It’s 2 in the morning.
And I am awake.
My sleep schedule has been off. Then again, everything seems to have been off this year.
I’ve been challenged, physically and emotionally, in ways that I’ve never really been challenged before.
They say that bad luck comes in 3’s. My luck seems to suck at math.
I have had bronchitis three times this year, the flu twice, and mono once. I had an allergic reaction to the meds they gave me. I’ve sprained my ankle twice. I had a flare up with my bad knee. My migraines have started up again. I’ve lost and regained at least 40 lbs this year, from stress and illness.
Each time I faced the challenges. Sometimes I even did it with a touch of grace and compassion for myself. Other times, not so much.
But then the physical challenges expanded and they were no longer just mine.
Callie, as mentioned in my previous post, was diagnosed with progressive kidney disease. A childhood friend passed away after a tough battle with cancer, which honestly, hit me much harder than I thought it would. This social medium that we use has a way of keeping wounds fresh at times.
Through it all, I continued to lose my appetite and my sleep patterns became more erratic. I wondered if this was the new Normal.
And then the nature of the challenges changed.
In August, my dear friend and ex-husband told me that he was moving to DC with our youngest pup. He has been my constant since moving together to California in 2007. After he moved out in 2010, we still kept a close friendship; we even became roommates again in 2013.
This time, instead of trying to stop the bleeding of loss and tears of change, I decided to rip off another Band-Aid: I ended my four year on-and-off again relationship.
I’ve often said that you can learn a lot about a person based on how they enter a body of water, be it a pool or the ocean, or some variation in between.
You have the toe-dippers, who test the waters before they make their decisions. Once they decide to enter, they ease into the water, slowly acclimating to the temperature. Some don’t allow themselves time to adapt and they exit the water.
And then there are people like me, people who dive into the water, allowing the shock to ripple through our bodies, knowing that while the process can be more painful in depth, its better (for us) than the slower alternative.
The same applies with my emotions.
I don’t want to wait and heal from the first injury… only to then have to tear off another Band-Aid. Let’s just deal with them all at one time, learn our lessons, and move forward. Maybe it’s my Germanic blood but I just want to process, categorize and proceed, quickly and efficiently.
This week I was watching (and re-watching) the new Late Show with Stephen Colbert, where he touchingly interviews an emotional and articulate Joe Biden.
And Biden says something that resonated with me:
“Think of all the people you know who are going through horrible things and they get up every morning, and they put one foot in front of the other. And they don’t have anything like the support I have. I marvel, I marvel …at the ability of people to absorb hurt and just get back up. And most of them do it with an incredible sense of empathy to other people.“
And I think to myself: My challenges have been small in comparison but my support has been HUGE.
My life is rich in Friendship. People continue to AMAZE me by how compassionate and caring they have been. Today, after seeing Callie’s recent and rapid deterioration, one dear, sweet friend even offered me an afternoon where I can just cry it out in a safe, accepting space, while she just holds me. People text me to check on me and tell me that they are here, that they have my back. One remarkable person even volunteered to assist with Callie’s fluid injections to help save the toil on Callie…and on my wallet. I am awestruck at the generosity of people.
And what I’ve learned is this:
Friendship is the Greatest Salve of Wounds that I know.
And at this rate, I should be comfortably swimming, and hopefully sleeping, in no time…