On the Evening of a Bad Day

I know that no one ever promised life would be fair.

I know there is no reason that this shouldn’t have happened to me and no reason why it did.

I know that sometimes things just happen and we don’t know why.

I also know that I’m fine in myself, which is how I say that I am basically, fundamentally at peace and that a stream of quiet joy and serenity flows underneath all the hard stuff and that once I calm down I’ll be able to tap into it again.

I know all those things.

But right now? Right now I’m sad that I’m in pain and that I have advanced cancer and that my life has become so limited. (*)

I’m glad that I have friends around the world and that I can reach out to them and have contact within minutes, less. But I wish there was someone here who would put their arms around me and hold me and pray with me and stroke my hair and help me through the hard parts.

Sometimes people write very complimentary things to me in the comments of posts. That is part of the reason that I think it’s important to write about these times, too. Yes, I practice mindfulness—but not all the time. Yes, I know how to change my attitude—but sometimes I don’t have the strength to do it.

I get down, I get angry, I get lonely, I get frustrated. These feelings come and they are awful. But I also know that “feelings are not the boss of me”, as I like to say. I know that in a few hours or the next day I’ll be back to baseline.

So right now I’m going to make some hot chocolate and take a sleeping pill and set another pain pill out ready in case I need it during the night. I’m going to spend some time with my friends on Facebook—and these are real people, real friends—and then I’ll go to bed for the night.

This sonnet by Keats fits my feeling at this time. Sleep, comfort, loneliness, death.

To Sleep

O soft embalmer of the still midnight,
      Shutting, with careful fingers and benign,
Our gloom-pleas’d eyes, embower’d from the light,
      Enshaded in forgetfulness divine:
O soothest Sleep! if so it please thee, close
      In midst of this thine hymn my willing eyes,
Or wait the “Amen,” ere thy poppy throws
      Around my bed its lulling charities.
Then save me, or the passed day will shine
Upon my pillow, breeding many woes,—
      Save me from curious Conscience, that still lords
Its strength for darkness, burrowing like a mole;
      Turn the key deftly in the oiled wards,
And seal the hushed Casket of my Soul.

(*) Up to this point, the text is copied from my Facebook status.

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45 Responses

  1. Lifting you up in thought and prayer. This was beautifully poignant …

    XOXO Nicole

  2. This is one of the times when, although the internet shrinks distance to nothing, it also magnifies it, because I know I would be right there, doing whatever I could to help you. In my thoughts and prayers, always.

  3. This certainly touched me-there are virtual hugs I know going to you!!! Also one lovely power of the internet!

  4. zippyrose says:

    This is beautiful, Claire, and so are you. No matter how ugly the day is, that will always be true. It’s hard to be positive all the time – especially when you’re in pain for a long period of time. To me, feelings of loneliness and isolation can rival physical pain sometimes. But knowing that I have so many people in my corner does give me some level of comfort, even though there are times when I crave physical contact. Like you, I do get back to my “happy place” eventually, but that doesn’t mean that the present doesn’t just stink. My thoughts, prayers and love go out to you. Rest peacefully, my friend. ❤️

  5. bethgainer says:

    So heartbreaking. I wish I could give you a big hug. xoxo

  6. Maxine D says:

    Although I cannot be there in person, be assured you are in my prayers. {{{{{hugs}}}}}
    Prayers and peace

  7. Enormous ((((())))) for you, and restful, peaceful sleep. <3

  8. Melissa B says:

    Virtual hugs coming your way. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

  9. Lisa says:

    I’m really sad that you are there all alone. Know that I hold you up in prayers and if I could be there I’d put my arm around you and just let you talk. So come and talk to me any time and I will lift you in prayer and send you my hugs.

  10. This brings to mind one of my poems (less poetic than Keats to be sure):

    Sometimes when Daylight has gone
    and tiny doubts play
    in the shadows

    I feel disheveled
    my careful defenses unravel
    a sense of sadness envelops me

    Then I close the shutters to the world
    I wrap myself in softest robe
    I plump the pillows on my bed and

    quietly sink
    into the gentle comfort
    of the Night

    (Excerpted from Fine Black Lines: Reflections on Facing Cancer, Fear and Loneliness copyright 1993, 2003, by Lois Tschetter Hjelmstad)

  11. if i could, i’d hold you until you fell asleep. stroked your hair for you and just let my side flow into your side to see if that helped any. I have no words, but i think of you often dearest ((((((((knots))))))))))

  12. helensamia says:

    Sending you a huge hug xxxx

  13. The Accidental Amazon says:

    This is one of those times when I wish that I could magically beam myself to where you are. Keep writing. We care about you. Gentle hugs, dear friend. Kathi

  14. Scorchy says:

    I wish I could hold you and give you comfort. I so wish you were not alone. xoxo

  15. I am here for you, always – even though we are miles away. love, warm hugs, and the most fervent wishes for you to feel comforted are filling the universe, making their way to your sweet heart, and I hope that you will FEEL all of it residing with you to offer a peaceful rest, less pain, and fill the ache of loneliness.

    much love and light to you, dear friend,


  16. MC says:

    I can’t be noble and say I swallow the fact that life is not fair. It enrages me.

    • Knot Telling says:

      It makes me angry sometimes, too; I’m far from noble. But for me, I find that I am calmer and feel better if I can just accept it. Accepting things doesn’t mean liking them or approving of them; it just means recognizing that they are real. That is an approach that has helped me through some very, very difficult times.
      Thanks, MC.

  17. Elizabeth J. says:

    Life is not fair. So true. C S Lewis said, “the problem is not why some humble pious believing people suffer, but why some do not.” I think it is one of those things we just can’t understand. But, in the meantime, my heart is sending you a hug and be assured you are in my prayers. May you have peace and blessings. Wish I could do more.

  18. Renn says:

    Here’s to hot chocolate, sleeping pills, and a ‘morrow that’s “back to baseline.”

  19. Joining the hug huddle and wishing you were not alone. Holding you close. Your writing is beautiful.
    P xoxox

  20. Primo Melon says:

    I believe that pain and fear of death is the cross we must take up. Then HE will intervene according to his will. I love you.

  21. t says:

    Dear Knot, you’re right, life isn’t fair (as my 20 year old son has quickly come to realise since my own illness), bad things happen to good people and overall we face some pretty trashy situations then have to muddle our way through because, well, we have no choice. Though you are many miles away you have a place in the hearts of those you touch, I am but one, there are many more. Were it not for physical distance I would be offering you a warm hug and a hand to hold. In this virtual world you’re not alone xoxox

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