I needed a strategy! I had been given great advice at the beginning of the illness, when I got up in the morning I should put on my coat of armour so I could make it through the day. I felt I needed something visual, almost a ritual to help myself to imagine this armour. I decided the act of putting my make-up on each day would be the ritual.
Each morning when I woke, I would apply my make-up in the same way indians did when they were going into battle. After all, my great great grandmother was native american so it seemed appropriate. I would stand in front of the mirror and apply each item, one at a time and with great thought.
First, my foundation, I would put it on with three stripes across my cheeks. As I applied each stripe, I would imagine the war paint going on. The first stripe was for bravery, I would dip my finger into the foundation, close my eyes and imagine myself as a brave warrior. The second stripe was for strength. The third for compassion. I would then draw a line down the middle of my chin- keep your chin up, I would remind myself. As I blended the foundation onto my face, I would imagine the protection it gave me.
Next came the eyeliner- eye's to see what was needed, for Dave and the people around me. Mascara- no more tears. The tears had to stop at this point and were not allowed until night when the make-up came off.
Lipstick- to speak of wisdom and love, to smile and kiss, to find the words and questions that were needed to keep Dave healthy.
I would then picture it all, not blended but in severe stripes across my face, the stripes of a warrior. A mask that hid my true feelings. Then I would put my pressed powder over the top, sealing the deal. Combining the strength of the colors and the emotions. I would square my shoulders and walk into battle, winning some, losing some.