In the Wrong Line

We should have suspected something.  It was the only short line at the Duomo.

I should have wondered why I had to check my small bag before entering.

Everything was crowded and strange, so we just went with the flow.

We entered the door and immediately started climbing up steep stairs in a narrow passageway.

I do not do well in confined spaces, especially in crowds. Heights make my feet itch.

We continued to climb, and climb. The walls got closer together.  My tall son actually scraped his face on the rough plaster because the walls tilted inward.

I did not want to continue, but there was no way to turn around and go down.

Finally, there was an open landing for me to pull over and let others pass. It was then we discovered that we were in the line for the dome/cupola of the Duomo.

There were four hundred and sixty three steps(scalini).

Aside from my own fears of small spaces and heights, was my fear that Rose would have a seizure.  Her triggers were excitement, exercise, exertion, exhaustion…everything.

Here we were going up, up, up.

After my panic attack, we continued upward.  Finally, there was a place to exit out of the line to enter the inner base of the dome.  NO.  I had come this far.  I was not leaving my family.  I was not leaving Rose.

The last steps were actually rungs of a ladder.  When we finally popped out to see the city of Florence, it felt like I had entered heaven.

Our journey was over. We were safe.  I could breathe.

I will remember this for the rest of my life. That awful journey to the top. The relief and joy when we finally arrived.

This could be the end of a lovely story of bravery and perseverance. But there is more.

Relax it turned out fine.

We marveled at the sights and felt the wind in our faces. We hated to start down, but we knew the journey would not be as stressful and confining.

When we finally got out and sat down to rest, Rose looked a little flushed in the face. I told her she should take one of her emergency pills. She admitted that she had left them in the apartment.

Mama had another panic attack while the boys sprinted across Florence to get the bottle of medication.

All’s well that ends well.




The Fear is Still Here

Rose is away at college, but the fear is still here.

I foolishly thought that it would leave when she left.

That she would take it with her, but I was wrong.

I was unaware of this until a friend pointed it out…

that I gasped “Oh, no.” every time the phone rang during our visit.

My phone rang while I was shopping yesterday.

“Oh, no.”

This fear did not leave because she did.

It is still here.

It does not belong to her.

It is my own.

Seizure Mama


Crash and Run

It happened again. This time in Food Lion.

I was standing at the checkout, when a loud crash startled everyone.

I held myself in place.  Fighting the instinct to run

toward the sound.

It was NOT Rose falling.  She was standing beside me.

This was NOT an emergency.

No 911 call for the dropped watermelons.

No blood on the floor, only red juice.

No need to run toward this crash.

She is safe by your side.

Stand still. Breathe.


This is for YOU

My life has been funneled to this task.

It is almost like I am not allowed to start anything else.

I feel like Jonah running from God.

Jonah did not want to go to Nineveh. I do not want to write this book.

I have PTSD, for goodness sake.   Must I relive this trauma?

Yes.  Because you are out there.  Feeling like the sky is falling.

Afraid.   Alone.

And I understand your pain.  I know your fear. I know your loneliness.

If I turn my back on my past and try to forget this experience,

I am turning my back on you.

I cannot do that. Whoever you are.

I am here.

God bless us both.

Seizure Mama


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