Life’s vast contradictions are not lost on me, particularly at this time in my life. Over the last eight months I have had three friends die of cancer, my sister’s sweet and loving dog had to be put down, another friend’s dog was killed in a NYC park by another dog in front of her and my wife has fought for her life against ovarian cancer. Oh, did I mention that the anniversary of my father’s death is coming up in May?
Oh this is going to be a fun read Jason! (Insert most ironic reading of that line you can muster.)
I was raised to always look on the bright side of life…
… to appreciate what I have and not complain…
… that this is the best of all possible worlds!
Okay maybe that last part is stretching it a bit but I was taught that there is a “reason for everything”, that there is a “master plan”, that “we are only given what we can handle” and all of this under the aegis of “God’s will”.
I was raised in a family where my father was a preacher in a protestant church. So this was our constant motto “It’s God’s Will”. There was no such thing as luck it was “God’s Will” there were no accidents it was “… you get the point”.
I never questioned it I just lived my life knowing it was all in God’s hands and that whatever happens happens.
Then a year, no eight months, like the last eight months happens and you start to get beat down a bit.
I wrote in a previous blog about the “caregiver” needing to give care to themselves with regard to my being a caregiver in my wife’s journey through cancer. I was complimented on acknowledging that fact – that issue. I don’t profess to have any answers or solid advice on how to do that. I still struggle greatly with dealing with all of the aforementioned deaths.
I am happy and joyous to no end that my wife is alive and that my 10 year old miniature schnauzer, Oscar, is curled up by my feet as I write this.
But I also have pangs of empathy, sympathy and something that closely resembles guilt, although I don’t think it can be precisely defined as such, for my friends passing and the loved ones they leave behind, that just completely smack my ass down.
I’ve tried and continue to try any and all avenues to escape, intellectually deal with, confront, run away from, mask… the hurt and anger I feel.
Talk therapy is at the top of the list of things I seek out. If I can intellectually understand where I am emotionally, why I am feeling like I do, the cause of my hurting and also know that I have no control whatsoever over anything – that’s a great start.
I try to simply “witness” what is going on in any particular moment, not “judge” the situation, sure, but mostly to not judge myself, to be kind to myself by allowing myself to have my feelings (anger, frustration, sadness, hopelessness etc…)
But even as much as I ponder my particular predicament overwhelming emotions take hold. So what’s the quick fix?
A great mixologist?…
A good friend?…
… all of the above at times, I suppose, even though some of these can be at cross purposes.
One very important outlet I do have is running, running, running.
This blog was written in my head yesterday as I was going for an 11.5 mile run. I started off to clear my head and to hopefully blow out the sadness that was consuming me from our friend’s dog being killed the day before.
(How is it that sometimes a pet passing is more difficult to deal with than another human being? Not always but sometimes.)
I wanted to run past the park I had seen my friend and her dog play in near her home uptown. The day was gorgeous. The sun had begun to shine like it hadn’t in quite a while. The temperature was starting to move up and it was a perfect day to stretch the legs.
The closer I got to my friends neighborhood the darker the skies became. Then the clouds opened up and poured out their own salty tears. It made complete sense that this would happen as there was so much sadness in this part of town.
Not only was it raining but the wind started whipping up like an unexpected Nor’easter.
I felt like I was consumed by my own emotional metaphor. I couldn’t catch a break. Even when I tried to do something good for myself I was being knocked this way and that – bashed this way and that.
“I GET IT! Life is tough… We have our challenges… Keep moving forward… Keep your head high… Don’t give up… Be resilient, resourceful and rebound!!!”
I thought, enough already, I don’t need any more “lessons”! How many more things can happen to those around me? What can happen to me?! Is that what I’m being prepared for?
(stupid emotional metaphor)
“Fuck you God!”
I got downright angry.
I had never said “Fuck you God” before. My, oh my, never would that sentence have passed my lips. My dad’s ashes are swirling around in his urn. My mom is gritting her teeth as she reads this blog post. I’m slightly embarrassed and ashamed BUT also relieved to just let my honest feelings out.
I don’t have a “take away” to sum up this blog. I think just honestly sharing where I am at this particular time is what I somehow need in order to process where I am and to “move forward”.
I don’t even know that this lesson will stay with me, ground me for further bashings from my stupid emotional metaphors. But this is where I am now. I’m witnessing what I’m feeling and not judging myself – even the “Fuck you God”.
Be good to yourself and I’ll try.