Of pain and progress

There’s a lot to be said for knowing when to say “no”.

I decided to not go to the memorial service tomorrow. I’m not in a place where I can handle death right now. I’ve been through an emotional meat grinder for the past 6 weeks. Our relationship was so far in the past, I’m largely emotionally detached. When I’m alone. In a group of people who knew him better and were closer to him, I don’t know how I would take that. I don’t know how I would handle their grief. I’m not willing to test that either. My way of saying good bye will be a donation to the charity of his choice in his name. That’s the right choice for me. Which brings me to…

More complications with my dad. I spent half an hour in my little hiding place at work crying and texting back and forth with my nearest and dearest. I finally got up the courage to stand up, go into the bathroom, and clean myself up. I have incredibly fair skin so my face turns bright red when I cry. I splashed some cold(ish) water on my face and looked at myself in the mirror. I said to the puffy, red eyed, leaky nosed mess looking back at me “You can do this”. I was sorely tempted to walk into my boss’ office, tell him I was going home, and drive away. I chose instead to go back to my desk and do the best I could with what I had. My boss wanted to show me something when I got back and he asked how my dad was doing. I told him I didn’t want to talk about it. He gave me a pass on productivity for the rest of the day. It’s the small gestures (and the benefits of proving myself to be an industrious worker) that mean the most. I was so out of it by the end of the day, I almost missed my exit off the highway. Twice. I ordered pizza for dinner because I didn’t trust myself around knives and stoves. Not because I would intentionally hurt myself, but because I have maybe 10% of my normal functional level right now. I figured $20 for pizza was better than a trip to the emergency room because I sliced open my finger or absentmindedly stuck my hand in a blender. Yes, it’s that bad.

It hurts like hell, but pain is progress. I know that sounds like some silly motivational poster in a CrossFit gym, but it’s true. I was thinking back to the beginnings of my relationship with Boy. I was in so deep, I literally didn’t have the energy to cry. There were moments when I really, really wanted to cry. Nothing came. It was only after I began to get better that the tears came. It’s hard to remember when I’m in the middle of sobbing my eyes out. Feeling like someone reached into your chest and ripped out your heart isn’t any fun. As I said, at this point, I’ll take a hot poker to the eye. Pain isn’t weakness. Pain isn’t a failure. Given the choice, I would take physical pain over emotional pain any day. The emotional pain days seem endless right now.

Let us end on a positive note (and the Benadryl is kicking in, so I should wrap this up before I go totally loopy).

Things that make me smile:

  • The cat dreaming
  • Pizza pizza!
  • My amazing friends who have offered to move mountains for my family right now
  • My equally amazing office crew who are ever patient with me
  • An infinite loop of Chris Brown & Will.i.am on my tablet
  • Finding erotic romance books that don’t make me want to tear my eyes out and apologize on behalf of English majors everywhere (The Submissive Trilogy – check it)
  • Slowly mastering the art of accessorizing well
  • Benadryl
  • Fresh cut flowers
  • Shoes I can dance in




Of anniversaries and memories

Yesterday was the second anniversary of my friend Emily’s death. I met her in AA when I was giving that a go. We were about the same age, had the same name, and bonded very quickly. She was a recovering heroin addict. She was in drug court at the time after getting caught for several impressive drug charges. She’d had her license revoked, so I would drive her to meetings when I could. We’d sit in the parking lot chatting while we waited for the boring opening part of the meeting to finish. She ended up going back to jail twice during the time I knew her. I would call her when I was driving just to pass the time. One of the very last things she said to me was “The next time I use, I’ll die”. A week later around 11 in the morning, I got the call from her sister. She was 24.

She was the first person really close to me who died. I knew, deep down, it wasn’t an if but a when. She’d been shooting up since she was 14 to treat bipolar disorder. By the time they diagnosed her, she was already addicted. My bosses sent me home early that day as I was a sobbing mess and could barely explain what was happening. As I was driving home, I saw a rainbow right over the (approximate) area of her house. There was no reason for there to be a rainbow in the middle of the day on a completely clear day. I’m not one to believe much in God or any kind of afterlife, but I like to believe that was her way of telling me she was okay. 

I could never prove it, but I know she chose to do it. She knew what the consequences would be if she did it again. Just based on what she told me, her kidneys were failing. They had to take blood from the veins in her feet because every other vein was too damaged to use. I also learned more about vein placement than you would outside a medical school. Her heart was probably equally badly off and she smoked regularly. I guess she figured going out on her own terms was better than dying a slower, much more painful death when her body failed. I still have the letters she wrote me from jail. I was one of the few people who wrote to her. I’ll read them periodically and be reminded of how far I’ve come. I have something she’ll never have. Tomorrow.

Rest well, my friend. We miss you.