Thursday, January 7, 2016

A stubbed toe - an amputated foot - same thing right?

Well I broke down and ate in the break room today with all of the co-worker friends I used to eat with; something I had really not done in a year and a half. 

It was a colossal mistake.

I only sat there long enough to eat a bowl of soup and was back at my desk in less than twenty minutes.  It was long enough however, to wreck the rest of my day.

The table conversation was about one of the girls’12-year old dogs.  She had four when we used to eat together.  A few years ago we both had a Chihuahua and I made the mistake of asking about hers. She told me that he had died around this time last year.  I told her how sorry I was to hear that at which she replied “I know. It was awful.  Losing him was just as bad as…” and she stopped dead in her tracks leaving the unsaid words hanging in mid-air.  Both of us sat in awkward silence knowing what she was about to say.  I was sitting desperately trying to think of what I was going to do if she had actually said it.  I probably would have stuffed it down, pretended I had to run back to work and brushed it off to keep from making a scene and making her feel bad.  But I was sitting there looking down at my phone staring at the wallpaper into those beautiful smiling brown eyes and what I wanted to do was shove that picture at her and say:  “Really?  Really losing your dog is exactly like losing him? I beg to differ with you.  I’ve had dogs.  I’ve had dogs I really, really loved but at no point would I compare the loss to losing my child.”

I remember sitting and watching the videos in GriefShare and hearing the story from a mother that had lost her two-year old to a drowning, tell about being somewhere in a social situation and having someone come up to her in a gesture of “comfort” and tell her to “Look at the bright-side, at least you won’t have to potty-train him.” What is wrong with people?

A few weeks back I ran into a friend.  She was visibly upset and when I stopped and asked her if she was okay the dam broke and she burst into uncontrollable tears.  I grabbed her and said, “Hey what is wrong?  What can I do? Are you okay?”  Instantly I felt the pain of her grief because judging from her reaction clearly someone important to her --had died. 

Nope.  Turns out she had a fight with her best friend and she had not called her in four days…

I seem to compare every loss against "this" and everything seems small in comparison. However, in all fairness I have sat and thought about what was earth-shattering drama to me just weeks before this happened.  I've thought many times about what I worried about, lost sleep over and even obsessed over.  How I would love to go back to a time of innocence where my biggest worry was getting in the long check out line at Publix or how aggravating it was to get cut off in traffic. Oh to go back to when I was blissfully unaware about how terribly cruel life could really be.  

I could sit down at any given time and cry and scream solid until this time next year and not even put a dent in all I have to cry about.  We could start with how the pain of losing my child, my daughter-in -law and my baby just goes on and on and how still seventeen months later I keep reliving that horrific day or waking up in a panic as I realize it is, in fact, really “real” over and over again.  Or I could cry about my sister and all that she is having to go through as I worry over her every single day as she fights the effects of not only the leukemia but worse still the treatment; overcoming one trial just in time for the next one to hit and sometimes they are overlapping.  Not to mention the frustration of going from doctor to doctor to doctor and the multitude of medication she has to take and all of the diagnostic procedures she is still having to suffer through not to mention the financial devastation of millions upon millions of dollars in medical bills that she will never be able to pay.  Or maybe on a slow day I could cry for the way that Brian’s existing two children are running off the rails trying to deal with all of this and the feeling of despair that I feel as I watch helplessly as their lives slowly deteriorate as this cancer slowly eats away at my family.  Or when I have nothing else to cry about – I could cry about the fact that after a year and a half I still do not even know what happened to my children or why and worse still is the fact that I may never know that.  Or I could cry over the fact that my other son has not spoken to me in almost a year because he has so much anger and nowhere to constructively place it so it landed on me.  So instead of losing one son, a daughter-in-law, the baby I adored – I can, for no real reason that I can understand, lose two. 

My entire family is in shambles and if that is not enough and friends are the subject of the day if I have any tears left I could cry about the friends I have lost as a result of this – not just one but several in all areas of my life.  Church friends, neighbor friends, work friends as well as the one friend that has shared every aspect of my life for the previous 37 years.  And I don’t even have tears enough left over to cry for my loss of her.  Sadly she is way down the list.  I’m sure I will get to it eventually – maybe in eight or ten years I can find time and tears to grieve the loss of that relationship. And then as icing on the proverbial cake there is the loss of my faith as I knew it and the loss of the relationship I have always had with my God and my comforter and really --what can compare with that? 

I have so much to grieve over that I don’t even know where to begin.  It will literally take years to even get through the list and so far I’m not having much luck getting past number one.

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