This Unendurable Pain



This Unendurable Pain
En Route from Gatineau, Que., to Stittsville, ON, 2008

5:45 p.m.,
And I’m almost home,
After another long day
Of battling pain,
Minute by minute,
Hour by hour.
And somehow
Here I am again,
At the end of my work day,
In the car,
Almost home.
And the pain goes on.

I wonder,
As I often do,
How can I go on?
How can I go on?
How can I manage
One more minute?
Much less one more hour?
Much less one more day?
One more week?
One more month?
One more year?

I’m home now.
Snuggles has been fed.
I’m standing at the kitchen counter
Chopping vegetables for a salad,
After injecting myself
With magnesium
And B12.

If I can just stand here a little longer,
Just a few more minutes,
Long enough
To finish the salad,
To make a cup of tea,
To collapse onto the love seat
With my supper,
My ice packs,
My morphine.

The morphine that barely touches the pain,
Barely, barely makes a dent in it,
Barely gets me through the evening,
As I struggle to go on,
Moment by moment,
Hour by hour,
Week by week,
Month by month,
Year by year,
Bearing this unbearable pain!

I wonder,
And yet again,
How a human being can go on,
Looking normal,
Acting normal,
To all appearances
A normal human being.
All the while
Just enduring.

Just enduring,
Minute by minute,
Hour by hour,
This lonely,
This unendurable,
This unbearable,
That somehow must be made bearable.
Because what other choice is there?
But to go on,
To never give in.
To never give up.

If I knew
What giving in meant,
What giving up meant,
What it looked like,
In real terms,
Then I might do it!
But I don’t,
And so I go on
Bearing this unbearable pain,
Its loneliness,
Its despair,
Its unrelentingly,
Cruel relentlessness.

And I ask why,
But will never know why,
I must endure,
Seemingly endlessly endure,
Hopelessly endure,
This unendurable pain.