The Shoes

A pair of shoes on the door mat. They remained there for a long time. So long that my mind refused to remember how long. Lonely, desolated, waiting…

Every time I walked through the doorway I saw the shoes and cried inside. I never took them away. I needed them to stay there, even though they caused me pain. Several times every day I noticed them, always on the same spot. Removing them was impossible. I never touched them.


Illustration: The ME parents


One day the shoes would be put to good use again. The shoes had become a symbol of life that was put on hold. The shoes were also a symbol of life that would start again. Some day.

I waited. Often I felt sick when I looked at the shoes. He who owned the shoes was in his room. In the dark, in the silence. He had no room for thinking about the shoes. He appeared to only exist. In the terrible disease that shut out all life, all light, all sound, all happiness. He was just a child. A child should live a vibrant life. Flourish. He should not lay in bed too ill to experience life.

I was shut out. Shut out from his agony. I kept waiting. I brought him branches of fresh, green leaves. I couldn’t bear him not being able to be outside to look at all the green, at the summer, at life. I don’t believe he ever felt up to looking at the green leaves.

Slowly, ever so slowly recovery came. Like a breath without a sound.
Patience was a tough teacher.
So hard, so impossible.
Baby steps… Nano sized…

One day the shoes were on! The child went outside. It was after dark. It was raining.
But he was outside!
Out in the open. Escaped from prison.

I stood by the window, watching, trembling with silent joy.
And I cried.



Original in Norwegian : Skoene
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0 Responses to The Shoes

  1. Dusting my dumbbells says:

    I got CFS in the fall of 2004 and all these years I have kept my dumbbells on the living room floor, right where I can see them every day. You can imagine how many times I’ve been able to use them… My husband has told me every now and then to get rid of those but for me it’s a symbol of hope. I feel like if I got rid of them, it would mean that I have given up the hope for recovery. Now that I’ve been unemployed (= resting) for almost two years and also started taking low dose naltrexone I am finally feeling well enough to actually start doing some exercise again. And I’m happy that I didn’t give the dumbbels away! 🙂

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