I feel like you and I are pretty open with one another. Like this weird internet friendship we have going on is deeper than brightly lit screens and hastily scrawled one liners. We’ve gotten to know another over the past few years. You’ve cheered me on, sorrowed with me, and laughed at my idiocy. You’ve shared your thoughts about the things that move us and shake us and turn us around. The emails I’ve received from you, the happy ones, sad ones, searching ones , - hell! even the angry ones - have changed me for the better.
But this place is still just a little window where we see one another. A place where I can present my most ordered thoughts and sweep the rest under the rug. I don’t always talk about days like today. Days when the anxiety is crushes in until I can feel the walls of my heart press against one another. Days when popcorn and target with the kids wasn’t enough of an escape. Days when the problems in my life are very real and the only solutions seem ephemeral, distant and distracted. Days when I can’t see tomorrow.
The kids are taking naps and it seems I have a few options. I can eat more ice cream and let the sugar rock me to sleep. I can read snarky internet gossip and get charged from the negativity. I can take the last xanax left over from a four year old prescription. Or. I can sit down and be honest with you, my friends. And I don't know. Maybe if I am honest with you, you will be honest with each other. And just perhaps in that honesty, that camaraderie, that acknowledgement of pain, we'll be able to lift the other up from the dark places we all fall into from time to time.
Sometimes life is very, very hard.
My dad’s death in February was the beginning of months of grief and complications that have rubbed us all raw.
There have been the spiritual and mental hurts. The permanent mortal removal of the person that helped motivate your existence tears at the fabric of your reality. I’ve written about that extensively but not, to my chagrin, to the exhaustion of the subject.
There have been the material hurts. A loss of the livelihood my mom and dad built for thirty years. The impending foreclosure of their house. The life insurance company that is trying to not pay my mom because my dad died two days before the contestability period expired. My mom, a woman in her fifties that may be left with nothing because of 48 damn hours. The creditors that can’t see her tear streaked face when she answers their fifteenth call.
There have been family hurts. The kind that slash and then once they are healed do so with a jagged scar.
And there have been the hurts without category or name. The ones that raise up as nightmares in my sleep. The ones that eat alongside me during the day and roil in my stomach at night. The ones that make me cry in the middle of aisle at the grocery store and react with aggression at slights that would usually pass me by unnoticed.
I want to fix it all. I want to jump in front of every bus coming at my mom. I want to shout down every doubt. I want to lift everyone above this year and into the next. But my feet aren’t fast enough, my voice isn’t loud enough and my arms aren’t strong enough.
I almost wish I could call this depression. I’ve experienced that before. I know it’s name and I’m not afraid to say it or treat it. Depression is a quirk of genetics, hormones or circumstance. It is a flawed reality that one must, often with the help of others, extract oneself from. But this...this house of shadows is something so much worse.
This is reality. Unfiltered by hormone or chemistry. I can't extract myself from it. I can only press through it. Or, on days like today, drift along until I catch my breath again.
This is a storm that won’t seem to abate. A consequence of mortality that we all must, at some point, trudge through with uplifted hands and broken hearts. It’s backbreaking and soul shaking and absolutely the most isolating thing I’ve ever experienced in my life.
It is really, really hard.
I am not getting through it very well today.
Thank the Lord for tomorrow.