Le Moral Dans Les Chaussettes

A friend asked me yesterday how we were doing, and I said “O, c’est la morosité ambiente, c’est la merditude des choses, c’est le moral dans les chaussettes.”

I love the French expression la morosité ambiente. If there were such a word as morosity in English, it would mean the morosity that floats freely in the environment.  I guess we’d say moroseness, although it doesn’t have quite the same feel.   Anyway, that’s the mood around here as we prepare to move back to the US at the end of the month.  Let me just sum it all up by saying that we SO don’t want to go.  If I could walk into the Office of Public Tranquility and buy a kilo or two of peace, I’d pay any price.

As for la merditude des choses, sometimes things are just so downright crappy that you want to hide out, can’t do anything but stare into space and wonder how it all got this bad.  Shel’s cancer is in a lot of places it shouldn’t be, and they have no treatment for him in France.

And when a French doctor, proud of the French system, suggests that there’s nothing else she can do and that you might be better off in America, you know it’s for real.  At least we have an America to go to.  What would a French person do under the same circumstances?  That would be the real merditude des choses.

So now our vision of the future is murky, and we have le morale dans les chaussettes.  Our morale is way down in our socks.  And that’s about the best thing I can say about it.  But there’s always a light somewhere, and in our case it’s the City of Light.  We’ll be leaving here on March 1st, and we’re giving ourselves a couple of days in Paris, a parting gift, before we head out to see what the American medical system has to offer.  On croise les doigts, and you keep your fingers crossed too, please.

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25 Comments on “Le Moral Dans Les Chaussettes”

  1. Rona Y Says:

    Oh, Abra. I’m so sorry for the circumstances surrounding your return. But I hope returning to the US will result in finding a successful treatment, and that you and Shel will find yourselves back in France in no time! Will Beppo and Zazou be going home with your this time, or will they be waiting in France for your (hopeful) return?

    I’ve got my fingers, toes, socks, and everything possible crossed for you and Shel!

  2. Abra Bennett Says:

    Beppo and Zazou will be staying in France for a couple of weeks until we get settled, then they’ll be joining us. We honestly don’t know if or when we’ll be able to come back, although we’re hoping mightily. Thanks for crossing everything!

  3. zuleme Says:

    I will be wishing the best for both of you and hope you can return to France.

  4. Sue-On H. Says:

    Dear Abra,

    My thoughts are with you, and I continue to send positive qi to both Shel and you.

    I thank you for all that you post here even when you’re having such worries.

    With everything I’ve got crossed, I too hope that the American health system can do positive healing for Shel.

  5. Corine Says:

    Sorry to hear that you need to leave but like you said at least you have that option to come back. I so hope that they can do something for Shel in the States. Enjoy Paris and have a safe journey back.

  6. Margaret Pilgrim Says:

    We both affirm our faith in American medicine and send you and Shel our collective pockets full of miracles.

  7. Jerry Says:

    The Fred Hutchinson Center has a cure for Shel. Keep the faith. Best to you guys. Safe travels.

  8. John DePaula Says:

    The very very best of luck to you both, Abra.

  9. Debra Lane Says:

    Abra and Shel, there is always the hope that stays alive and if you are coming to Seattle, we’d love to hook up with you. So many amazing places with the best technology to treat cancer right here in our corner of the world. Wishing you safe travels and keep in mind after Shel is well, you can always go back to France and we’ll come visit you there too! hugs!

  10. Edye Says:

    I am so sorry. Keep positive and believe in the strength of the healing powers from the love your friends…. as well as Beppo and Zazou!

  11. Nina Says:

    I am so sorry for the news. I understand so completely.
    Please know that your writings have been such a bright spot for me during our journey, and my prayers and positive thoughts are with you both. I do hope that you will continue to write during the next voyage.

  12. geri Says:

    sorry to hear of this. What can I say….. there are always more options in AMerica….particularly for cancer patients in Seattle.

  13. Abra Bennett Says:

    It’s such a good thing that this is all happening during the Olympics. We get to be distracted every night, even though it’s often with yesterday’s events, and we get to see formidable examples of courage and tenacity every five minutes. All that’s definitely good for the morale, as well as your positive and supportive comments.

  14. SuzySushi Says:

    You write beautifully despite your morosité. How bittersweet is leaving France for better treatment. I wish you and Shel an uneventful journey home, and the best of American medicine!

  15. charity Says:

    I am so sorry you have to deal with all this and people are right. There is always hope AND Seattle has awesome resources and amazing Doctors. I have a wonderful friend who works at Fred Hutchinson.

  16. Jeanne Says:

    I am sorry you are coming back under these circumstances; I am hopeful that you will find successful treatment here and be back in la belle France before the New Year….. sending hugs, good thoughts and prayers – and an “old number 8” for a smile 🙂

  17. Gayle Says:

    Abra, as I read your blogs it is so obvious that your heart is in France. But I’m so happy that you have a home here in the U.S. A place where you can come and heal. My wish is that someday soon you both will be once again following your heart! Safe travels!

  18. Margaret Says:

    I know the Seattle-ites will be happy to have you both back. Blessings to you and Shel.

  19. heidih Says:

    As other have expressed, many good thoughts and prayers are with you. If you are able to write and post, that may help you, and we will be awaiting news. You have inspired us and given us joy with your writing.

  20. Nim Says:


    Oh Abra, I know I don’t post often (French major reading you site to learn more about France) but my prayers are with both you and Shel.

  21. Wolfgang Says:

    Bon voyage et bonne chance. Encore une fois de nouvau!

  22. Lori Says:

    Abra and Shel –
    Thank you so much for being such an inspiration to the readers of this blog – even during some very difficult times. Thanks for showing us how to find joy and beauty all around us. Wishing you both the best of luck.

  23. Rocky Says:

    Abra, I’m so sorry about your news, but I hope that you’ll be able to find what you need here. Always know that whatever I can do, just let me know.


  24. sue Says:

    You could not be in better hands than at “Hutch’s” clinic. It is special.

    I am so thankful that you started this blog – it’s been wonderful to see the interest and support your many friends display. And I so enjoy your writings.

    I think of you many times a day as my daughter continues her chemo and hope and pray Shel’s prognosis gets better every day. Enjoy Paris and bon voyage…..Bainbridge will smile to hear of your coming presence. I’m so glad that you’re bringing the “kits”. They can be such a joy – right?

  25. -ko Says:

    Dear Abra-I have been an admirer of you writing from your E-Gullet days. Thank you for continuing to share your journey and for descibing life and joy (and sorrow) in such a beautiful way. Wishing you both the best on your return to the US and hope you will be posting again from France before the summer is over.

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