Best When Stressed?


I’m coming upon the seventh anniversary of this revelation, and to be honest, I still furrow my brows, face palm, and experience “eyeroll.”  It was September 12, six weeks after I realized I would never again be divorced, and less than a month after I became full time homesteader, physical therapist, treatment specialist, home health aid, and permanent family black sheep.  What a happy time it was.  Someone in his family called daily to check progress, but nobody came to help.  My family on the other hand, was all sorts of assistance and for that I’m grateful, but it came at a cost.  Mr. B had been released from the hospital three weeks prior to this big day.  Oh, the heaviness of all that burden is still so real, as I type this.  It was still not known, or no one had heard, that the air conditioner in the car had broken in July, so I had been making two trips daily in temperatures above 100°, traveling for 3 weeks, doing morning and evening chores between day and night shifts of sitting vigil at the hospital.  I still thank G-d for an amazing neighbor.  She truly was a blessing beyond what I could ask or imagine.

So, it was September 12, 2007, and Rosh Hashanah [Yom Teruah] began at sunset.  Mom and Daddy had come down to “help” and were watching me bustling between chores, taking a shower and getting dinner, so they could hit the road when my mom suddenly said, “Elizabeth, you look great; better than you have in years!”  I stopped for a moment, puzzled; when she said, “Oh I bet it’s the weight you’ve lost, you look thinner.”

To be honest, as the thoughts of any potential reply collided in my brain, I simply could not dignify her stated observation with a response.  Please, pull up a chair, grab your reading glasses, and let me share the day in which I looked my best.


Those days began early, and this day was no exception.   There was a hospital bed in my living room, and I was sleeping on a loveseat with a couch in my kitchen.  It was truly a relief to get up and stretch out the kinks.   That day, I did the morning chores, came in and showered, knowing my parents were on their way.  They were coming later than usual, so as not to disturb Mr. B’s morning routine.  Mr. B’s morning routine involved assistance to the bathroom, covering the dressing and assistance to the shower, a complete change of dressing which took one full hour, one tube of aloe vera gel, a bale of 4 X 4 gauze pads, 2 curlex bandages, three taped dressings, a specially designed and crafted covering, by yours truly;  to redress the 4 surgery sites, not to mention dealing with the C-diff and MRSA he got while in the hospital.  By then it was time to fix breakfast including his specialty shake and supplements.  As I was preparing the food, the phone rang.  It was Daddy telling me not to fix breakfast for them, as they had stopped to eat and should be arriving in about an hour, if that worked for Bob . . . Fine, I said, and hurried to get everything finished so I could have dishes done before they arrived.

About 10:30 they arrived, and I poured coffee.  They got the latest on the progress of the patient, and my mom was sure to ask me about this and that and to inform me of all my sister had to offer on the subject.  Now, my sister’s pending prison term was none of my business, yet I digress.  They were going to help me do some outdoor work and get ready for winter.  Daddy had brought me some sort of craftsman cultivator with additional implements which was nice, and he also brought his tiller, which was wonderful.  My okra was still doing beautifully, but Daddy decided it must be tilled down while his tiller was here, so . . . it was tilled down and to be honest, it felt so good running that tiller in the garden dirt, barefooted I forgot all about the loss of the harvest.  It was a moment of shalom . . . Then it was time to do some mowing, but the ethanol gas had ruined a part in the fuel line, which turned into a disaster.   Daddy went to “mower medic” while mom decided to bleach the front siding.

Daddy returned to start working on the mower.  The next thing I knew, in frustration, he had wenched it up the light pole, while mom wanted more bleach and I should keep as good a track of things as Bob did, and oh by the way, maybe I should get a part time job in home health care . . .  I facepalm as I write this, and shake my head.  

When the replacement part came up missing, Daddy gave me that look I remember as a little girl, and my mom turned around from 50 feet away and asked me what I’d done with it!!!  I prayed.  I prayed quickly, hard, and sincerely.  Wouldn’t you know it, the part was right where Daddy had dropped it on the mower deck!  We got the mowing done, then it was time for evening chores, which I did while they kept Bob company.   Slung mower parts were still being discovered in spring of ’08.  The mower ran by the miraculous power of the Elohim of Israel, that fall day.  I got finished with chores, took a quick shower, and proceeded to prepare dinner.  It had been in the oven all day, so it was basically just grab condiments and serve, which I did . . .  Every cell in my body was screaming in pain.  It wasn’t physical work, it was the emotional stress of it all!  Then the phone rang.  It was Mr. B’s mother calling to see how he was . . .

As Daddy was asking for something to put on his sandwich and I was getting Bob to the phone to speak with his mother, it was then, that my mom told me, how great I looked . . . I hadn’t looked that great in years.  Apparently, from her perspective; I do look best when stressed!   The next morning, Daddy called a little after 7 to see how Bob was doing and make sure the day hadn’t worn him out.  Later, long after noon, when mom had awakened, she called to make sure Bob wasn’t worn out from the previous day’s activity.

Truth be told,  I don’t look best when stressed . . . I look classy when fat and sassy!




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