When you are really sick in this culture people do strange things.
Some people fawn over you and forget you were ever a person who was a thinking adult.
They say things to you that they would say to a puppy or a two year old. Your illness makes you cute.
Baby angels show up, pictures of kitties meant for children's story books. A maudlin menace of shallow meaning and magical thinking. Crystals, fairies, unicorns, Crystal fairies riding unicorns surrounded by pink happy faces. And then they bring treats you are not allowed to eat and use tea cup after tea cup they never wash.
Some people use visits as an opportunity to unload all kinds of personal detritus. Objects and thoughts. They let you know they have a boo boo or a scrape or a terrible personal dilemma. They want you to know they also have feelings. They ask you how you are and if you answer a corner of that question with honesty they say things like, "Well, well we all have problems." They too use a lot of tea cups. After they have cheered you up.
Some people use visits as an opportunity to measure your situation against their situation. In competition. They not have measured up to much in their own lifetime but they are better than you now, finally.They teach you constantly. About nutrition and spirituality. They talk about personal responsibility and karma. And they scrutinize every breath you take and every posture you make. They even correct your breathing. Like the worst nightmare of a grade 4 teacher you ever had. They do, however, usually wash the tea cups.
Some people case out the joint and start to enquire about my stuff, my art and in two cases my very husband. I say things like "Hey I'm not dead yet or he isn't finished with me yet." He says he can feel it in the air. Like sniffer dogs in heat. They usually do the dishes and prepare a full five course meal. Or offer to. And then sit you cozy and comfy in another room while they dazzle with full French service aimed at what they consider to be the next available incredible and very handsome man. But my husband is a smart and funny man. He has always seen past rouses and moves his plate beside mine. He explains where she can find a chair. One once landed in his lap. By accident. With three extra buttons undone on her fully bosomed and healthy chest. He is English. He looked at her and stood up and went to get a chair. She stood there helplessly as he gently guided her shoulders down and plunked her in the chair. She didn't do the mess of dishes that she left.
There are others. Like the prayers and the wailers and the ones that offer their own lives. The guilty ones who apologise not for being stupid but for guilt for guilt's sake. They also never do the dishes because they have offered so much more.
But the very worst of all are the people who have sworn undying love and support for you. You usually feel very close to them because they were in your inner circle and you loved them. They make heartfelt appointments all the time and cancel them. They tell you on the text that they think about you all the time but they forgot something very important like it was the Queen's birthday. Or they just forget, have a more promising date or a greener pasture. They do things like move without forwarding addresses. They don't make tea cups at all. Just huge empty spaces where they should have been. And they aren't. And they know.
And then there are your friends and old lovers who just know when to come. They bring curry and tea. They see your hair needs combing and they comb it. They climb into bed with you and bring in the world. They giggle and laugh and help you yell at the world. They comfort all around here with just plain real. They remind you of your beauty and your light. And when you grieve they fall into the hole with you but pull you out again. They get that you just can't be sane with all the shit that is pumped into you. They don't care. They come when you call them. Like you were allowed to do for them.
They understand this chicken coop. And they are what makes this easier. Because they bring their own dishes and take them away.
So thank you so much. You know who you are. I know who you are.