14 February 2017

I've had some serious health issues in my time. (As if I haven't mentioned this before.) More than one expert told me in the last six years that I am lucky to be alive, that kind of stuff.
Also, in my almost 60 yrs I have been through some gruesome pain (however and thanks to the heavens above, the almost fatal issues are mostly pain free but just carry the potential to finish me off). The pain that tormented me to date has been due to more benign causes, accidents, inflammations, that whole dental catastrophe, not forgetting childbirth (- which was actually sublime, pain incl.).

I used to feel proud of my coping skills. OK, proud is probably not the correct term, let's say I used to be confident about being able to cope. Eventually, after the jitters and the panic stations, I am not perfect. But. Always falling onto my feet in the end. Breathe in breathe out, that kind of attitude.

Fear, yes of course, I know fear. Before and after fear. I may have lived the comfortable life of a white middle class college educated happily married woman with really decent health insurance (socialist to some), but I have also flown in an airplane that was evacuated upon landing because of a bomb scare (the bomb was discovered on the plane hours later), drove downhill in a car with failing brakes (gears, gears, gears), presented my battered German passport to uniformed men with bloodshot eyes and very large machine guns, got stuck in a lift for an eternity, almost drowned in a freak surge, got showered in sharp glass when the train window I sat under was shattered by one of several massive rocks that missed my head by a fraction, ran out of a burning building, that kind of fear.

The summer before I started university I went wild. Nothing seriously bad or too illegal, mostly tasting-freedom-like-never-before wild. Part of that freedom was a brief love affair with a poet. How could I, with an A in German literature, resist a poet? (I would now, looking back, but not at the time.) 
After the first week, he sent me this poem by Bertolt Brecht, handwritten by himself on fancy paper:

To be Read Mornings and Evenings

He whom I love
Has told me
That he needs me.

That's why
I take care of myself
Watch my step and
Fear every raindrop
Lest it strike me down.

It was only a brief fling, his own poetry was somewhat unconvincing and he also quoted too much Rolling Stones lyrics.  But I always loved that Brecht poem and two years later, I actually stood in Blackwell's Bookshop in Oxford and read it out loud and in English to R, who, in his dirty mountain boots and his wild hair swirling around his head, looked quite out of place in the poetry section but grinned at me just the right way.

Anyway, my point is: I am now officially terrified, scared shitless, of all the raindrops and the way I cannot move my right leg properly and whether this rehabilitation will be a failure and too late and I could go on and on.


  1. You have been through too much. It wears a person down. What you are feeling is a natural reaction to prolonged convalescence and trauma. Breathe from your diaphragm, not your lungs. I am so very sorry this is happening to you. I am thinking of you with heartfelt love. Write, write, write.

  2. Thank you for that poem. The fear is awful. I am acquainted with it myself though I don't write about it that much. Have you ever written your memoir? I think you should. Such an interesting and dramatic life you've led, and what beautiful writer you are. I'm so sorry about the pain and the fear. We are the same age. Hugs, dear Sabine.

  3. Angella said everything I would want to. You should write your memoir. She is right. What a life you have had! And still do have.
    And what can we do except to keep walking through the rain?
    I don't know. I really don't.

  4. All of your friends here who comment on your blog write all the words I would write as well. Deep breaths and calm breathing. And a resounding yes to writing your memoir. You are still living your one and only beautiful life. Thank you for the poem. I'm going to save it. Take care there, Sabine. Thinking of you.

  5. Knowing you are in good hands with your prince on the white horse. Feeling the fears we all have, having not yet faced the deep fear you are feeling and expressing despite all. Sending love.

  6. I love the poem. How could you not be afraid? It's perfectly natural. We're all here with you. :)

  7. Fear has a lesson for us, a harsh and important one. Possibly several. Give it a big hug and a wet kiss. Make it tell you what you need to know.