Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Messed Up

I don't usually post pictures of myself (for lots of reasons), but I'm posting this one because it's of me and my friend's son, and he's on my mind and in my heart all the time now, along with his mom and dad and brother and sister.

Over New Year's, we spent a Sunday afternoon in a ginormous indoor playground at the mall (hence the lovely orange bracelet I'm sporting) and then we went out for ice cream and candy.  At this point, he was about a week into his radiation and chemo treatments.

(I had already finished my ice-cream, of course).

Don't be fooled by my smile: it's been a tough few months.  I always wish I could be with him and my friend and her family, but work and life call me away. 

It just doesn't seem like this is where I should be right now.  Some things in life are more important than others.   My experience has taught me that.  But right now, I'm hundred of miles away... For another month, at least.

I make a lot of emotional mistakes when I'm sad, I've found.  When I struggle, I turn to the wrong people, or I turn back to the wrong people.  Gotta cut that out. 

It's all about finding the right kind of support and not looking in the wrong places--places where you already know you won't find it. 

Easier said than done.

Having lost both of my parents and three of my friends in the last four years, I've found that I see everything through the lens of potential loss, and the news about my friend's son has only added to that tendency.

I find that in every situation now, I think, "What if this is it?  What if you never see this person again? How do you want to leave it?" and that affects my decisions.  And then I wake up the next day and realize that I've put myself back in a situation that did nothing but upset and undermine me. 

So I take myself out of it.  Again.  When it would have been easier to just stay out of it (again) in the first place.

They say that you should live every day as if it was your last, but really, no, you shouldn't. If you do, you'll 1) start to seem schizophrenic, and 2) torment yourself constantly and unnecessarily. 

Live each day for what it is.  If you screw it up, well, there's tomorrow, and when tomorrow comes, remember what today was--good and bad--and then try to make it better.

Personal resolve is the number one casualty of grief, I've found.  

I'm so grateful to have so many friends in so many places--my posse--who give me a good talking-to when I need it, but who always do it in a way that makes me feel stronger and smarter than I am. 

They remind me of who I am and why I am the way I am, and they remind me that it matters enormously how we treat each other.  I have no idea how or why I got so lucky to find all of them.  Really.

Today, I'm thinking of one of my favorite quotes from Annie Dillard:
"There are no events but thoughts and the heart's hard turning, the heart's slow learning where to love and whom. The rest is merely gossip, and tales for other times."
I'm lucky in that I've always known where to love and whom, and how to recognize someone who is, in the end, merely gossip and a tale for another time.

1 comment:

Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, "Life is short, but there is always time for courtesy."