Who Will Catch Me When I Fall?

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Today is one of those horrible anniversaries of a BAD November day, a day that was most likely the worst day of my life.  I have been thinking a lot about that fact this past week in anticipation of this hated date.  It truly was the worst day of my life, and that makes me feel bad.  It makes me feel guilty.  I have lost loved ones through death, but not on this date.  On this date, my horrible experience was something worse than that of losing someone through death.  That makes me feel bad and guilty, so I have been trying to examine what happened and what went wrong.  Unfortunately, all the fingers point to me.  I have no one to blame but myself for getting to a point in my life where I was truly alone in my pain and grief.

While the experience of losing a child, or my dad, or when Andrew had his terrible accident were all gut-wrenchingly horrible to live through, I didn’t blame myself.  Those things were “just life” or bad luck.  During those terrible times, I felt surrounded by love.  I had a safety net.  I had people there to catch me when I fell and to soften the blow.  On this WORST November day, I was utterly alone.  I was crushed by ugliness, lies, and betrayal, but no one knew.  No one cared.  I had destroyed my safety net.  Those good people who had once been there for me where no longer around.  My dad was gone.  My friends had long since washed their hands of my troubles.  My family was clueless.  I had taught them through my actions to simply “leave me alone,” so they did.

I had made a mess of my life, but I thought I could handle it.  I thought everything would be OK.  That was not the case, though, not on that dark November night.  On that night, the very flimsy ground that was my foundation crumbled out from under me.  No one cared.  I had misplaced my trust.  Those I thought cared, did not.  Those who did care, had no clue.  I was truly alone for the first time in my life.  I wanted to die.  Truly, literally, I wanted to end my own life.  It scares me now to remember that BAD November day.  It scares me that those whom I thought would care, did not.  It scares me that those who did care, had no clue.  It has been a long struggle back from that dark place.  Many times, I have wished for a quick magical cure, but there is no magical cure to the pain life sometimes brings.

Last night, I thought about the times in my life that have been seasons of grief.  I thought about those other, more rational times of grief, and I realized how things have changed in my life in the past several years.  My Dad, my friend and father, he TALKED to me.  He and I talked about anything and everything.  During some of the most horrible times in my life, I could always count on Dad’s daily phone call.  On days when all I wanted was to pull the covers over my head, Dad would call, and I always answered.  We would talk about politics, religion, local news, or current events.  He always had a story.  He always made me smile.   He pulled me through some of the toughest times in my life.  He has been gone now for almost two years.  Without a doubt, those two years have been the worst years of my life, not because my dad has been gone, but because my life was a mess (and only got worse) at the time of his death.  Oh, how different these past two years would have been if my dad had been there as a steady, loving part of my life.

These past two years have been terrible.  I have learned some valuable lessons the hard way.  We are all responsible for our own actions.  I will repeat that one, because it is important.  WE ARE ALL RESPONSIBLE FOR OUR OWN ACTIONS.  No I didn’t deserve to go through such a hellish experience, but as I said, when I look back at the circumstances, all fingers point at me.  If my trust was misplaced, who placed it wrongly?  Me.  If I went through a terrible experience, and no one was around for me to lean on, whose fault was that?  Mine.  I AM RESPONSIBLE FOR MY OWN ACTIONS.

Slowly, I am rebuilding the foundation of my life.  Many of the people who were once part of my support system are gone, but I am learning to reach out again to the good people in my life.  More importantly, I am trying my best to be good to others and to be there for those good people in my life.

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I live in a house that is over 100 years old.  Closet space apparently wasn’t a top priority in the olden days.  Although, from what I understand, the room that is my bedroom was once the maid’s quarters.  Kind of fitting, I think!  😉  My closet is very small.  T doesn’t even get to use it at all.  He keeps his clothes in another, far-off location.

Tonight I was in the midst of my bi-annual, change of season, clothes swap.  Out with the light summer clothes, and in with the warmer fall and winter wardrobe.  I actually enjoy this.  I sort through everything.  I bag up what I won’t wear again.  T knows a family who is always happy to take our  cast-offs.  Other items are greeted like an old friend.  I love to dig out my ratty gray sweaters each fall.  I love to wear the ugly, old gray sweaters on the weekends, and I have an impressive collection.

This year, I came across something that made me suck in my breath and rock back on my heals.  I was bending over a box, and I had to sit down on the floor.  It was my yellow skirt.  I once loved that skirt.  I purchased it online at J Crew.  It’s soft corduroy, a lovely goldenrod color, and it looks great with my tall black boots.  As much as I loved that skirt, my hand recoiled when I grabbed it out of the box.  I dropped it like it was a white-hot flame.  I almost shoved it into the give-away bag to get it out of my sight.  I haven’t worn it in almost a year.  I can remember every single, excruciating moment of that day, the day I last wore that skirt.  I remember my nervousness, nervousness turned to fear.  I remember the pacing for what seemed like hours.  I remember the phone call I eventually got the nerve up to make.  I remember the disbelief.  I remember the betrayal.  Yes, but all of that is another story.

Tonight, I sat looking at the skirt and remembering.  I held it close to me, and I was grateful that it was tonight and not that night almost a year ago.  Tonight I was safe.  The boys are happily away at school.  The girls, T and I had just finished dinner along with happy conversation.  The girls were doing homework.  T was watching football.  I was cleaning.  Most importantly, I was feeling  calm and content.  At least I had been in those moments before discovering the skirt.

As I held the yellow skirt, I thought of the other things that I hang onto that remind me of other life traumas.  I have the green Peridot earrings that I wore the day baby Adam lost his life.  They are his birthstone, and I had bought them to welcome my new baby.   Sometimes I pick them up, and I remember.  I have the dangly amber earrings that I was wearing on the day of Andrew’s accident.  I put them on each year on that date, April 21.  I wear them as a talisman and a symbol of the victory we had over tragedy.  There are many more things, other things that I have kept for years, all of them with personal meaning.  None of them represent lies and betrayal, though.  Some of these other things represent loss, yes, but they also represent love and great meaning in my life.  I held the skirt, and wondered what to do.  It’s just a skirt, and I like it.  I put it on a hanger and smoothed it out.  I’m keeping it.  It can’t hurt me now, and it represents nothing worth keeping in my life.  It’s just a skirt.

There will be other things in my life that, in the future,  will suddenly, irrevocably become triggers of memory and deep emotion.  I wonder what they will be?