Pain in my Heart


Costochondritis is an inflammation of the cartilage that connects the ribs to the breastbone. It’s extremely painful and feels like a heart attack that won’t go away. The first time I had it, I called 911 and in the ambulance on the way to the hospital, I kept whispering to the EMT guys, “Don’t let me die!”

Now I have it again, and here’s why: There is a plague of constant catastrophe and sorrow upon the House of Wolf, and it just keeps coming. There are no locusts (so far) but there are cockroaches. I am learning which kitchen products work best to immobilize them.

I feel there is a biblical aspect to this plague, although I know next to nothing about the bible. I do remember a part about the firstborn sons,   and that’s how this plague began.   My firstborn son nearly died, didn’t die, but his recovery won’t be what we thought.

Then came-ith my Broken Hip, the horror of Kindred, the No Money, the Angry Husband, the Spiteful Teenager, The Leaking Roof, the Pile of Bills, the No Leaving the House, and now the Fucking Costochondritis. It’s like a knife in my heart, which is already broken in several places.

A friend mentioned the story of Job, and I nodded, pretending that I knew what he meant. I know that Job was some guy who god tortured just for fun, but then pretended he was testing Job’s faith.

If god is testing me, I hope he’s happy. I still have no faith, but I’m a simple enough creature to wonder why god wants to punish me. I know intellectually that bad things happen to good people. Bad things are mostly random. People are starving in Africa, but not because god hates them. Knowing this doesn’t bring me closer to god. Knowing he isn’t there doesn’t stop me from resenting him, either.

I sold the Chanel bag that was once my holy grail. Chanel won’t protect you from the lord’s wrath or his indifference. I would give up everything I have just to turn back the clock to August. I would even sign up for more creepy medical   conditions like costochondritis. This sounds like bargaining, right? And bargaining is a stage of grief, but I can’t remember which one.

Just the other night, I watched the first half of Gone With the Wind on TV. I was struck for the first time by how poignantly Scarlett exclaimed, “I want my mother!”   I finally know what she means. I want my mother too, even though she’s dead, and even though she was crazy my whole life.   I get why soldiers call out for Mother when they’re injured on the battle field.   It’s horrible to be out here on your own without a mother to make things better. It’s horrible to be a mother who can’t make things better.

I wasn’t going to end this on a tragicomic note, then I changed my mind, then I changed it back again. It’s a brutal Christmas over here.

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34 Responses to Pain in my Heart

  1. Bex says:

    Sorry SW, I hope good things will come your way in the next year. 🙁

  2. arline says:

    You’ve opened up a lot here.

    There is nothing anyone can say, that will console you right now. You have been through a shit storm. I can see why your body is reacting.

    I don’t know that GOD is testing you though, and certainly GOD’s not punishing you. I have struggled with those thoughts myself, and I think they are erroneous.

    GOD is such a loaded word, for something that is intangible and unnamable, but we humans have to put a name to things, then we get caught up in semantics and what have you. We anthropomorphize, I guess to more easily identify, but this does not work for me.

    I am not at all religious, but I have a belief in something beyond my human existence, I have to, or my life feels meaningless. What ever the energy is though, runs through everyone. It is not male or female, it just IS, even if that “IS” is just energy.

    People go to stories, to find comfort and answers. I think stories can be helpful, but we really have to go inside. I mean deep inside to find what we need. Most people don’t want to really look at what is in the mind and in the heart. It is often full of pain.

    There are patterns of thought and behavior that bring us to where we are. Looking at them honestly is hard, especially when some of them need to be changed. The hardest patterns to change, are the thought patterns. They run so deeply, and some are stronger than others.

    When horrible things happen to people, especially kind and innocent, surely it is not because they are being punished or tested. I certainly don’t have any answers, but I do think about this kind of thing a lot. I’m a yoga teacher, I can’t help it.

    My mom died when I was 15. She died suddenly, and was not sick. Why did this happen? I will never ever know. I still want her, and I miss her to this day. Why’s only create resentment, and resentment creates more pain. I try not to ask that question.

    What ever is presented to us, at some point, we have to face ourselves, what is in the heart and mind, and everything that comes with that.

    What is the point of existence? It is hard to think about that when there are so many distractions, but even the distractions can can provide answers.

    My comment is getting too long, but you are a very strong woman, that is obvious. You will overcome all of these obstacles. I don’t know what you will find, but something is there wrapped in that pain.


  3. Nora says:

    Honestly, I pray for you and have been since your son’s accident. I pray for you not because I want you to see the ‘light’ or anything phony, only because I wish things better for you. I’ve had a crappy year as well, but it can help to know that there is always someone in this world worse off than you and be thankful you don’t have it as bad, and like you said even in your difficult situation, there is someone worse off than you somewhere out there.

    Life is short and painful and I believe its meant to be that way but because so many times in life people or things can rarely help you properly, it can be comforting to know that there is a higher power like God to rely on and draw strength from. I’m not a Christian, but I believe in tests and punishment in this life but I also believe in rewards and pay back for suffering in the next life (heaven/hell).

    Anyway whatever you believe, I truly wish you ease and relief as soon as possible.

  4. dust says:

    When you touch the rock bottom, the only way is up.
    I kiss your heart!

  5. Bevitron says:

    I believe that you are very strong, Sister Wolf, way stronger than the average. But you’re taxed to the limits, and fragile because of it. Be more careful and calm and deliberate than you’ve ever been in everything you do. That fucking nursing home horribleness, financial shit, people acting up, infestations – all monster energy sucking crap-attractors. Do what calms you, whatever it is. The gremlins of misfortune HATE that and run away.

    I don’t know why the shit just keeps on coming, to Job or to you or anybody. I do know that I’ve dealt with my own downward spiral over the past few months and you’ve been a huge inspiration to me in the bloody-but-unbowed department. I expect, in both the suppose sense and the confident sense, that things will get much, much better for you.

  6. skye says:

    It’s been a dark fucking year for a lot of people I know (and ours has been pretty grim, but now, touch wood, is ending up ok), maybe there’s an evil star or something for 2009, but I’ll be glad to see the back of it. Hoping with all my might for a floodtide of good things to come in 2010 to everyone who’s struggling right now – especially you SW.

  7. I would say it hasn’t been a good year but in the context of you – this is no fucking help.

    I’m really glad you’ve shared your shit, not only is it honest and admirable but a reminder of how infallible we all are. I’m not saying this in the context of faith or pitting us against a higher power/being – what you believe is yours and yours alone, it is no good anyone attempting to tell you how to feel/recover/ get through it all.

    I’ve learnt a lot from you particularly since August and once again you more than any moral arbitrator are a good reminder of the place of love, health, family over material goods and glorification of oneself with clothes.
    You know I’m not objecting to anyone being that way but truly when I look with momentary envy on a garment/bag/shoes I lose it quicker than I use to because I know what empty vessels they all are.

    I wish I could wave a magic wand to repair all and sundry but I know you will find a place and a change of circumstances. You just need to take 15 mins a day for yourself – lie there think nothing, do nothing and don’t worry.

    Our collective support will find a way to heal it all.

  8. Sarah P says:

    Sister, lots of things occur to me to say, but I know in the context of all this wretchedness they’re no good: no good at all. I want to say – like MDS – that I’ve learned more from you these last few months than I have from some of my friends in years. About how to be righteously angry, and how to laugh in the face of misery, and how to love with a sort of ferocious single-minded determination. But my god, if I were going through any of this I wouldn’t give one single solitary shit whether Lessons were being Learnt elsewhere. I’d just want it all to stop.

    So I guess the main thing is that statistically speaking this can’t bloody go on for much longer. It just can’t. The universe is running out of shit to sling your way. So when I raise a glass of crappy tepid cava on New Year’s Eve, I’ll be raising it to you too, and 2010. ‘Cos hell, there’s no way it can be worse than 2009, not unless your legs specifically drop off, and you wake up one morning with your head permanently tilted like Goony Bird’s.


  9. tobilynne says:

    Like everyone else, I know there are no words we can put here to make any of this go away or to bring you comfort. (I suppose, though, that no words at all will just not do). I will say, from my own experience and from watching others, that both kinds of luck seem to come in one big chunk … all good or all bad.

    Here’s to hoping you’ll soon get your first glimmer of good luck, and from there, all will start to fall back into place. xo

  10. Jill says:

    And I was bitching about my fucking toe!

    Call me if you ever want to just rant, let me listen to you smashing roaches, or whatever.

  11. Queen Marie says:

    I think Dust said exactly what i want to say – I kiss your heart too!

  12. annemarie says:


    I know that doesn’t sound like spiritual wisdom, but if there’s one thing I have learned, it’s that when the shit hits the fan and is flying around, hitting everything you love, destroying things, you cannot think about whether or not it’s fair. Humans invented fairness. And religion.

    It has nothing to do with fairness. It’s just what is happening. Don’t try to figure it out. Everything passes.

    And in everything, there is passion– even if it’s not joy, even if it’s rage and sadness and fear and grief, there’s a fire in us and in everything around us that is beautiful. There is. It’s the one law of the universe that is incontestably true and enduring.

    I love you Sister Wolf. I have your back.

    Deleuze: “Either ethics makes no sense at all, or this is what it means and has nothing else to say: not to be unworthy of what happens to us.”

  13. OMGGMAB says:

    Sister, this year has been awful for so many I care about. I am sorry that your family has been the recipient of the unfeeling Fates. I can offer only hope and good karmic thoughts to you to embrace your family, hold on tight together, and perhaps the spring of 2010 will bring you new life. Peace.

  14. I can’t attempt to answer questions about why good people suffer, but I fervently hope things begin to improve for you Sister. It seems they can’t do anything but. Call me anytime to rant, cry or complain about the unfairness of it all. I agree-it makes no sense.

  15. K-Line says:

    Sister: I am so sorry to hear that there is yet another challenge you are facing because, seriously, you have had more than your share (exponentially) this year. I can only say that I am thinking of you and giving your heart a virtual massage (does that sound creepy?). I will do my yoga practices with you in mind. It’s my version of prayer. Kxoxo

  16. Aja says:

    I’m with everyone else. I can concur that this year has been unbelievably shitty. I was just explaining to a friend, that if anything at all, I feel a bit “broken” from it. But even with my small dramas, nothing compares to the shit you’ve had to deal with. Let’s just take every day one step at a time. 2009 will be over in nearly a week. Cross the finish line and keep your fingers crossed that 2010 is nothing like it. We’ll get through it.

  17. theresa says:

    consider this comment another prayer on your behalf (from the faithless.) I know I’ve made bratty comments in the past….but I’ve been rooting for you every step of the way.

    I hope your tragicomic balance tips towards the comic

  18. Deni says:

    Sister W. what can I say? You’ve had one hell of a year and I wish that none of it happened. But don’t lose faith, and I’m not taking about religious faith. Have faith in yourself, in your sons, in your friends, and in the power of the human spirit! Doctors don’t know everything, and theirs is not the final word. Look at how amazing you are! Start with that! And how amazing your family is! Look for all the good things and focus on the good. You ministered your son while suffering a broken hip (and heart), on a daily basis! You brought love and good cheer and hope to him. Priceless! You were there for him when he needed you regardless of you hobbling, with a walker, one small step at a time. Think of how amazing you and your son are to have traveled this horrible, horrible journey. You will get through it and the light will shine again. Just take one day at a time. One hour at a time.

    As for the rouches; go to the $.99 cent store and buy 1) the poison little traps and 2) the sticky little traps, and buy lots and lots, and even more, and place them every where especially in the kitchen and in the bathrooms. I hate to kill anything including rouches, but I will not tolerate them in my home. Don’t use the spray since you end up breathing it too!

    I, too, was diagnosed with Costochondritis. It’s a bitch. It does feel like a heart attack. (It may have something to do with Fibromyalgia or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, but I think it’s a physical manifestation of grief.) I never know when the pain will flair or subside, and when it flairs, it is arresting at its worst. But my hot water bottle has become my constant companion, while at home (maybe I should sneak it into work too). For me heat is soothing, though I know I should be icing it too. I don’t take any meds for it since I’m on the b/p med and that alone screws me up enough as it is.

    I will come visit you and your son over the holiday, if I may, and bring some healing touch.

    P.S. These horrible events have nothing to do with any made up supreme being or religion or any superstition, they have everything to do with politics, economy, imperialism, capitalism, planned obsolescence, suppressing the brightest, the other, the gifted, as in keeping the populace drugged out so the ruling class can continue to rule. These plagues are all man-made, including the fear and the lies and false promise of the “American dream.” But do have faith in love, in family, in friends, in the power of the human spirit to overcome so much and continue on!

  19. andrea says:

    I know this won’t make you feel any better, and you also know all the shit I have going on in my life, but, the only way I get through each day is to tell myself that the problems I have are not as bad as they could be. I used to say to my husband “why is all this happening to me, it’s one thing after another and I don’t even get a breather! I must be being punished for something.” And he, pragmatic as he is, told me “it doesn’t work that way. Things happen. There is no such thing as god punishing you.” (Although my mom used to say that to me all the time. Easier than thoughtful discipline, I guess.) When I had 5 miscarriages in a row, after having one child, I felt like there was something inherently wrong with me, that I was not worthy of having another child, that I was no good. Everyone else was having babies, and I couldn’t keep a pregnancy. My husband was able to look at the situation and told me to count my blessings. Sounds trite, and you know what else I have to deal with, but I do look at it and know that it could be much worse. I have a chronic illness that could kill me, but I am able to go on with my life. And antidepressants helped me too. I don’t think that I could have gotten through dealing with my illness without Paxil. I feel for your figurative and literal pain and wish I could do more than offer some words of encouragement. I have you and your family in my “prayers”, and hope that things will get better for you all in the new year. And take an antidepressant. If it works for you, it will help you to deal with anything that comes your way.

  20. Aja says:

    Deni, you have a lot of the same ideas as I do.

  21. Bevitron says:

    I forgot to say, regarding the roach situation (you probably know/do this already, but anyway) – when I had to cancel the bug man’s monthly visits due to lack of coin, my cockroach pop went way up. (I had help in the killing dept. from two felines, but not everyone wants/likes cats) What seriously helped, or at least, it helped to keep me from SEEING the disgusting fuckers, since I’ve been told they’re impossible to eradicate, was my food scraps disposal technique – I bought a shitload of the cheapest brand of Ziplock-type bags I could find, and I started putting every tiniest bit of food garbage into them before it goes into the big garbage. (No garbage disposal here; this house & its plumbing are ancient.) The point being, don’t have any food garbage that might sit for a day or two accessible to bugs. It helped BIG time! And I never use the spray shit. The traps sound good, too.

  22. erika says:

    What Arline said makes sense. I have had hard times. I can’t compare them to yours however as I am not a mother. Having children suffering is something I cannot imagine and my heart goes out to you. Things turn around. They really do.
    I wish you the best.

  23. Alicia says:

    Damn, Sis. This sucks to high (low?) hell.

    My thoughts are with you and your family. I’ll be gone this week, but if you need me (or an ear for the week I’m gone), let me know.


  24. Kelly says:

    “The patience of Job” is incorrect. Job gave up on God in Chapter 3. As I remember, he did a lot of complaining after that.

    To me, the lesson of Job is that we get to rant and rail against God as much as we want. If we couldn’t do that, God would be terribly self-protective and overly God-like.

    I think you already know this, but you know if your mom was back for two minutes, you’d think, “Oh, no no no no.” Besides, that Katie Scarlett was a selfish bitch.

  25. Sister Wolf says:


  26. Dru says:

    I hope things will get better for you, and that they’ll be good in 2010.

  27. You have such wonderful supporters, what great words of comfort. I can’t say it better than them, and we haven’t had a year like yours, but we had a couple years of crap luck where it seemed like nothing went our way. Then this year we got our Hazel, so there’s got to be an end in sight for you. I just wish we had enjoyed our years of good fortune before the bad hit!

  28. Diane says:

    Tokay Geckos, if let loose in the house, are voracious eaters and will take care of the cockroach problem. If you don’t mind occasionally being startled by the sight of a tokay gecko on your wall. Just leave a bowl of water under the fridge.

    I am sorry that you have to be going thru this. You are way too awesome for all this crap to come down on you and your family. I read your blog everyday. Good thoughts and shit like that.

  29. Susan says:

    I can’t add anything new but just wanted to say

    A., I love you,
    2., I sure hope your sucky luck ends soon, and
    6., I can’t read this post without balling. Damn you.

  30. Moda says:

    Sister Wolf, that’s so fucking brutal. Please accept my best vibes coming right at you. Love.

  31. Ann says:

    I have nothing to offer except love, support and outrage. I wring my hands and fret, because that’s what I do. I love you, and I’m sorry.

  32. hello sister wolf. I wish you wealth and good health for 2010. God bless.

    I want my mother too.

  33. hammie says:

    you can have my mother? xx

  34. Patricia says:

    My heart hurts too = ( Been trying really hard to fix it yet sometimes I feel like I am a kid on training wheels! I am not really sure what I am doing all the time, some things works and somethings don’t all I know is there is an end to all the madness! Friends will help you through hang in there and just remember you are loved! I hope you have an easy weekend!

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