Flying AA 5240. With Grace.

It’s a head cold that won’t release.  Thurs, last week, I wake with a scratchy throat, a cough, and a certainty that this, this thing is sliding, and sliding fast. And it does. And it did. And it’s still here.

I take inventory.

Air travel. Hands laid down on arm rests, where hundreds of others set down exactly in the same spot. American’s Clean-up crew, not enough of them, mop up major spills. Most arm rests sit untouched by the cleaning rags, or maybe they are touched, with the same rag passing from one arm rest to the other to the other. Petri dishes, waiting.

Airline club. I brush away crumbs of food on the seat and the arm rest. Coffee cups, soiled napkins, all sit stacked on the side table. One cup, 3/4s full, has a lipstick tattoo, and a fingerprint, a thin film from hand lotion leaving traces of her DNA. I shift in my seat, the freshly painted Quiet room can’t hide its fatigue from the thousands that pass through the day. It groans, Give me your Tired, Your Hungry, Your Rich, all sequestered in this Oasis a few minutes before boarding. Passing our crumbs, paying it forward.

Long term rehab facility. Walking down the hall. Avoiding a stare in each room. Ventilators pumping oxygen. 24×7. Pumping. Pumping. Why is she here? Why is he here? Does she ever get out of bed? How does she not get bed sores?  I turn the corner to my Brother’s room. A roll of the dice and he’s here. Here. Inside. I’m Outside. His roommate. A Veteran. (?) Amputee. It’s Veteran’s Day on Monday. Our eyes connect. Good morning I offer. He never responds. He has no bowel control. The Help pulls the thin curtain. It’s OK Sir. No problem. Just turn a little to the left. The smell of disinfectant fills the room, and burns its tracks.  On the flight home, someone has passed gas, the smell detonates in the cabin, the young lady in the seat next to me buries her head in her sweater and whispers: “Disgusting.” I’m brought back to Rehab. Just turn a little to the left Sir.

It starts in the head, the slow drip of fatigue slides like lava and builds, from sinuses down to the toes.  DayQuil every 4 hours. NyQuil before bed. Bed. Sleep. Work. Bed. Sleep. Sleep. Sleep.

This morning. I flip open the smartphone. 26° F, feels like 22°.  And it arrives. Why now, I can’t explain.  Anne Lamott’s ‘mystery of Grace.’  Mucous secretions streaming. This air I breathe. This thick comforter, and the warmth that it offers. This miracle of being here, in this moment, in all of its fog.  I’m Grateful. For all of it.

And, I’m not moving, not from here. Not from this spot. Not today. Not until noon.

Photo: (via Endless Summer)


  1. Sometimes just the fact of being is both miraculous and enervating. That inexplicable dichotomy of being aware and alive. Rest, my friend – this will all be here after noon.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. and we often find grace at the least likely times and in the least likely of places.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m sorry about and for you and your brother. Sadness and worry open doors for germs in addition to your evaluation of the germ traps for travelers. Sleep is a cure and I hope this weekend you can have a lot of it and hot chicken soup.


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  4. Awww, DK, I am sorry you have caught the bug. It seems to be making the rounds. So very sorry about your brother. It is so damn difficult to see someone we love in distress and not be able to alter the situation. I hope that you can allow yourself a bit of leeway over this long weekend…stay in bed late, go to bed early, be kind to yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I hope the rehab is a good sign for your brother tather than otherwise, and I hope you’re feeling better starting 5 minutes ago. Again I marvel that the Son of Man appropriated a human body’s limitations and indignities and diminishings including cessation itself, when He didn’t have to do so — just so that we’d know that He knows. Prayers from here, too.<3

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  6. I just woke up, made tea for mama and baba, coffee for me, pulled a chair by dad’s side of the bed and stuck my legs under the covers under his legs. And, “And, I’m not moving, not from here. Not from this spot. Not today. Not until noon.”

    May Grace always find you. And Lorne. Tell him there exists another Lorne in Montréal 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  7. The tears that flow from my eyes as I read your post are soft, gentle, grace-filled. I feel your sorrow, your sense of gratitude and awe and your capacity to honour it all. To stand in the broken and the complete and feel the world flow through you is such a beautiful, grace-filled gift. Thank you for sharing your gift with such grace.

    May you rest and may the cold fade away without finding a good place to rest in your body!

    Many blessings to you and your brother.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I love how you do this. Your writing is always at its best when you dig deep.
    Sending healthy good vibes to both you and your brother. With an extra hug for you, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Take time out, cosy up and nourish your precious being. It needs it more than ever. 💕

    Liked by 1 person

  10. “Detonates” haha. So accurate. As for catching a cold, I have only one thing to say – NeilMed sinus rinse (use distilled water).

    Liked by 1 person

  11. ”The only veil that stands between perception of what is, underneath the desolate surface; is your courage.

    Dare to breach the surface and sink.”

    Sometimes when everything is too much, we need to just sink into what is. May you rise again soon my friend. 🌈

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I can feel the blanket of tiredness, worry and sadness enveloping you in these words; flying back and forth in a stewpot of germs, it was only a matter of time.

    Fluids – rest – Neti Pot – meds if needed – repeat.
    PS ** Neti pot (distilled water only) – recommend the battery operated Navage. Amazingly helpful.

    sending healing prayers to both you and your brother,

    Liked by 1 person

  13. best wishes to you and your brother. I’m sure your visits are a key part of the healing process. By the way, you make airline travel sound so glamorous. And why get out of bed at noon?

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Chilling paradoxes in this one. Perspective is important, somehow. Useful if not soul-salving. Glad you finally rested in gratitude. 🤙🌈💜

    Liked by 1 person

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