The Unraveling of Mrs. Indomitable

Sometime around the end of August, an emotional elephant gun/bazooka/AK-47 was leveled at me, wham!wham!wham! by someone I love dearly.

Utterly from out of the blue. Attacks, charges of such a nature I could not possibly respond.

The person I love had suffered at my hands in silence for decades. I’d felt a chill intermittently, but nothing close to hatred.

I was incredulous.

The fact was, while the person clearly was convinced of what they aimed at me, in point of fact based on what I remembered, accusations were curious reversals of facts…mind-boggling inventions…disturbing.

But the bottom line was not whether this or that happened. Bottom line was that I’d been the cause of anguish for someone I deeply love. Unbeknownst for years and years and years.

For all of September I walked around under a huge dark cloud. I kept thinking of the character in “L’il Abner” who also perpetually walked around under a storm cloud.

Bill kept saying, “You’ve got to let go of this, Darling.”

I tried, believe me, but I was so deeply wounded. And that it was incomprehensible made matters worse.

Ok. I’ve always regarded myself as the descendent of strong women. No guff. No wimp here. I’ve taken it on the chin with the best.

But there was nothing I could do to make the cloud go away, make sense of it, carry on.

Shut up about it.

As I said, I tried.

Meanwhile, during this period to make matters worse, morning and night my beloved husband was coughing coughing coughing. In two visits to Urgent Care doctors and an x-ray said nothing was wrong…but Bill is ninety-three and the coughing was wearing him down.

What was the source of this?

Fate took us to a new holistic doctor. Afternoon of Thursday October 5th we were in his office and the doctor was listing what could be wrong with my husband when I heard him say, “…and it might be life-threatening…”

At that instant one of the more curious things in my life happened: in my mind’s eye I saw enormous papery sheaves of dark gray rise up, envelope me, swallow me whole.

Damnest thing.

I drove us home, managed to make scrambled eggs for supper, went to bed.

For three days couldn’t get out of bed. Guess what I woke up to Saturday morning? Israel. Unbelievable.

Unsteady on my feet. Only wanted ginger beer and ginger ale. Bill and Cameron were great holding down the fort…both are super cooks.

Meantime Bill’d been put on a short course of steroids to clear his lungs of congestion. It was working. Much less coughing. So happy.

Monday morning I had to drive Bill for a CT scan.

Weighed myself first. I’d lost seven pounds. Well, I’d got to my goal of 120 but hadn’t expected it to be by such a drastic mode.

And so on and so forth.

The next days while we waited for the CT results, I made myself get dressed, stay out of bed. No I didn’t water the vegetable garden (but yes I watered the gingko bonsai). The order I’d brought out of chaos in my study again was utterly disordered.

Wednesday afternoon we both had a routine check-up with our cardiologist, whom we’ve known for twelve years. We regard him but had never talked about more than cholesterol stuff.

Bill told Dr. S. about his cough, that it was under control. He was feeling fine.

Dr. S. looked at me and said, “So how are you?”

I told him I’d been under the weather.

He’s a handsome youngish man, intense dark eyes bore in on me. “Not eating?”

Check, sort of. “I’ve lost seven pounds. I–”

“Want to sleep a lot?”

Check. “But I’ve been able to–”

“Can’t function?”

Oh my god.

“You’re depressed.”




And then he told me he’d like me to take an anti-depressant to help me pull out of it. Nothing long term.

“But I can–”

“Sylvia, depression is a medical condition. It’s not mental. It happens.”


And the good doctor convinced Bill to eat less cheese…

I picked up the meds. Started yesterday.

We went to our CrossFit class this morning.

Going to deeply water the vegetable garden…maybe it’s time to pull out the tomatoes, get that box ready for more lettuces.

Just watched the Mayo Clinic video on depression. Reassured this is not a failure of will.

Now that Bill’s cough is not going to carry him away, I’ve been back to walking around under the dark cloud of having given pain unbeknownst…

Maybe I should talk to someone about it, find an avoidance mechanism.

Yes. That’s a good idea.

Anyway, dear Reader, just thought I’d share with you the amazed feeling of a woman who has scraped by on grit for eighty-eight years until flattened by, well, what it was doesn’t matter.

But I do remember my elderly mother taking to her bed in depression. I’d wondered at it.

I guess if you’re human and vulnerable it’s going to catch up with you at some point.

I guess it’s called The Human Condition.

The main thing is that I have my blessed Bill. I’m going to be myself again. And should I ever again get slammed by an elephant gun/bazooka/Ak-47 I’ll say to it, “Oh, hello. I’ve seen you before. Let me give you a hug, I’m so deeply sorry you’re hurting…”





8 Comments. Leave new

  • Beautifully expressed as always. My heart aches for you and I can relate. Love you, Linda.
    Ps. I say save my info every time I respond to your wonderful blog and I’m asked to re-enter at each time also. Can I stop that next time?

  • Dean Bridgford Mastromatteo
    October 20, 2023 8:18 pm

    Sending so much love Sylvia. I feel your pain and I know that you didn’t deserve the attack. They say that “hurt people hurt people” but that doesn’t make it any easier. Soooo glad you are feeling better.

  • Malka Drucker
    October 21, 2023 6:36 pm

    Thank you, dearest Sylvia, for your generous and helpful expression of darkness. Sometimes I think that if you’re not depressed, you’re not paying attention. It is a difficult, heartbreaking g moment collectively. All we need is a little personal pain to bury us in despair. So glad that you feel well enough to write and that Bill is better. Live you both.

  • Michael Sheehan
    October 27, 2023 12:16 am

    We have not met.. yet. My questions on FB re: Santa Cruz may be interesting. Thanks to Nan Wollman for our being present.. so to speak.


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