The Power of Story

Image by Kathy Fornal

Image by Kathy Fornal

“After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.” 
~ Philip Pullman

 

The past few days have been rough for me. It’s a lyme thing. Partly because of the pathogens that have invaded and taken up residence in my body and partly because of the ongoing treatment to evict them.

I’ve been in excruciating pain. Pain that sets my face into hard lines during the day. Pain that has me whimpering, crying and howling in agony each night. The pain has been slowly escalating over the past few weeks, and now, at its crescendo, my bedroom is no longer a refuge. Nights no longer bracket my days with healing sleep. Instead I descend the stairs into a fiery hell.

I keep everyone awake; my husband, the dogs… even when they sleep in the guest room. My muffled sobs and screams are difficult for them to hear. They find it hard to settle, and they want to be near me, as much as I keep sending them away.

The night before last Ben stole back to our room and held my hand as I struggled. Nothing was helping.

Finally, he began to tell me a story. A story about a little girl who wakes up in a big old house in the middle of the night. She is wide awake and the rest of the house is fast asleep.

She takes her small suitcase and goes to the kitchen, where she packs a few snacks.

Image from Pickcute

Image from Pickcute

“What are the snacks?” I ask.

“Two small square sandwiches, four biscuits and a pot of jam.”

In my head I see each of these things. I wonder about the size of the sandwiches. I wonder about many things. It prompts another question. “What kind of jam?”

“Strawberry.” He strokes my hair tenderly and goes on with the story.

The little girl opens the big front door and heads off into the moonlight.

Soon she comes to a pink forest. All the trees are pink. Their trunks are like glass, lit from within so that they create a soft pink glow. Their leaves are every other shade of pink.

As Ben is creating this imaginary world I am still convulsing and writhing in pain. Tears are streaming down my face. But my mind is no longer so distressed because I am now the little girl wandering alone through this glorious pink forest while the rest of the world sleeps.

Some time in the early morning, I fall asleep for a few merciful hours. And when I wake up my head is still filled with pictures of this night-time escapade.

Over a cup of afternoon tea I ask Ben something that I have been pondering all day. “What is the ground in the pink forest made out of? Is it grass? Or dirt? Or snow? Or something else?”

“I’m sorry,” he says, smiling. “I can only tell this story at night. You’ll have to ask me then.”

Finally, amid all of this current misery, something to look forward to. My beautiful husband is helping me reclaim my nights instead of fearing them.

Image from HDWallIMG

Image from HDWallIMG

 

28 thoughts on “The Power of Story

  1. tears welling for reasons I don’t need to decipher…LOVE is healing on all levels. Big hugs to you both for a wondrous week ahead…XO

  2. You are a very special person Ben and I see so many admirable values; unconditional love; empathy; kindness; generosity of spirit (just to name a few). Your support of Nicole is very moving.

  3. The most difficult journeys often take us where we were meant to go, I am so glad that you have such a beautiful and loving husband to guide and hold your hand through the glorious pink forest. You are loved by so many! Sending love and healing thoughts to all of you ❤ Hang in there Nicole! We are all rooting for you! Wishing this awful ordeal will soon be over for you. xox

  4. Oh Nicole, I don’t know you but your story inspires me, moves me, challenges me…so blessed to have discovered your blog. Thank you for sharing. Know you are thought of across the ocean. What a beautiful gift Ben gave you…a story. Just as your gift to us is a story. Hang in there!

  5. You have the most beautiful husband . I feel so sad for you and your struggle . I have recently read a book called ‘Seahorses are Real’ by Zillah Bethell a really good read . Although it is about a woman’s struggle with depression ( I wouldn’t want make you feel down that ‘s the last thing I want) but it just reminded me of her husband and how he told her stories in the night.
    You take care Cherryx

  6. Ben brings tears to my eyes….. although I am married, I wish I could have such a beautiful soul to take care of me in my time of need. Through all your illness you still very lucky, take care of each other

  7. This post made me tear up. I am struggling with my relationship right now, and want things to be fixed and back to that beautiful place of comfort. Thank you for reminding me it is still there.

  8. what an amazing person you chose to marry. you are truly blessed. and what a beautiful story he made up for you to draw you out of your pain. my eyes are filled with tears of joy that you have such a remarkable marriage. what a gift! thank you!

  9. feeling the love and the healing .. as my life takes a radical shift from married woman to newly single at 60 i can see a way now to tell myself stories at night to rebuild and revision my life .. may you be well soon … may all that has been troubling your body now be cleared and gone, and you fit, healthy and well once more xo blessings

  10. Pingback: Breathing Through The Pain #LymeWarrior | Cauldrons and Cupcakes

  11. I popped over here from today’s post and I can’t stop the tears. My heart hurts for you and at the same time, I’m somewhat envious of the love your husband has for you. If you must be struck with such a horrible disease, and I don’t think anyone should, I glad you have someone who will stand by you and help. You make me count my blessings. I’m keeping good thoughts for you.

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