posts in category mental illness

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

A Tale of Loss

From the top of Blarney Castle

 I was looking through my Facebook photos on a whim to have some turned into canvas prints to hang. I stumbled upon my trip to Ireland. And there, on grey-skied days was smiling, mystical feeling me (is there anything like clouds and a silent walk through a crumbling abbey to leave one feeling mystical?) And there in grey and color was Karl. Karl who laughed and spoke in his loud American voice, whilst I cringed. Karl who talked with the locals, whilst I sat quietly. Karl who walked closer to the pub musicians and nodded and yelled  while I drank my cider sitting quietly in my chair. Karl who always made me cringe, but whom everyone seemed to like more. He swore he was an introvert-but I don't think so. Just insecure.

The thing is, things are as they must be. Things are better. The kids don't even seem to miss him. But despite things being better this way. I miss having my friend. I miss the good days and weeks, when I felt I could tell him things. I miss my companion and my helper. I miss the person who helped put the kids in bed and was willing to watch chick flicks with me. 

And it isn't loneliness. I am not really lonely most of the time. At least it isn't something I feel too keenly. But it is just the memory of the good times. It was having someone on my side every once in a while. It was saying, "Hey, the refrigerator is broke," and then sitting back, because I knew it would be taken care of.

And there is this underlying guilt. Did I do everything I could? Did I give up on him? Was there a point, years ago, when I could have watched him take his meds and made sure he was safe. Was there ever a spiteful moment, when I gave safeguarding his health just to not have to stress about it. Where does my responsibility fall? And he is gone. In Springfield, Missouri, California, Illinois, I have no idea. He is just gone. And I see these photos-the good times, and I think of how I thought we would be together for ever-maybe not for love-but for companionship. And it was a comforting thought, warm and cozy and belonging. Until it wasn't. Until it was  fence I couldn't see over or around. Until it was a sentence of responsibility and duty. And I can't help but wonder-who broke first? Was not taking his medicine his way of starting down the path to freedom? Or was my giving up on nagging him my step down the path?

I don't know. 

But now I have to procure my own refrigerator.

Friday, January 8, 2021

On Serenity

We have all heard the serenity prayer, right?

I remember reading those words, probably at Hallmark, as a teenager, and being so inspired and awestruck at the wisdom they contained.  As a youngster you often don't know what you are going to face in life. Your demons to face, crosses to bear, and lessons to learn are still yet unrevealed. 

One of the major themes in my life appears to be The search for security and how fleeting and evasive it can be. Watching my mother struggle, I felt the weight that not having enough money can bring. After getting divorced in my  late 20s, I felt the challenge of single parenthood on a teensy tiny income. Now as a married adult, choices are made relying on someone else to hold up their part of the bargain.

And sometimes the rug is pulled out from under even as we are building dream castles in the air. I sit and remind myself to breathe. I remind myself that I am strong and I will endure and even thrive. I remind myself that my "if worse comes to worst" is still better than many, many people worldwide. 

Some things, even things which directly affect my life, are  outside of my control. What I can control now requires greater prudence, self-restraint, and wisdom than I have had to practice in recent years past. 

It isn't what I would have chosen, especially as the emotional aspect of this challenge tears my heart apart (I am exaggerating for dramatic effect-but there is a painful struggle). I don't know what the outcome will be. My sense of care, pity, and duty for one who is ill is strong. I ask myself, if this was cancer, would I turn my back so easily? But there is an element of choice at play here, and frustrated anger on my part that healthy protocols were not followed.

 My desire for security crashes over me in terrifying waves at times. 

And I breathe. And I pray for serenity, and courage, and wisdom. And I have faith they will come. My little toy box might be overturned, dreams scattered. But from the part and pieces a new game will emerge, and it may be different, but it will be as God has planned for me. And I will thrive.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

When you feel it, but don't want to talk about it

How to talk about  a pain that doesn't like to be discussed. The lump in the throat, wetness dripping down, running across a heart that doesn't care to dwell in the pain. 
August has always been a marked time of year for me, because my birthday falls in August. It was always the last month of summer as a child, with long, hot evenings stretching out as the cicadas screamed out into the starry nights. As an adult, August was a time when college started, and the kids' school started, and later, when I would return to work to joyfully begin preparing my classroom (when I worked in a school where I had one), and getting ready for students to return. It was one of the best times of the year. 

Two years ago, though, everything changed a little. One August day, my 21-year-old son came by for a visit, said goodbye, and walked out the door-forever. Caleb had battled with depression for years. He had struggled with the world since he was very young, even in preschool he stood out, and in later elementary was rejected by his peers. As a young, inexperienced mother, I tried to do what I thought was best-but who really knows what best is? I could talk forever about signs I might have missed-or maybe just didn't know how to handle-but the fact is, August 4th, he said goodbye as if it were just another day and August 8th, they found where he lay. The days between those days stretched into eternity, but a monotonous, uneasy eternity. Although I love using strong, melodramatic words when I write, in reality, I tend to be on the optimistic side-almost to the point of detachment. I can't help it. I truly, truly believe it will all be okay in the end. We just don't know exactly when the end is, and that can be frustrating. 

As his mother, I wish I could jump back into moments long-forgotten and find ways to make it all turn out better. I wish I could find ways to improve myself and make him whatever I was supposed to make him, instead of stepping back to let him become. There must be more I could have done. There must have been a thousand little opportunities to spread light which dropped into the abyss.

There were things I wish I had known. Perhaps groups my shy self should have forced myself into. And now I am faced with---just---an abrupt end to a life which had been painfully blighted for years. And the simplicity in which I can carry on brings a feeling of guilt and "What the Hell is wrong with me, that I can keep smiling?" And the sun still shines and the complexity of human life keeps spinning the world around. 

This is August.