These wise words came as the Quote of the Day from The Daily Inspiration the other day: “In the depths of Winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.” Albert Camus
Along with the quote came this short treatise on the meaning: “French Algerian writer Albert Camus grappled with many philosophical questions, including the meaning of life and how to weather its difficulties. In novels, plays, and essays, the (1957) Nobel Prize winner explored the depths, heights, and wonders of our existence. This quote was penned in a series of essays published in 1968, in which Camus urged humankind to persevere through adversity. In this volume, he wrote about recovering from World War II: “We must mend what has been torn apart” and “give happiness a meaning once more.” While Camus’ words on resilience were inspired by the specific struggles of his era, his hopefulness and belief that light outlives the dark is timeless.”
There are times in our lives when it is most difficult to see that light. Darkness is all around us, weighing us down like we’re walking in a heavy fog that effectively blocks any attempt by the light to penetrate.
That’s where I am today.
As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, the trigeminal neuralgia I have, which is atypical TN, has really worn me down, especially since a gamma-knife surgery I had the end of May that was possibly going to bring relief, failed to do so. I knew going in that there was no guarantee, but I hoped. I wanted desperately to see that light. And I certainly didn’t expect it to exasperate the pain.
Then, two weeks ago I had a skin cancer cut off my nose. No biggie under normal circumstances, even though the surgeon had to dig deep to get it all, but he was successful. The difficult part for me since then is that the lesion was on a trigger point for the TN pain that affects the entire right side of my face and head. Since that surgery, the pain around my eye and forehead; temple, cheek, and jaw has increased again. Not that it ever eased much since the end of May, but even a little bit of improvement is welcomed. Now, the only thing keeping me going are heavy-duty pain meds, which I hate having to take for all the side-effects they cause.
Pile some pretty intense grief issues on top of that, and, well, you can see how the struggle intensifies.
My brother-in-law, John, passed away this past week. I knew the end was coming. John had been in hospice for several weeks, and I’d talked to my brother, Michael, a few times in those weeks. Just a couple of days before John died, Michael had told me how close it was getting to the end.
Still, we are never ready. Never really prepared.
I’m so incredibly sad at the loss of this gentle soul. Not that he was a perfect soul. None of us are. But the goodness in him always managed to shine through his imperfections.
And I’m so incredibly angry at the trigeminal neuralgia that keeps me here, 1200 miles away from my brother and his family. And the rest of my siblings who will all gather in a few days to say goodbye to John.
Michael knows. He understands the risk it would be for me to fly again and have the horrible reaction I had when I flew to North Carolina for my granddaughter’s wedding. The intense pain I had from my ear not being able to handle the pressure changes in take off and landing kept me from participating in all the wedding celebrations. I just barely made it through the short ceremony.
I was pretty angry then, too.
Michael and I talked about that experience and the possibility of me coming to Michigan now, and he said it would be foolish to even try to fly. What good would it be for any of us for me to end up in so much pain I couldn’t be part of the memorial? He was right. The logic made sense. And my head so totally agreed, but my heart is still saying, “Go. Go. Go.”
All my life I have always listened to my heart, but I know I can’t this time.
Pardon me while I go cuss a little. Or a lot.
2 thoughts on “Darkness and Light”
Maryann, thank you for this post and your reminder of Camus’s wise words. My sympathy to you and your family for the loss of your brother-in-law. You continue to inspire me as you deal with chronic and intense pain and still persevere with the creative life. I’m wishing you well!
Thanks for your kind words about the post, as well as your condolence.
I’ve decided since I can’t beat this pain, and it will probably plague me for the rest of my life, I have to find ways to be productive or I will spiral into despair. And, even though I’ve never thought of myself as inspirational, I am glad if I can give hope and encouragement to others who are also struggling.