“The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” – William Faulkner
I’ve been through some bad shit in my life. The kind of shit that causes me to wake up in the middle of the night screaming, drenched in sweat. After the shit, I have been absolutely positively unable to have more than two alcoholic drinks in a public place at one time. I am vigilant about locking my doors and when I lived alone, I would lock the door to my bedroom as well as the outside door.
Sometimes its’ really bad but I am able to work, I went to law school, and have done some pretty awesome things so for all practical purposes, I haven’t let it control my life but there are some marks. My grades could have been higher or I could have… well… that is pointless really.
So when I read this letter from the advice column “Dear Sugar,” I cried like a girl.
You will never stop loving your daughter. You will never forget her. You will always know her name. But she will always be dead. Nobody can intervene and make that right and nobody will. Nobody can take it back with silence or push it away with words. Nobody will protect you from your suffering. You can’t cry it away or eat it away or starve it away or walk it away or punch it away or even therapy it away. It’s just there, and you have to survive it. You have to endure it. You have to live though it and love it and move on and be better for it and run as far as you can in the direction of your best and happiest dreams across the bridge that was built by your own desire to heal. Therapists and friends and other people who live on Planet My Baby Died can help you along the way, but the healing—the genuine healing, the actual real deal down-on-your-knees-in-the-mud change—is entirely and absolutely up to you.
It was a letter from a woman who miscarried her baby. It was a girl. It’s a year since it happened and she is still not over it. Sometimes, I wonder if I have ran far enough. Sometimes I wonder if I have healed enough or if I am at a point of “better.” It’s been real hard to admit that a little pain over “the shit” is still going to be there. I have the psychological equivalent of a bad knee. Sometimes it’s just going to hurt and that’s the way it is. Sometimes I wonder if that attitude is just me giving up. Sometimes I’m just tired of it being there like a monkey on my back. Sometimes I just want to stab my brain with a butter knife and hope I hit it.
For many years, I ignored “the shit” and went all bad ass with the “I’m not going to let this affect my life.” That worked for a while but like running on a sprained ankle, eventually it just gives out. And that’s what happened to me. One day, it was like the pain had just built up over time and then by the time, I just couldn’t take it anymore, it had become this big insurmountable thing that was smothering me.
So I have cried and screamed and begged and pleaded with God, Buddha, the devil, and any other deity, god, or goddess that I thought would listen. I wrote in my journal and talked to a therapist. Over time, it goes less and less. I guess it’s doable now but I can still have someone say something or read a blog post and be taken back in time. When this happens, I end up spending a night crying in my bed until exhaustion takes over.
So reading that post reminded me of how far I’ve come and how far I have to go. Oh and I cried like a baby.