Under a Cloud

Concern [con-sir-n} (2)(a) matter of interest or importance to one

When It's Time

When my second daughter was born I went into the hospital at midnight. Her official birth time was 1:00 a.m. My doctor, a sweetheart, ended up delivering her in his street clothes. I remember the nurse exclaiming "it's a girl!" and my doctor (the sweetheart) told the nurse, "This Mrs., she specializes in girls."

I telephoned my home after my daughter was born and got a wrong number. I remember telling a "complete stranger" how happy I was (!) and being not the least bit embarrassed when I understood I had the wrong number. Everything was right. Nothing was wrong.


After it all I slept.

The next day I got up, bundled my new daughter in her pink blanket and went home.

Everyone remembers firsts. Your first kiss. Your first job. Your first love! Firsts. First heartbreak, first day, first injustice. Firsts.

And some things remain firsts


My first child.

Of course I remember her birth! I was in labour for over 24 hours. Excited. Tired. Full of hope. Afraid. As brave as I could be.

I remember being very tired and asking the doctors and nurses, "When?" I remember thinking if I only knew when my baby would come then I could hang in there. If only they could give me a time frame then I could count, could anticipate. The doctors and nurses of course, could not provide.

Finally my child arrived. A beautiful, beautiful baby girl!

I remember watching the nurses, concerned as they fussed over her. She was so pale. The cord had been wrapped around her neck and there was concern but everything was okay.

I'm lucky!

There were medical complications because of the difficult birth; hemorrhaging that wouldn't stop. Despite the joy I felt, despite the peace knowing my hope was redeemed, I continued to hemorrhage and was kept in the hospital for 8 days.

My daughter's father, a musician, was not at the birth. Contractions had started at a very inconvenient time and he was annoyed. He'd had an important gig coming up and was concerned staying with me, seeing me through the birth would wear him out. He would not be able to perform.

After several hours I understood I could not cope with the birth and with the father's concerns so I sent him home.

The stay at the hospital distressed me. I too had concerns. I assumed the father was out of town. His important gig. I was worried about the dog we had. I remember asking friends to drive by the house. "See what you can see?" But no satisfaction came. I remember telling the nurses at the hospital about my concern. Asking them, "When do I get to go home?" Telling them about the dog. The nurses kept patting me on the arm, on the hand, telling me postpartum depression was very common with new mothers, and I remember my frustration. Trying to explain.

"I do not have postpartum depression!" There was need. There was a dog. A dog at home. Perhaps dying? Not being fed!

"I do not have postpartum depression, I have concerns!"

Again, they'd pat me on the hand, shake their heads and slip away.

Finally, I was "allowed" to go home.

I remember telephoning my house to see if perhaps the father had returned from his important gig. There was no answer. I called a taxi, bundled my hope, my shiny new perfect baby girl up, and went home.

There are times in our lives when we are trapped. Trapped by circumstance. Trapped by details. Trapped by need. And at those times decisions can't be made with the available data. Our best choice, our best path, it's not clear. The answer can not be exposed by concentrated effort. Comparing and seeking, weighing and measuring will not produce a "satisfactory solution". The answers we seek require a different means. At those times we still have choices but, it's harder. The quest is hidden. We must step forward, one foot at a time and Hope.

Hope was the last thing out of Pandora's Box.

At the time I wrote this story, I had had recent contact at work with a man via telephone. I had never met this man. I never will. He needed to make decision. He needed data. He needed to tidy up details, and he sought advice.




I provided what I could to this man but felt the best counsel I could provide at the time was "Keep the Faith." My telephone friend had cancer. He had concerns. But the only concern he shared with me was for his wife, his children. He wanted to provide. We talked. If he did (a) then (b) would happen. If he did (b) then (c) would happen. He had alternatives, choices; limited as they were he wanted to do the right thing. He weighed and measured, this I know, but he also sought enlightenment, sought answers and he knew, I knew, the real question, the real answer he quested for was "when". "When?" When was he going to die? With that detail he could make plans. Could make the right decisions. Could follow the correct path and "take care" but that detail was not forthcoming. I'm sure he'd asked the doctors and nurses, and I'm sure the doctors and nurses could only pat him on the hand, shake their heads and slip away.

"When it's time."

When I got home from the hospital, my pink wrapped baby in my arms, I remember unlocking my front door and being afraid. Afraid I'd find a dead or dying dog in my house. I remember smelling the air, thinking that would give me a clue. At least then I'd be prepared. I remember, my new first baby in my arms, walking through the house, calling out the dog's name. There was no particular odour, but.

I remember walking into my bedroom, the last room I was going to check, and there was my daughter's father. Lying on the bed. Arms crossed over his chest. Sullen expression on his face. His important gig had been cancelled. He was angry. He was disappointed. How could they have cancelled on him? It was so unfair.

He was hiding. Hiding from the telephone. Hiding from knocking on the door. Hiding.

The last time I talked to the man, the man with cancer, he still didn't know. He telephoned me and asked if I remembered him. "I'm the one with the cancer," he said.

I remembered.

We filled in a few more details. I told him to call me anytime. "It's okay," I said, "You think of something to ask, call me. Call me anytime. It's okay."

He said he would.

Just before we hung up he told me, he told me he too remembered. He told me he was trying. He told me, "I'm keeping the Faith."