Maybe Not

I spent an hour or more this morning writing what I had intended to publish here online, only to decide a few minutes ago that it was too personal and too private to post. Too often, in the process of exposing myself to the world, I expose others as well. I have no business doing that. It is insensitive and selfish. Instead, I will write something else; something brief and mundane that does not infringe on others’ privacy.

My plan today is to visit my wife in the hospital. I am taking a book to read to her. Neither of us have read the book, as far as I know, though I have been intended to read it for well over a year; maybe two or three years. The title is The Unraveling of Mercy Louis by Keija Parssinen. I have no idea how far I’ll get, nor whether my wife will like it. We shall see. If she likes it, I will continue reading; if not, I will put it aside to read silently on my own.

It is possible that my wife will be released from the hospital today. Or it could be several more days. I have no strong sense of what to expect. On the chance that it might be today, I will take a bag of some of her clothes. I wish she could pick out what I am taking to her, but that’s impossible, so I will do the best I can.


I’m having a hard time focusing on what I am writing. My eyes are drawn to dozens of birds darting between naked tree branches outside the window. Groups of tiny birds flit from branch to branch. I would call them flocks, but I don’t think that’s the proper term; there aren’t enough birds to merit the use of “flock,” so I use “group,” instead.  I wonder whether collective nouns vary across a spectrum, depending on numbers in “groups?” Among these groups of flitting birds are larger woodpeckers that seem to pay no attention to the tiny gatherings. The woodpeckers simply want to get at food buried in the trunks of trees. The little birds seem to ignore food and, instead, focus on playing games.


I can’t do this. My mind is on what I wrote before, the stuff I should not post. Maybe I will write more later. Maybe not.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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2 Responses to Maybe Not

  1. Cheryl, thank you for reading; and for your compassion and support. Though I rarely comment, I read your blog, too (but you haven’t posted in a while) and appreciate your honest expression of your experience.

  2. Hopester says:

    I have been reading along as you post, John. My heart hurts for both of you. I hope you can be gentle with yourself as you process all you have gone through with your wife’s illness and hospitalizations. I know I would feel exhausted both physically and mentally. You’re doing the best you can which is all that we can do. Prayers from afar.

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