PlazaJen: Passion Knit

Friday, June 09, 2006

I need help.

Three little words.

Nine letters total.

You wouldn’t think that tiny little sentence would be so big, would you? It is, for me. I find myself steering away from the phrase, as violently and sharply as spotting your ex-boyfriend at the mall with his new girlfriend. Turnabout, about-face, rigid spine, determined marching. Can’t do it. Can’t say it. Won’t.

Don’t worry. I have a therapist. A really good one, and we talked about this. We talked about everything, as I attempt to cope & deal with my father’s illness, and my own grief, because that’s truly what it is. I have pulled myself inward, retreating with my big ball of emotions, protecting myself and building a buffer. After all, plenty of people who don’t know me very well are asking me how my dad’s doing, or just asking me how I’m doing, and I’m a terrible liar. I’ve had to adhere to The Skim, which is to breeze by the question with a non-informative, shut-down answer & deflect to something else. I know they mean well by asking, and they want to know, but it get exhausting to repeat things and talk talk talk about it and listen to someone try to give you hope or yet another perspective. To borrow from Jack Nicholson, I’m all full up here.

You might think this is a bad idea, and I see it a multitude of ways, because this is not a subject that is clearly defined, black & white, or right & wrong. In many ways, my sadness & grief are very solitary experiences. I am not the first, nor will I be the last, to have these emotions, I know this, but I am very alone with them: I have no siblings, my mother has no love for my father & she and I haven’t spoken in nearly 3 years, and I am losing the one person who has always been there. Always. I am blessed to have such a loving, caring husband, with a family behind him who loves me & cares about me. I have a tremendous group of friends, both here and in the land of the internet. I do not like to break down at work, or in front of many people. I have difficulty right now talking about what is going on, because the sadness shoots up inside and closes my throat, and the only other way out is through tears. I have to function, I have to do my job, interact with others, have some positive experiences, and I cannot do those things if I’m horrible-face crying all the time.

So today, I’m going to practice trying a little bit, to ask for a smidge of help. I’ve asked a friend to see if there are any support groups that meet my (somewhat stringent) criteria – the cancer support groups all seem to support the people with cancer, and the hospice groups support people who’ve already lost someone. There aren’t any purgatory support groups, for those who wait and hope and grieve and sit with this huge mixture of loss and love and pain and guilt and anger and all you can do is wait and try not to fall apart. I know I’m not the only one, but it is hard, feeling like the lonely one sometimes, especially when my entire approach to life is to be strong, to seek intellectual answers and solutions through research & action, to do the right thing, to do it yourself. Small steps, but today, I asked for a little help.

I say I’m tired of hoping, but that’s not true. Hope springs eternal, and I give you these absolutely beautiful words to prove it:

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.
-- Emily Dickinson
posted by PlazaJen, 11:49 AM