She Blessed Us with Her Last Spoon

My dear friends, Esther and D, the Little Princess and I went to see my Piano Man at Radio City Music Hall. My flesh and bones and I were having one of our great days—in fact, we’ve been having a fantastic week when it comes to pain—but D (who has lived with Lupus since she was in her teens, and has gathered an intricate bouquet of complications as the years go by) was discretely strolling through pain hell.

The Little Princess and I arrived a wee bit late. We found my Piano Man, Esther and D already waiting for us in front of Radio City. We greeted each other with hugs, laughter (and the Little Princess and I received much teasing over our tardiness).

After my Piano Man left us, to join the orchestra, I examined D’s face. She looked radiant, ready to enjoy the evening… Anyone who doesn’t exactly know her well, or who doesn’t know what severe pain looks like, would have probably thought that all was well. I almost asked D about it when I saw the first long blink, but chose to let her be. Sometimes, all it takes to worsen the pain is for someone to remind us that we are in agony.

We loved the show.  My Piano Man was extremely hot and the Rockettes were sparkly.
Radio City 2015 (1)

The Little Princess kept us laughing—she danced in her seat, sang, explained the plot loudly, and when Santa told the audience, “What do you say when Santa tells you Merry Christmas?” she shouted, “I say, hooray!” at the top of her lungs. Esther, D and I roared. Between bursts of laughter, I watched D take a few deep breaths and squeeze the back of the chair in front of her until her hands began to shake. I still said nothing.

My Piano Man met us after the show, took our picture, and we said some quick goodbyes—he had a second show. Esther lives on the other side of the city. So she, too, kissed us goodnight.
Radio City 2015 (2)

As the Little Princess, D and I walked towards the subway, I said to D, “Thanks so much for spending this time with us.”

“Oh, no,” she told me, “thank you! I had the best time.”

“We did, too,” I said, watching as the Little Princess twirled around and giggled at the imaginary camel she walked on a New York City sidewalk… tied at the end of red and gold streamers. “But I know you’re hurting.” I rubbed one of D’s shoulders, ever so slightly and she winced. We laughed, and stopped in front of a closed shop, so that D could change out of her dress shoes.

When D stepped out of her shoes, I grabbed them and put them in her bag. “Thank you”, she said, and those words conveyed the thousand little stories everyone who lives with chronic pain knows.

“No,” I said, “thank you a million times for loving us so much that you are willing to give us one of your precious spoons.”

Then we laughed, delighting in the merry way in which the Little Princess continued to skip and twirl, as she scolded her imaginary camel for “pooping on the sidewalk” and not on stage, where it would have been “so hilarious!”

In the past, I was sure that it would be impossible to explain to healthy people what living with a chronic illness was like. But in her response to “I Shall Not Cry over Dead Flowers”, my dear Emma, mistress of Little Gothic Horrors, introduced me to “The Spoon Theory”.

If you live with a disability or chronic illness that affects almost every aspect of your life, you probably want to read “The Spoon Theory”, by Christine Miserandino. If you are friends with (or a relative of) someone differently-abled or chronically ill (and you wish to know what his or her days might be like), then you should read Miserandino’s article.

“The Spoon Theory” uses, um… spoons *cough* to measure how much a person living with health issues might be able to safely accomplish during a specific day. It stresses the importance of prioritizing, it reminds people in pain to say “No” *even to themselves* when necessary… And in the clearest of ways, it tells those who get to spend time with someone living with pain just how lucky they are.

I feel blessed whenever D hands me her last spoon. Not just because I love her and enjoy our time together… But because I take her company for what it is: a miracle the universe shines into my heart, while chanting into my mind, Look, dear witchy woman, and see!
Sun through Red Tree

31 thoughts on “She Blessed Us with Her Last Spoon”

  1. Oh my Goddess! I just read the article, I don’t know why I thought it was a book. I just assumed because it was your blog. When I read the part about the freedom of not having to think in advance, my heart sunk! I’m still having difficulty breathing! Thank you for sharing this!!

    • I think many healthy people don’t quite realize how lucky they are. Can you imagine waking up and just starting your day and doing whatever you feel like, without taking into consideration how you’ll feel later? The luck!

  2. What a splendid evening! Your Little Princess is making me laugh through the computer screen at her camel poop shenanigans! 😀 I can only imagine what a delightful wee firecracker she must be in real life. ^_^

    To D, I send my best wishes for good health and relief from pain. I’m so glad that the Spoons article resonated with you. I was directed to it by a friend and had just finished reading it when I got an email alert that you had a new post on your blog. I still had the Spoons window open while I was reading your post… It felt like a little message from the Universe. ❤

  3. This post is so full of love and understanding. Thanks for your words on my blog, and also sympathy for the personal losses that have occurred to you . Oh I need to take a big deep sigh or two or many.

  4. Thank you so so much for this! I had never heard of Spoon Theory. In over 8 years I’ve not been able to express to my friends and family what my life is like in constant pain. 99% of the time I don’t think they believe me when I hurt. This will help me explain it better.

  5. Sigh, I know that spoons thing! I never have enough! At least mine seems to be mostly emotional!

    Little Princess is adorable!

    I didn’t realise Piano Man was THAT talented a piano man! Send him my congratulations!

    • I like the fact that you speak of “emotional” spoons. A friend and I were talking about how “The Spoon Theory” can be applied to pretty much anything.

      I shall tell the Little Princess. 🙂

      Talented and good looking, I keep on telling him. 😉

  6. Great post, Magaly. The Spoon Theory is a wonderful way of illustrating diminished energy or abilities. I can see how it applies to chronic illness. It also applies to the aging process we all go through, although the process is not quite so dramatic perhaps. But every year, every decade, we start with fewer spoons in the morning.

  7. I hope for pain free days in yours and your friends near future. I love The Spoon Theory. It is a wonderful tool for myself when I think I’m super woman…wait now missy, how many spoons do you really have left? There are some lovely tattoos inspired by the spoon theory on Pinterest, and I’m mildly obsessed now with decorative, antique, jewelry spoons. Gentle spirit hugs to you and D.

  8. Your caring company, PM’s music and the Little Princess’s twirls and contagious happiness I think may have lifted your friends constant veil of pain even if fleetingly, loosening it’s grip I hope, making her her choice to give her spoon for time with your trio a good one xox

  9. Wow Magaly! What an awesome story. You and D are blessed to have each other and share spoons. People say they “understand” chronic pain however very few do. There are “friends” who won’t ask to you to do anything because there is the chance at the last minute you may have to cancel. I love the spoon theory and have shared it with many. I have also used the “cup” imagery for a cup a day. There are some that I would like to hit with the cup, however instead I am happy for them that they cannot understand for that means they have never experienced the searing pain in their flesh that a shower would make worse. And then I do feel sad they do not comprehend, I guess that is my selfish side.

    But on the beautiful days, or nights, when you get to go out and have fun, they are priceless. And when a friend gives you their last spoon is such a blessing. I loved reading this story and I could see D as happy as you, Princess and your Piano man for the understanding without words of the world you share. What a beautiful night! What a loving story. I am sure the night was worth her last spoon…or even one of the next day’s spoons.

    I am so glad I read your sidebar for once, lol!!! Took me a while to find the link.

    Hugs XO

    • Most people might never get it, but the few who do make our lives so much better. I think that’s the reason why so many of us end up pumping into each other–our souls know what our bodies need, so they go in search for it. You are not the only one who wants to smash the cup on someone’s face some days. Thank goodness for restrain. We wouldn’t do well in jail, lol!

      I’m very glad you read the sidebar, too. 😀

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