Monday, April 12, 2010


Kabuki Entrance
Originally uploaded by

Although Mondays are technically one of my days off work, I have needed to go into the office, and go visit clients on most Mondays for the past month. There is simply too much to get done, and so much of my work week is cut short by taking the kids to therapy, or staying home with my youngest son, who is often out of school.

Today was another typical Monday. I sent the kids off to school, went into the office for about four hours, visited a client, then realized that I had two hours where I didn't need to be anywhere. It was an amazing revelation.

In the years past, Mondays were sacred. They were for me. Having a day to myself was the chief way that I stayed centered, sane, and re-energized. The kids and Michael all knew the routine. I would get everyone off to work and school. I would make a pot of coffee, do some light cleaning up around the house, then work in my small garden. By late morning I was off to the Kabuki Hot Springs, for some relaxation and pampering, then grab some lunch and head to one of the local movie theatres.

My Mondays rarely varied from this plan. It was what worked for me. It was what I could count on, and look forward to. When my husband Michael got sick with brain cancer, it became difficult for him to work, so in time he was home more and more. Michael would still encourage me to go about my day as usual. He knew how much I needed these days. Every once in awhile he would join me. In time my days off blended into all the other days that I didn't work, and time to myself kind of disappeared.

These days having a day to myself are completely gone. As my son has had so many problems at school, I am often at home with him, or responding to phone calls for my assistance. And just like today, I have needed to use any free time, meaning time away from my son, to get caught up with my work. Hence the feeling like the sun breaking through the clouds, when I realized I had a nice little chunk of time to myself.

There have been a few prior occasions that I have thought of going to the Kabuki, which is a Japanese communal bath and spa, but for some reason I have chosen not to. One day I actually drove across town to the Kabuki, only to turn around and drive right back home. The problem has been that it is a place of contemplation, quiet, and relaxation. It is a place to be at one with your thoughts. My thoughts for the past 7 months has been on losing Michael, so the thought of grieving while sweating in the sauna, or bathing in the communal pools, left me feeling a bit anxious. I worried that too much of this atmosphere, and I will sink into the depths of my depression. Having been an frequent visitor to the Kabuki over the years, has allowed me to quickly get into the mindset for quiet meditation. I have spent hours there sorting out concerns, sweating out stress, and being nurtured with wonderful massages on occasion. In the recent months, the thought of being in such a public contemplative place made me feel far too vulnerable.

I think I found myself there today because I feel like I have made some progress in moving through my grief. I no longer feel too vulnerable to be in public, for fear that I will fall apart at a moments notice. I now feel like I am more on an even keel. I now feel like I can predict how my day will go, and know what will be of help, and what will make me feel too vulnerable.

A couple of weeks before Michael died, he was expecting a visit from a friend who lives in southern California. He was planning a day for all of us to spend some time relaxing. He decided that we should book massages at the Kabuki, and spend an hour or two at the spa. This was news to me, because he had asked his best friend to make our reservations. As the day drew nearer, Michael's friend told me that Michael asked him to confirm our reservation. His best friend didn't know what to say to Michael. You see, at that point Michael could barely walk. He was also having a difficult time with memory and communication. Yet, Michael didn't realize that he had become so disabled by his tumor. His neuro-oncologist explained that Michael's brain would have times where he would be completely unaware of that he was having such difficulties. With this, I needed to intervene, and let Michael know that we had a change of plans, and that a visit to the Kabuki was not going to work out. Ironically, by the time the day arrived for the friend's visit, Michael had deteriorated severely, and had no recollection of any of these plans.

So you see, the Kabuki, while a sanctuary for me, became a trigger that reminded me of Michael's quick decline, and eventual death. For this reason, I needed to wait for my return to be at a time when I felt strong enough to get past any possible triggers and memories.

Just now as I was writing this, I got a call from the staff of the Kabuki. Apparently I forgot to pick up my drivers license when I checked out this afternoon. So I will be making a return to the Kabuki Hot Springs tomorrow. But this time my approach will be without anxiety, as my afternoon visit proved to be just what I needed. I came away feeling calm, relaxed, and at peace. I have learned that it is a place that I can reclaim for myself. And, that's okay.


  1. A weekly visit to the Kabuki seems like a practice that would be well worth returning to. It's important to find places or ways that help us to restore ourselves.

  2. I love the routine you had for yourself of puttering around the house, having some good coffee, gardening and then the treat of meditation, a movie and lunch. How nice - all of it! I passed a movie theater the other day and saw a sign for $2.00 movies on Tuesdays, which prompted me to really plan on seeing one in the near future when I have a Tue. off.

    I'm very glad for you that you feel as though you can resume going to the Kabuki because of shifts in your emotional healing, growth and perspective. Good for you. We all need to carve out time for healing and meditation. I'm now inspired to seek out public gardens where I can spend some time doing the same in an environment that speaks to my soul.

    It is interesting that you have to return to retrieve your license. I read a message in that because I don't think there are accidents.