Ugly Truth

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)


It's July and I'm going to call it: 2016 is the worst year in my lifetime so far. 

I would list all the things that prove this, but it would sound whiny and I honestly think that not much of an explanation is needed at this point. I am, however, going to compartmentalize, because it's all I can do that keeps me from drowning. I place one feeling here, another There. Over here I have bags of anger; to the left is a pile of smiles I pull out for all those optimistic people who get downright cheerful with me when I am stating shitty facts. Those smiles are getting a bit tight and stiff as my mastectomy surgery date gets near, however. I admit, at times I am lying when I say I'm fine. 

I believe the facts - those successful facts about survival and quick recovery, by the way. I know. I know I will get through this. And I am surprised by and appreciative of all the people who are empathetic and want to help. 

But it seems wrong to deny those "shitty facts" their share of attention. It makes me feel that my emotions are somehow wrong and shameful to hide them. If I've learned anything about hardship, it's that you can't pretend it away. You shouldn't get into the habit of feeding your insecurities, but you should make it known what you are dealing with, so that the next person who encounters it has more information than you did. Or, at least, your friends and family know what you are dealing with so they know better how to help you.

There. Have I justified this post enough?

Yesterday, I got word that a former high school classmate of mine fatally shot his ex-wife and himself in front of their nine year old daughter. In the moment that it took me to read the news story, a switch in me clicked on and I felt the same anxiety I felt the moment I received the phone call telling me that my niece had killed herself last April. Someone closed a door in our house and I jumped. Gunshots. Every loud noise is now a gunshot in my mind. Ridiculous, I know. Or is it?

Suicide is not a shrug-of-the-shoulder-mystery-crazy thing, you know. It's not just "sad". It's horrifying, traumatic. It causes trauma to the minds and bodies of those left behind that knew the deceased. And just because you didn't see it first hand, doesn't mean you don't see it play out in your mind, over and over, helpless to make the imagery go away. And nightmares. Well, that's not new territory for me, but nightmares where I repeatedly cannot wake and console myself that it was just a dream, that is a new kind of hell.

The guy from high school. Nice guy. Good looking guy. He suffered the loss of his mother (by her suicide), his stepmother (murdered) both while he was not yet out of high school. And then his father died recently enough. Add in his divorce and custody problems with his only child. He suffered from depression. Understandably. I keep thinking about talking to him when he was 17, in the back of some class we shared. He was popular, charming, but.... injured. That's the word, I now know accurately describes what I saw. He was nice to me. But vulnerable. It is incredibly unfair, life. He didn't deserve that. He was just a kid. Nobody, not his ex-wife, her family and friends, let alone his own surviving sister, nieces and daughter, they don't deserve this now either. No matter what. No matter all the details I don't know. Nobody deserves this kind of heartbreak and horror.

A few weeks ago on Facebook, this woman I know thru social media posted a request for people to make a four word wish - if you could be granted any wish. Without hesitation I wrote "McKenzie is still alive." I surprised myself. No thought of world peace or money or even a cure for cancer - just Bring her back.  There's an example of how grief consumes us. Because one day there will be a cure for cancer, money is just a thing and what does world peace matter if my sister and her family are still heartbroken?

I never gave much thought about sibling bonds until my niece died. But my husband will tell you that, unknown to my sister, it's shocking how deeply I feel her pain. When I am experiencing a more emotional than normal day, perhaps laying awake in the night unable to stop my racing mind and the tears, without fail, I hear from her that she is feeling the same. The knowledge that her grief is immeasurable compared to mine is frightening to me. It makes me feel all the more helpless.

So, it's fine to ask me about my upcoming surgery. The whole thing sucks and it will pass. I am experiencing all the common insecurities about having my breast amputated. Ugly word, "amputated"; but it's an ugly procedure. I'm pissed that it will take away the last bit of my kids summer vacation because, like all moms, I want them to return to school feeling like it was the best summer ever, not worried about me and trapped at home because I can't really do much while I'm healing.  

But, truly, if you are a brave soul, a good friend and someone who is not afraid to honestly care - let me tell you about how every time I hear about suicide, of any kind, I feel a miserable kinship and overwhelming compassion toward all those involved. Let me say that I am shaken.  And don't you dare feel sorry for me. Just remind me to hang on. Because that is all I can do in some moments. I just wait and breathe. Accept that I am different now, because I can't go back; I'm determined to go forward without denying the way I have been changed from these losses. I am determined to feel joy again. I am determined to help others who may be too familiar with what I am feeling. I hope this is a start even if it's meandering a bit.

0 TrackBacks

Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: Ugly Truth.

TrackBack URL for this entry:

Leave a comment