April 11, 2011

Chiron in Pisces

Last night so many memories came up - specifically about going to Paris with my mom in 1979 when we both had foot surgery at the same time. Waking up to indescribable pain, my mother crying and puking in her own bed, me unable to help, her pitifully calling out “Nurse, Nurse” *How stupid* I thought in my anesthetic haze*They only speak French here.*

    Within hours they made us walk, much to my horror, and we hobbled around the old hospital corridors on bruised and damaged feet. I remember seeing the black catgut caked in dried blood when it was time to replace the bandages.

    We shared a sugar cube, our only treat on a Saturday night, and read “Roots” over the next three days. I think my dad visited once, leaving us the Volvo so we could drive home. Why didn’t we take the train? Money? Driving from Paris to Luxembourg is a 5 hour  trip, compounded by a trucker strike that effectively halted their version of a beltway.

    The story goes that I navigated my mother through the city streets, but I remember little. Eventually we stopped for gas, and I asked my mom to buy me a Pierrot doll at the souvenir stand, the first in what was to become quite the collection. I so identified with being seen as the clown, the entertainment system, wearing a happy face when really I was crying on the inside.

    I was crippled, using crutches over the next six weeks, my feet kept in tight bandages for nearly a year. I did not realize at the time that I would never ice skate again, the one thing I felt good at, the one thing I enjoyed. That fall I left for boarding school in England, limping along, the surgery declared ‘unsuccessful’ and the doctors prescribing future operations.

    Almost thirty years later, my mother has had numerous surgeries since, including removing both bone spurs and tumors that grew around undissolved catgut. I have done acupuncture to break up stagnation in the scar tissue and to release the traumatic emotions, but I still feel an ache in my foot bones after Zumba and before it rains.

    There was a wounding my faith that day - faith in my parents, faith in doctors, faith that this would make things better instead of worse. Like the little mermaid, I awoke that day to not just destined to walk on broken glass, but to have my voice taken away.

    My parents didn’t abandon me - they had me “choose” to go to boarding school when I felt I had no other options. I remember how homesick I was the next few years, how I longed to have my parents call, to write me a letter, to find some assurance of connection. Always praised for independence and stoicism, I turned more and more inward, spiraling into a typical teenage depression that I still struggle with today. Only in my twenties, when I first started studying astrology, did I discover that Chiron, the wounded healer, was in Pisces, sign of faith and rules the feet, when I was born.

    I don’t remember the pre-surgery details, the way i remember the anesthesia routine before I had my adenoids out a few years previously. but I do remember the night before we checked into the hospital, walking along the boulevard with Mom, going faster and faster, trying to keep up with her longer legs and wider stride, until finally my mom asked me to slow down. “Slow down?” I asked, “I’m trying to keep up with you!”