Well, here it is. The tail end of 4 months. The 4 months that changed the course of my life forever. Those 4 months bring repeat and new feelings, every year, for the same 4 month span. And every year, I struggle with how to acknowledge them, how to deal with them, how to embrace them.
What am I suppose to feel? How do I respond? Here’s the thing, I DO NOT do feelings. They make me feel awkward and it’s often easier not to acknowledge them at all.
What’s healthy coping? What’s not? I may never figure out the right answer for this, as each time presents itself differently.
Most often as I try to figure out what I’m suppose to be feeling or how I’m suppose to respond, I feel judgement. For a long while I worried about the outside world and their response to how I “cope”. Now my response to that is, “go ahead, judge me.” If you can figure out how to battle a day in my life and stay on your feet, walk the line straight, and be everyone’s everything, while trying to be your own everything, be my guest. I’m pretty damn exhausted.
But don’t you ever think I’m not happy. What I have learned through the last 4 months of feeling battling is that I need to be happy. I need to do things for myself. Things that reach towards my goals (these are ever changing and big things are coming). I need to be everyone’s everything, but to do that, I need to be my own everything first. How to balance is the tricky part. And I’ve never been very graceful.
Two years ago, I sent my baby with his surgeon for the third time, in under 4 months, for open heart surgery. A surgery that his surgeon had never done. A surgery that they hadn’t seen in his hospital. I told the surgeon “I trust you.” Knowing that I had put the pressure on him, as he went off to do something new, INSIDE OF MY CHILD!
I shut off my feelings for the day, I wasn’t sure how else to survive, so numb felt appropriate. I waited seven and a half hours that day. I endured negative reports. I was told it was tense. His surgeon was frustrated. They had to make three separate attempts. All of these putting him more at risk. All of these making his odds worse, then and for his future. All of it less than reassuring. How did I feel? I asked for them to take a picture of his heart so I could see it. (This may be one of those unhealthy coping things.)
I sat in a room with my parents and my husband. People that I should’ve felt comfortable to talk to. However, knowing that the feelings I had over the past 4 months could not be understood. I could say them, but no one could feel them like I did. I lived them, every day, every hour, every minute, every second, of those 4 months. I didn’t realize at the time, that I’d continue to live them every day, in different forms, for the rest of my life. I didn’t realize what post traumatic stress really felt like. I didn’t realize the tiny, ridiculous things, that would trigger emotions. Emotions I’m often not prepared to have, at the moment they decide I need to have them.
There were a couple strangers in the waiting room that day. I was annoyed at the new waiting room set up, it left very little privacy, during a very difficult time. Particularly annoyed at the lady who felt the need to eat her burger in the chair, directly under the TV, and engage us in conversation, while she could’ve at least sat on the other side of the divider. Later that afternoon, on the other side of the divider (where she was suppose to be), sat another stranger.
I wish, that that day, I would’ve known I could talk to her. That of all the people in that tense room, with the awkward feelings, she understood. That she would always understand. She wouldn’t judge how I deal with the feelings I don’t admit I have. She wouldn’t judge my ever changing coping mechanisms, healthy or not. She would embrace me, all of the good and bad parts, because she understood. I wish that day that I would’ve known, she’d become my person. And I’d love her just the same, because I understand.
Two years ago today, we sat in a waiting room as strangers. Today we average 20 minutes worth of Voxer messages, 10 gifs, 15 emojis, and unknown amounts of texts on the daily. Today we acknowledge this 2 year anniversary together. A day neither of us will ever forget, but a day that we can now go through together.
I would never expect anyone to understand. You can’t. Heck, some days I can’t. But please, keep your judgment. We’re trying. I’m trying. It’s a process, it’s a life change. The struggle is real. With every season comes new battles, with every step forward, there seems to be more steps backwards. My unacknowledged feelings have come a long way. Most days you best believe I’m moving that mountain. But some days, I’m just trying to keep my son above water, even if I’m drowning. Most and some use to be flipped in those sentences.