Just so you know, an explicit post follows. I am actually feeling quite neutral today (Friday, one week post-surgery), but one of aspect of having become a regular writer, even in blog form, is that one feels compelled to leave notes lying around. A record of sorts.
Herewith, from last night:
Late Thursday afternoon, and I pick up the camera to take some pictures of the Thanksgiving table.
First, though, I scroll back to the images I took a week ago. Late at night, after everyone else was asleep, I went into the bathroom and took some of myself.
I have looked at thousands of images of the female breast over the past two months. Most of them have been medical diagrams, demonstrating the complexity of breast tissue and various methods of excising and replacing it.
I never gave much thought to the magnificent detail of my anatomy. My breasts were 58 years old and they spent those years doing pretty much what a woman's breasts do. They caused me some consternation in my youth, were a source of pleasure later on, and easily nourished three children, including my twin boys. They looked ordinary and, as fashions became more revealing, they demanded some effort to cover with a degree of modesty.
Now one is badly bruised, a spray of black, purple and yellow, and the other is ~ the same color scheme, but not geography I want to describe. I can already disguise the reality, and I am told that by next summer I will be able to wear a t-shirt with no one the wiser.
One of my friends emailed me yesterday to say that the holidays have increasingly become days on which we mark the losses. Hers have been staggering, and so have mine. And while I am exceedingly grateful for the family that shelters me and the friends who support me, for my work and for my usual energy and for the health I was able to take for granted until recently, I miss my boy with a missing so wide and deep that there are moments on these days of celebration, moments through which I can barely breathe.
And so tonight, before I take the photos of the table, I look at the ones of myself. Those ordinary, well-used, seldom visible breasts.
They were very beautiful.