Which Life?

If only I could take them with me.

When I lie in bed every weekend morning, it’s not laziness. It’s living.

My life, the real one, is impotent. It involves lots of discomfort, pain, sitting, and reading or online shopping — don’t tell my husband about that last part, although he’s mostly aware of the capacity of it.

There are interesting parts, sure. Like the moments of being dog-piled by my three beautiful daughters who love every minute of smothering me with their knees, elbows, and affections. When they leave, I secretly dash off into my bedroom, curl up into a ball and scream into the pillow.

I tried to mask the agony, the twisting and stabbing pain inside my abdomen for so long, it exhausts me just trying to feign comfort.

The time with my girls is worth it, though. I want them to remember those bits of fun, not that Mommy couldn’t go outside or couldn’t play or couldn’t…

They’ll remember that period of amusement, just like I remember them with my own mother.

Even if it is killing me, it’s worth it. It’s worth it for all of us, I think.

Although I’m the one who physically suffers, I know what it’s like to love someone so deeply, yet they’re never going to be back to the way they were when they were healthy.

It’s almost as agonizing as the actual pain.

Love them where they are, that’s what keeps playing in my head.

To love someone and not be able to help them do anything to relieve or lighten their misery. To watch them writhe and scream out and lose hope in everything as the promise of a full recovery becomes bleak.

But the dreams replenish that hope. I go on exotic vacations and have adventurous yet lovely sex with my husband in my dreams.

None of it hurts me.

I’m outside in the sun, lounging on a beach — not sure where, just a beach with white sands and rolling waves — accompanied by my love. It’s probably St. Pete Beach, where I grew up. Back when I could still go outside and only get a bad sunburn — before the sun felt like millions of needles on my flesh, before it blistered and broke and permanently scarred.

I’m in the pool playing water volleyball with my momentarily teenaged daughters. We’re laughing and playing, and it’s all neatly delivered to me in old-fashioned clips from a longer, less interesting version. One that hasn’t happened yet, but it’s possible now.

It’s possible in my head.

I’m living. I’m living well with my family.

And that’s something worth fighting for.

UPDATE: I was diagnosed with the autoimmune condition, Celiac Disease, within a few months after writing this piece. The pain in my gut was from ingesting gluten regularly (you don’t realize how much it’s in until you find out you’re severely allergic to it).

I’m Sara Eatherton-Goff, a non-fiction and fiction writer, visual artist, and entrepreneur mom-person currently writing on Medium and other publications. Check out some of my collective works on my website, and join my Creative Community for a weekly update, story share, and more.

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