A Rock Feels No Pain

In despero , obscurum ; In Diligo , Lux lucis. (In despair, darkness; In Love, Light). -Me

Five Years Ago

Today, I was in California, on an unfortunately extended visit; I’d flown an airplane from my home in NY, to return it to the owner & have a weeks vacation with my mom & dad.

That was on October 1; the unfortunate part is that while there, mom’s health spiraled down, and by the 5th, I was calling my siblings with a simple message: “It’s time to get out here.”

Mom held on long enough for all four of us to get to her, and we had some times when she was awake and lucid enough to share a few special moments together, but mostly at that point the painkillers were keeping her pretty foggy.

She died, five years ago today, and I still miss her, dammit.

Dammit mom, I miss you, what’d you have to go and do a silly thing like dying for?

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Filed under: anniversary

Skipping ahead, and back, and around- and it’s good

I’m skipping ahead, from where I stopped last post. Why? Because it’s my blog, and I can! Okay, so really, it’s because this week- tomorrow, actually- marks the one year anniversary of an event that has been on my mind lately. I don’t know if I’ll ever forget dates, I’ve written about that before- but either way, since I don’t seem to be able to get it out of my head, I thought I’ll share a bit here, and see if it helps.

I wrote about this, sort of, on my return, here:
But, I’d never particularly said what it was that threw me into said tailspin. Last year, about the time we we were redecorating my daughter’s room, I was doing something or other to Lynn’s computer. While doing that, I had seen some things that indicated that an attachment to one of her gaming friends had gone beyond just good friends, and it tossed me backwards, and down.

Good old black thing, seeing this, reared up it’s ugly, cold self, and tried once again to swallow me up. By that night, I was a complete, gibbering, useless emotional wreck. (Do you know that even knowing that it’s an illness, etc, and all that- it’s really not easy to admit to falling apart like that?) (Good thing I know you wont tell anyone, huh?) There was very little room for any forms of rational thought, nor was there any space being left for what I KNEW I should be doing, namely praying and letting God take this on. I have a hard time with that, though, which is one of the things that the depression both causes, and feeds upon. When you feel useless, and worthless, and unable to consider any value in yourself- well, then, why would God? After all, He knows better than anyone just how worthless I am, right?

It’s a nasty, vicious, icky cycle, and about the only good thing I can say for it, is that it certainly does keep you from doing things. Oh yes, if you want to have no ability to function, then go for the depression. Other than that? No, not-so-good.

Anyway, I was falling apart, completely. I had fallen so fast, and so deeply, that Lynn felt the need to hide the car keys, and to move medicines, and to keep a careful eye on me, in case I found a knife, or a razor. That terror, that fear in her eyes, was about the only thing that could have, that finally did, penetrate. I knew, somewhere, someplace inside, that even through the mistrust and anger I was feeling towards her, and her friend, and my own uncertainty about what that meant for our relationship- I knew that I hated that look even more than I hated myself.

Now, a couple years ago, I may well have made the determination that I could eliminate the look, if I eliminated myself. How extremely logical, no? No fear in your wife’s eyes, if you’re not around to have a wife anymore, right?

Thankfully, the God that I just KNEW found me useless and worthless, didn’t. No, once again, He whispered, he reminded me that I was still around for a reason, and that even if I didn’t understand that reason, He did; and He’d let me know why when I was ready to hear it, but that right now, tonight, I needed to stay alive, and here’s the handy solution. Harder solution, yes- but the right one. He told me, get going, dude-

So, I checked into the nut-hut (Behavioral Psychology Medicine Unit, for those that insist on boring, uninteresting names for things). I spent just under a week there, working with the Docs and Nurses, and the counselors and other patients. Something very unsettling, about realizing that the reason the orderlies come into the room every 20 minutes, is to make sure you’re not dead; yes, the whole ward was monitored, basically on a suicide watch, the entire time, every one of us.

I’ll tell you this though, as I reflect over the past year, look back on that day. I am much, much stronger than I was then, much healthier. I know this, because of something that happened just three weeks ago. I was going to start the car, warm it up before church, so went to get the keys from Lynn’s purse. Can you imagine the smack in the face I felt, when I found a couple of phone-calling-cards, and two pictures of the guy from a couple years ago, that had nearly ripped us apart? Yeah, that guy. The one that “I’ve not spoken to, chatted with, thought of, in xxxxx time.”

Yeah, the one that during the first seven months of what I call the Hell Time, was a repeated occurance. Lies, evasions, half-truths, but never actually stopping contact.

That, was a nasty, ugly slap in the face. Every old feeling, all the old fears and jealousy and anger, plus the new anger that arose, thinking that all this time, all the work we’d been doing, all the professions of love and newly rekindled relationship, was all false.

But- and this, my friends, is the much more interesting part, to me- I’m still here. I didn’t spiral into a suicidal depression; I didn’t leave; I didn’t kill myself, or her, or him. In fact, I managed to get to church, and do what I needed to do: I prayed. I prayed to God, to let me see what and why this was back, what I needed to do, what was he wanting from or for me.

And, once again- He answered. He answered through the conversation I had with Lynn, later that day, when instead of leaving, I listened. Seems, the purse she’d grabbed from the closet the day before was an old one, not her current one; she needed to use something, because she’d left hers in the car, and it was with one of the kids. So, she grabbed this one, tossed her wallet and keys in it, and did whatever. Forgetting to get the other one from the car, well, who cared? Her point, was that the photos, the calling cards, were old and outdated. They were not anything she kept intentionally, nothing that she cared about.

As we talked, I fought the unease, the disbelief, the doubts that were there, and did my best to listen with the knowledge that I’d gained in the last two years. Knowledge of her love, through the looks she gives me, of the laughing and fun and joy we’ve re-found; of the love, of the play, of the sex and the giddy silliness that we’ve been sharing, all of these things were in my head as I listened, and tried to counter the ugly, horrible, outdated feelings.

And, my friends- I won. It worked, that time the black thing didn’t stand a chance. By that night, we were wrapped in one another’s arms, entwined and loving one another, making love, hugging, talking. Sharing, as we’ve learned to, the bad times- and rejoicing in the good times, celebrating in love, and fighting off the bad.

Totally different reactions, from one year to another; from one guy, to another guy, from a real threat, to an imagined threat, to a past threat, and once more, God told me to stick around, that He’s not done with me yet. As I was thinking about last year, and what a horrible time it was, how depressed I was, I also couldn’t help noticing something else; Yesterday, in the car, I was singing to Beth and Lynn, singing along with a cd we’d made years ago.

Perhaps you know the song, “I can see clearly now”. Well, the line I loved, and actually repeated, because it seemed so fitting: “I think I can make it now, the pain is gone…
All of the bad feelings have disappeared…
Here is the rainbow I’ve been prayin’ for…
It’s gonna be a bright, bright, bright, bright sun shiney day.”

Works for me.

Filed under: "cuckoos nest", "mental illness", anniversary, Black Thing, depression, God, lynn, meanderings, progress, razor blade, , , ,

Twenty-Two

Twenty Two. 22. XXII, if you like roman numerals.

For over half of my life, as of August 10th, 2007, we’ve been married.

We were young, we were poor, people said we were foolish, that it was a mistake. They were wrong, you know- or, maybe you don’t know, but I do. We aren’t all that young anymore, we’re still foolish sometimes, but it wasn’t a mistake.

No, it’s a glorious, wonderful adventure. We’ve dealt with things, for the most part shoulder to shoulder and working things out well. We’ve been poor, and there were times when the division of cash between gas money to get to work and macaroni and “can we get hot-dogs too” were pretty stressful.

We’ve been through the births and lives (so far) of four of the most wonderful kids that God ever graced this planet with, and dealt with the pain of a non-birth. We’ve had times when we’ve been on the top of the world, and others when the world was weighing so heavily, I wondered if we could survive.

We’ve been ill, we’ve been well, we’ve had periods when we couldn’t stand being away from one another for an hour, and times when if we had to see the other, it hurt.

But-

Through it all, through depression, alcoholism, through hormone-balancing medicines, visits to the emergency room and the island, we’ve managed, somehow, to continue in our muddling and inexpert way, to survive- together.

One year ago, plus and minus a few months, if you’d asked how we, as a couple, are doing, the answer could very well have been “what is this couple thing of which you speak?”

Today, we’re closer than we’ve been in years, and growing closer by leaps and bounds, every day. There are still moments, which will probably continue, when the effort is huge, the communication tasks are daunting. We’re probably no more sensible overall with finances and the mundane day-to-day things, but we’re in a position now where at least we know that we’ll eat, we’ll feed and shelter and clothe the kids, that we can enjoy some things that many others would envy.

So, if you ask today, how are we doing as a couple, the answer would have to be different: “Couple? We’re not a couple, we’re one with each other again. As it should be.”

I love you Lynn, with all my heart and soul and mind and body, with all that I am, with all that I have, and I am looking forward to another half of my lifetime with you.

Filed under: anniversary, love, lynn, marriage, relationship

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Ancient History