Saturday, January 3, 2015

She that Was

She that Was

"From the severe onset of my illness and through its innumerable relapses, my place in the world has been documented more by my absence than by my presence. While close friends understood my circumstances, those who didn't know me well found my disappearance from work and social circles inexplicable. Yet it wasn't that I had truly vanished, I was simply homebound. Like a snail pulled into it's shell. Being homebound in a human world is a sort of vanishing. When encountering acquaintances  from the past I sometimes see a look of astonishment cross their face, as if they think that they are seeing my ghost, for I am not expected to reappear. At times even I wonder if a ghost is what I've become."  ~Elisabeth Tova Bailey, "The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating"


“There is a certain depth of illness that is piercing in its isolation: the only rule of existence is uncertainty, and the only movement is the passage of time. One cannot bear to live through another loss of function, and sometimes friends and family cannot bear to watch. An unspoken, unbridgeable divide may widen. Even if you are still who you were, you cannot actually fully be who you are. Sometimes the people you know well withdraw and then even the person you know as yourself begins to change. There were times when I wished my viral invader had claimed me completely. How much better to live an exuberant life and then leave as one exits a party simply opening a door and stepping out? Instead the virus took me to the edge of life and left me trapped in it's pernicious shadow. With symptoms, that, barely tolerable one day became too severe the next and then with the unjustness of unexpected relapses that overnight erased years of gradual improvement. 

All human beings experience isolation as torture. Illness isolates; the isolated become invisible; the invisible become forgotten." ― Elisabeth Tova BaileyThe Sound of a Wild Snail Eating

Gratitude goes out to my friend and fellow blogger Mo Crow for recommending this book to me. It is helping me beyond measure. Teaching me to narrow my focus and look for the grandness in small things. Check out Mo's incredible blog here:  It's Crow Time


  1. that book changed my life forever Linda! I work as a gardener and now have to carry snails to other parts of the garden away from where young seedlings are planted instead of tossing them over the fence to play in the traffic... I can't believe I used to do that!!!

    1. I listened to the whole thing after downloading it from last night. It was so helpful for me. I am still ruminating and drawing inspiration from it. Thanks again <3