time you choose the mature route (versus the tempting one you are dying to take which feels so much better in that instant, you strengthen the relationship. And inspire awe in your friends, but that's a separate topic.

    I once had a wiser older woman counsel me when I was pouting (because dammit I was RIGHT and why couldn't my girlfriend see that!)... she said, "You can be right, or you can be happy. But in this situation, you can't have both." I was so mad because she was so right.

  3. That is one of the things I love about you and Craig's both keep showing up no matter what. I have been so inspired by you both, and feel like I have learned a lot from you in the years that we have been friends. Thank you!!

  4. I agree with Vanessa. I feel the same way too about my ex. We had a huge fight the other night and I briefly imagined indulging myself in cutting him out of my life. But then I pulled myself together and remembered that love is always worth the effort.