During the visit to my grandmother's old farm house,
a black barn cat sat with CB for an hour under a hundred year old tree,
transfixed by her fancy bead twirling,
playfully batting at them from time to time.
Though CB occasionally shoved him away,
the cat remained.
As CB's seizure activity spikes again I find myself in the familiar, helpless position of bearing witness. Clocking the seconds as she thrashes about.
In the seizure's aftermath, all I can do is sit quietly on her bedroom floor
with the stillness of a praying mantis mimicking a leaf.
This period of sitting and watching
until I'm certain she is asleep and will not lapse into another seizure
has always felt so passive to me.
Due to her tendency to flip into a violent, post-ictal psychosis
I refrain from even touching her or speaking following a seizure.
I simply sit vigil.
A vigil, I discovered, is a period of intentional wakefulness;
a block of time set aside for contemplation and watchfulness.
"Vigil" is derived from the Middle English vigile,
which means "devotional watching."
The Latin vigil, translates as "awake."
It brought me comfort to know that the feeling of helplessness and passivity
when surrounded by darkness, listening for
the restoration of normal breathing patterns in my little girl,
is actually far from a helpless act.
There are many different types of vigils:
a form of protest
respect for the deceased or
a way to raise community awareness.
Whatever the type, it is a body and soul in action
not at rest.
Like the mountain pose in yoga,
even in a simple, quiet stance
all the senses of the body are engaged.
A mother's vigil is nothing like sitting idly by.
Every cell in her body