I’d Say I’m Fine…But I’d Be Lying
What is it with me and November?
Or maybe just: what is it with November?
Life, once again, has gone to sh*t.
This time it involves someone I love very, very deeply – the same someone as last time, actually. What is it with THEM and November? – and their struggle with (what seems to be) addiction…or insanity…but probably addiction. I don’t know. They haven’t spoken to me or answered a text or email in eight days, even though they bought me a ticket to be with them on Thanksgiving. The plane leaves Tuesday, but I have no idea if I should even get on it.
To say I am confused would be the understatement of the century.
To say I am in agony doesn’t begin to capture this extraordinary anguish.
There are no words for this experience. Just tears and insomnia and punctuations of anger and loneliness and grace.
To be fair, it all started in October, maybe even September. When you back into a mystery still unfolding, it is nearly impossible to “know” what you knew or when or where or what or why or if what your mind is remembering is even relevant.
Still, some sort of dark snow fell on everything a few months ago. I felt it. I was afraid. I simply didn’t know what was happening at the time or how to stop it.
I commented to a friend the other day that this must be a small slice of what it’s like for parents whose children have been abducted: you just don’t know. You don’t know if they’re dead or alive, you are trapped between hope and grief. You can never really begin to mourn. You wake up in a foreign country filled with pain and despair, with no map or any sense of where you are, what has happened to your life or your love, or why.
It’s so tempting to blame myself. To try to find some way to take ownership or control of a situation that is clearly so insane, so beyond normal understanding. I can’t – may never – comprehend what is happening because there is no logic. Still, this is not my fault.
My teacher tells me that there is a lesson here for my soul. Something it has chosen to learn.
I personally think my soul needs a black eye and a serious talking to.
And my soul is not the only one I’m pissed off at. If it wasn’t a broke down jalopy these days, I’d hijack the Space Shuttle and go give God a punch as well. I’m not much of a boxer, but after I pulled his hair and screamed at him awhile, he might realize I was there.
Then there is the fear.
Is this person okay?
If it is drugs – meth probably, as they struggled with addiction to it in their past – will it suck them into its little hell? Will they lose their job, their home, their teeth, their health, their sanity, their life?
Will I have to bear some sort of witness or do I have the strength to walk away?
Is that strength?
Seeking guidance from my friends who are recovered addicts, there is no clear answer. If he had cancer, would I abandon him? Never. Anyone who’s ever read this blog from November(see!? There’s November again) to January 2009-10 know the faithful friend I am.
Do you walk away from someone you love when they are struggling – even if they won’t admit it – unless you give it your best shot to help them wake up and ask for help first?
I don’t know.
But then again, how do you help them wake up if they won’t even speak to you? If you are the one person they’ve cut off simply for knowing them too well?
I am the only one he has exposed this crisis to…even if his method of exposure has been suddenly and inexplicably avoiding me, but I don’t know that he wants my help. Everything I’ve read says they have to want it for themselves, and so far he is showing no signs of that.
Then there is my own loss. My plans, my future, so many hopes and dreams wrapped up in this person and who they were, who we were or might have been. All that is lost now, irretrievably broken.
There are these little moments that take me by surprise in their awfulness. This vague sense that something is missing, something just a little to my left. Something that was always there before yet somehow invisible like my glasses or a background noise. I pause, wondering what it could be and realize…him. It’s an emptiness as big as the room.
And all explanations – insanity, drugs, revelation that this is simply the cruelest, coldest, and most heartless human being in the world – totally suck.
I’m doing what I always do: crying, talking myself blue trying to “understand” what is happening, putting one foot in front of the other.
Still, as I mentioned, there is grace. There are the friends who have come forward simply to ask if I was all right and the “inner circle” who have listened to me spin and spin and retell every detail and clue in my own sober mania. Those who have called or picked up the phone at truly unreasonable hours or checked in if they haven’t heard anything from me for a while.
I am so grateful I am not an addict or plagued with mental illness or even just cruelty. Life is hard enough without these extra burdens, and I do know – no matter what – I will be just fine.
Then the sadness, the despair, the “how could you do this to me?”, the fear, the “why!?” The whole avalanche of every crappy feeling in the book.
I am grateful to have good guidance through this darkness; my beloved teacher I have spoken of many times before.
She adopted and raised 17 fetal drug and alcohol children (and fostered many more) and her advice to me is not only loving and kind, but rich with wisdom and experience. She knew her kids’ birth parents, let them come around, suffered terribly at some of their hands…and then watched as they remembered none of it.
Thanks to her patience and love, I came to my own decision somehow on Tuesday afternoon.
I decided to put away my disappointment and anger and outrage and taking this personally, and only send pure, unconditional love. I think about him every few hours and just imagine him bathed in it and hope somewhere in there, wherever he is, he can feel it and it might ignite his own knowing of his value and importance in this world.
I was sitting on a lawn chair when I made this decision, and I emailed my teacher to tell her what I had decided.
As I hit “send” on my phone, I saw something come toward me from the left. It was a Hawaiian Peace Dove, which proceeded to land on my knee.
Those babies are as big as a pigeon and its claws kind of hurt my skin, so I screamed bloody murder and it flew off. That detail makes the story a lot less magical, however, so let’s just stick with the omen and wonder if maybe I don’t need that Space Shuttle after all.