An Abundance of Spoons

(Thank you, Jen McConnell)

Spoon Theory: A disability metaphor and neologism used to explain the reduced amount of energy available for activities of living and productive tasks that may result from disability or chronic illness.

I typically have an abundance of spoons. Even through the worst of the worst in my life, I’ve always had spoons to spare, spoons to hand out to others. It’s just who I am. But once in a while, my subconscious tells me when I’m running low, that maybe I should just stop. Rest. Be kind to myself. I’m not always savvy enough to heed, and then my subconscious gets serious.

Those of you who know me have probably guessed that when my spoons are running low, I go quiet. I pull away from here, from friends, even from family. It’s not necessarily that I don’t want to worry anyone (though there is a bit of that in there) and more that I just can’t deal with “it” (whatever “it” is) taking up any more of my energy. But going quiet is the opposite of who I am, and it only works for so long.

We’ve been dealing with a lot here, chez DeFino. Frank’s consulting gig ended, and we are once again on that precipice. My uterus tried to kill me again. Let me tell you, losing that much blood over the course of four weeks takes its toll on body and mind.

And it was Christofer’s 29th birthday last week.

“Everything’s fine.” My stock phrase. I know, logically, that just because others have it worse than I do, suffered more, have less, struggle with issues far beyond my white, middle class world, doesn’t mean my experience isn’t valid. It doesn’t mean I have to smile through it all and thank my lucky stars. Here, my friends, there be dragons. And not the fun kind.

Everything is fine. Until it’s not fine.

I had a dream last week. Kind of. It was a memory, tossed out and clear as the moment it happened in striking, horrible detail. One that has blared through my brain, danced behind my eyes ever since. I suppose it’s my own form of PTSD, this flashback. It’s one that comes to me when I’m at my lowest in the spoon department, because it takes a whole fuck-ton of spoons to keep this demon at bay.

Eleven o’clock, and Chris still isn’t up. We have an appointment with the guy who makes the braces for his leg. I finish up an email and go to his door.

Knock, knock. “Hey, buddy, we have to go soon.”

No answer. He usually at least groans.

Knock, knock. “Hey, you alive in there?”

I take the “key” we keep over his door (he’s slept with it locked since he was a little kid, to keep the monsters and night-time robbers from getting him) and pop the lock.

The light is the first thing I see. That god-damn-fucking light. My heart bucks. He’s on his back, feet on the floor. There’s a needle on the bed beside him.

No. No, no, no, no, no.

I detach from myself. He’s cold. There is foam on his lips. The smell…sulphury. His skin feels greasy. I’m screaming. I don’t hear the screams. They’re out there, someplace, still echoing off those walls. I’m alone. Just me and my dead son.

I call 911. I’m still screaming. Into the phone. My son is dead! My son is dead!

“I’m so sorry,” she says. “I went through the same thing last year. I’m so sorry.”

These are the first words I remember. I must have given her the address, because the police officers are already at the door.

Since “dreaming” this last week, when my spoons were so low and I was still giving them out to others, this demon has come back to me and back to me. When I’m cooking. When I’m in the car. When I’m in the movie theater. Just creeps up on me, smacks me in the head and dances off. It leaves me shaky and teary, and I’ve been pushing it down and pushing it down. I don’t want anyone to see me cry. I don’t want anyone to know. Frank has it hard enough, right now. I don’t want my kids to worry, to know this demon lives in my head. Even now, as I write this, I’ve already texted them all to say, “Don’t read today’s blog post.” But they will.

So here it is. I don’t write this here so you’ll feel bad for me, or to make you cry. My demons are masochistic, and require a stage before they’ll leave me the fuck alone. I acknowledge this, because this is the consequence of going silent. I should know this by now. Maybe next time I’ll remember before my spoons run out.



Filed under Life's honest moments

32 responses to “An Abundance of Spoons

  1. Diana Stewart

    I wish I could’ve been in that dream. Been there to tackle you to the ground, drag you away, to scream at you, “Don’t open that fucking door.” I’m so very sorry. Thank you for sharing. Because now I can remember too. I’ll carry the memory too. Remember that I’m carrying it. And the next time you have the dream, maybe your subconscious will remember, and I’ll be there.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bev

    I have nothing to give but my heart felt love and hugs….lots of hugs. I would love to will this demons away. Be well, and fill up those spoons! Love you to pieces!


  3. Oh Terri. I’m having troubling findings the right words to say at this moment. Yes, it’s your own form of PTSD. It’ll never go away. Memories like that don’t. They’ll ping you when you don’t expect it, and steal part of your day, send you spiralling downhill. All I can say is that I love you and Frank. We are always here for you. The thing that sucks, is you had to go through that moment so Chris could end up in a place where he’s finally freed from the pain of his addiction. It can’t erase your memory. But I believe Chris is now free. Sending love and hugs ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Elizabeth Young

    I relive inconsequential moments over and over again in my head. So, this is not at all surprising to me, that this event won’t leave you and sneaks up at the least – or most – expected times. It is as much of a defining moment in your life as his birth. Like Diana said above, though, maybe by sharing it with us, and letting us feel it too (just a little), maybe, at some point, MAYBE, the memory’s savagery will weaken. I think talking and writing about it can only help so keep doing it and I’ll keep some extra spoons on hand just for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Terri-Lynne DeFino

      It does lessen the savagery. It really does. Just since writing it (and posting it, that is KEY) I feel lighter. There is so much love out there, directed at me. It’s like…wow…words fail. Thank you, Bea. Always and always.


  5. MaryAnn Forbes

    I’m crying as I read this; I can only imagine how heartbreaking and life-changing opening the door and finding Chris was. You are a strong and beautiful woman inside and out. You inspire me to carry on. I have been quiet lately as the darkness of depression has overwhelmed me, the clouds seem to be lifting a bit each day. Thank you Terri for being the person you are and for sharing so much of yourself. You have helped me many days and in many ways.❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Terri-Lynne DeFino

      You are one of the reasons I make these things public, my dear. I know that it helps you to release YOUR demons. You, and many others. I think of you all the time, honey. I really do. Contact me, should you feel the need. Here, Facebook, email. I’m here. And now that I have so much love being directed my way, I’ve got spoons to spare.


  6. Mark Nelson

    You have my digits. Don’t hesitate to use them. Your strength is amazing. Peace.


  7. Your picture caught my eyes! We visited a new restaurant last week for breakfast. No spoons on the tables. We had to ask for them for our coffee and our meals. “How come?” we asked the waitress. She told us that people steal the spoons. They are nothing fancy, just blah-spoons. She told us they are ordering new spoons nearly every other week…
    And your theory about that? Wow! Such details in the dream. Thanks for the writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Ellen Tuck

    I wish I had words to give you. I do know that grieving takes many forms and everyone goes through it at their own pace. My heart is heavy for you and I want to send you all my spoons. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’ve really got nothin’ T. Just hugs. I am not much help these days to anybody.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Helen

    We Remember Him”

    In the rising of the sun and in its going down,
    we remember him.

    In the blowing of the wind
    and in the chill of the Winter,
    we remember him.

    In the opening of the buds
    and in the rebirth of Spring,
    we remember him.

    In the blueness of the sky
    and the warmth of the Summer,
    we remember him.

    In the rustling of the leaves
    and the beauty of Autumn,
    we remember him.

    In the beginning of the New Year
    and when it ends, we remember him.

    When we are weary
    and in need of strength,
    we come together and remember him.

    When we feel lost and sick at heart, we reach out and remember him.

    In memory of Chrisropher and my Joey who should have been 25 on the 22nd.♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️💔💔💔💔💔💔💔
    Those same demons creep into my heart especially when the quiet overwhelms my mind and I move too far away from those who love me too.
    Hugs to you.


    • Terri-Lynne DeFino

      Helen…did you write that? It’s beautiful. So beautiful.
      These demons creep up on us when we deny our sorrow, when we try to pretend it’s not there. It’s what such demons feed on. I have to remind myself of that, over and over again.
      I’m always here, should you need an ear, a shoulder, or a pair of eyes to witness.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I did not, but it was written for a friend’s brother by a friend. It just seemed right to share with you. Love your open heart which has helped me, after 5 years begin to open up more over Joey’s leaving us, so thank you, thank you, thank you, from the bottom of my heart. And spooning is always good thing to do!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Terri-Lynne DeFino

        Well, thank you for sharing it. And I’m honored to be of some help to you. It makes opening up easier. Many hugs to you and the family.


  11. Lise-Marie

    I am sorry for your pain and I know you are strong enough to deal with it. I always disappear when my spoons run out. I turn off the phone and lay on the couch and cover myself with blankets (a hug of sorts since I am alone). You do whatever you need to do and screw the world and what “they” may think. You are valuable and loved.


  12. Kim Vandervort

    Love, love, love is what I’m sending you! I would give you all of my spoons if we lived closer and I could be there with you, helping you through these times. I hope you know that I am still, always a call away!


    • Terri-Lynne DeFino

      (((((Kim))))))) thank you, darling. I know you’re there! I’m awesome at being there for others, and terrible about letting others be there for me. Love you.


  13. Oh, Terri-Lynne. I wish I had words to help or fix or ease, even a little. You are a beautiful person, and I’m glad you’re taking care of yourself and replenishing your spoons. If you ever, EVER need virtual hugs (or real ones, I’m not opposed to driving across country for hugs ever) or stupid, goofy jokes, or for someone to just be on the phone while you cry or rage, I’m there. I can also send wine, coffee, Red Bull, or donuts/cupcakes.


    • Terri-Lynne DeFino

      You inspired me to finally write this post, and get it out of my head, so you’ve already done it ALL. All I needed. Thank you, darling, for that, and for your kind words and love felt across the interwebz. ((((Jen))))


  14. Janis

    Sometimes there are no words….(((hugs))).


  15. Mom

    Every time I read one of these blogs my heart breaks for you. I know so well, and so little of the pain that you are suffering. I also feel so much joy when I read the love that you receive from these friends who love you so much. You are so fortunate to have these beautiful people in your life, and they also are lucky to have you. I love you.


    • Terri-Lynne DeFino

      Is this MY mom?
      I do have amazing friends, and they really do love me. I’m very, very lucky. I also have an amazing family! I know you don’t know what to do with my sorrow, sometimes. It’s ok. I don’t know what to do with it either.
      Love you, mommy.


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