Processing

One thing I’ve realized this year is that I have done the majority of my processing by myself.

I’m not feeling sorry for myself around it – just thinking about it.

I have some really amazing friends. I have people available, if and when I call on them. There have definitely been occasions when I have shown up on doorsteps in tears, but more often than not, I have dealt with the bulk of this on my own.

Usually I am more dependent on others, more in need of hashing out every detail and getting affirmation from anyone and everyone who was willing to listen, more in want of advice and guidance from those around me.

But not so much this time.

Maybe because the way it all played out felt enough like middle school that I was didn’t want to create more of it. Maybe it’s because I felt alienated from an entire group of friends. Maybe it’s because I’m embarrassed by all of the drama. Maybe because I figure that everyone is sick to death of listening to me. Maybe because I understand that other people also have hard stuff in their worlds and I didn’t necessarily want to be my narcissistic self when others needed support. Maybe I imagined that no one could understand the absolute insanity of all that was happening.

I leaned on different people for different reasons: different pieces of the drama: like the friend whose son is also a felon or the friend who has offered spiritual guidance to help me remain standing.

I’ve written about it, receiving support from my readers, but so much of what has happened I kept under wraps in my writing because it hasn’t been appropriate to make some things public.

And things kept under wraps are things that I process alone.

It doesn’t matter why or why not. What matters is how I’ve done this.

Has it been good for me?

That’s the main question here.

Has it made me stronger or is it that I haven’t fully dealt with my shit?

I live alone. I do most things alone. I go to the desert alone. I don’t talk on the phone.

I am absolutely a classic introvert but I hate saying that because suddenly it’s hip to be socially awkward and avoid people.

I spent most of the year hiding out – avoiding the possibility of running into anyone that I might not want to encounter.

I feel like my trips to Utah have been the saving grace but maybe it’s been a really unhealthy way of isolating myself?

Because sometimes I am really lonely.

But I might be just as lonely if I had leaned on 50 of my best friends every day all year long.

And now I hesitate to reach out because if I am sick and tired of my world of shit, I can’t imagine how sick and tired of it other people are.

I like to think that it’s been really good for me to stand on my own.

I’m at the rambling point now so I’ll stop.

And most likely pack up the truck and head west.

 

September 14

Tomorrow is the anniversary of the Accident.

One year.

It’s been the longest, saddest, hardest, scariest year of my family’s life, and yet, it feels like it can’t possibly be an entire year since that night.

I haven’t really written many details about the accident or the fallout from it, out of respect for my son and the other families involved. I’m holding true to that but I will share what happened:

My guy and three of his friends chose a random place in the country to hang out and party. Then they all got into my son’s truck to drive home.

He hit a huge cottonwood.

There were broken femurs, a broken jaw, a broken face, a broken neck, and several other serious injuries. Children were airlifted to other hospitals. My son was transferred from police custody to the ICU.

He was charged with 3 felony counts of vehicular assault which each carry a sentence of up to 5 years in prison. Add an aggravated DUI to that with up to a year in county jail for that one – and no, nothing could be served consecutively.

Meanwhile, his friends and their families were moving through the not so gentle aftermath of that night, physically, mentally, and emotionally.

We went through the system, and yes, it is a very slow process.

Painfully so.

When we finally got around to his sentencing we had accepted a plea agreement from the District Attorney, which keeps him out of prison as long as he adheres to demands of his probation for the next 2 years. Also at the end of that two years, he will be able to say that he is not a convicted felon.

The State owns him, which is fine with me – he fucked up – but his life will not be shaped by a felony record.

Most importantly, his three friends are alive and well.

 

 

 

 

my chair

Tonight I took the time to sit under the moon in my chair, a ritual that I lost over the winter.

Shortly after I lay down I got shaky – physically and emotionally – and it was suddenly a year ago and I was in my chair, on the Ranch, trying to continue breathing while I dealt with my devastation.

Then I thought, “In a couple of weeks it will be a year.”

A year.

I can’t say whether this year has gone fast or achingly slow; it’s been both.

The hours I spent under the Ranch cottonwood tree staring at the same mountains in my view tonight, just from a different angle.

I mentally sifted and sorted. I cried, I had a few moments of relief. There was too much noise in my daily life – my chair was the only place where I found some peace.

Prior to the breakup, as things fell apart, I had trouble sleeping. As things got worse, I barely slept at all. And when I did catch a wink of sleep, it was in my chair wrapped in a quilt under the stars.

Tonight while half my brain said this is good for the soul, the other half wanted to run inside.

But I stayed. I flitted in and out of sadness and solidity – memory and the present.

Such sorrow for having had to have gone through this.

And yet, I feel my strength too. I didn’t lie out there feeling morose for the entire time.

It’s beautiful and spiritual and utterly fascinating.

It is good for the soul.

helping others

back story:

Sometime last fall, in the immediate aftermath of the implosion, I was running errands  and entered a store where a woman who I know works.

*important note: I haven’t seen her in a few years so had no idea that I would see her there.

I don’t know her well, but we’ve had a couple of conversations that involved our hearts and I’ve always enjoyed her.

Anyway, she asked “How are you?” and I lost my shit, and so she closed the store for an hour and sat and listened and offered love.

She was such a gift.

I haven’t seen her since but I’ve thought of her kindness and generosity a million times.

yesterday:

She was in town and came into the cafe to say hello. She told me that she’d been having a really rough day recently and was crying and driving and I crossed the road in front of her.

She said that seeing me gave her strength, made her smile through her tears.

I took it that she meant that I was an inspiration.

But today a friend shared a slightly different perspective:

“She’s just glad that her life isn’t the shitshow that yours has been.”

Oh. Glad I could help.

Closure?

I looked up the word “closure” in relationship to relationships and this is what the dictionary gave me…

“a sense of resolution or conclusion at the end of an artistic work”

Would we call a failed relationship an artistic work?

That’s kind of pushing it.

So I hit up the Urban Dictionary and here’s what I got…

closure

1. To attempt to ‘move on’ following the termination of a relationship with another individual.
2. When used in a sentence, insinuates that the individual using the word is the same individual who was the target of the ‘break-up’.
3. A word used by overly-emotional, self-centered ‘drama queens’ (mostly women and gay men).
4. Individuals using this word generally will utter the word ‘chapter’ during their often one-sided conversations.
5. A word created during the 90’s which was borne out of individuals unable to cope with relationship failure.
6. Individuals using this word insinuate that the more stable party is responsible for all of the ‘closured’ individual’s problems, as well as the War in Iraq, airbag safety issues, the Democratic National Convention, dustless chalk, nipples on men, PMS, and bad-hair days.

So where am I going with this? Why did I feel the need to look this up in the dictionary? Was it because I have wanted some sort of closure for the last seven months?

Right? I’m not a gay man and I would never use the word “chapter.”

Nope.

In light of the above, I embarrassingly admit that yes, I did want closure. I didn’t need to clarify why we had split – that was very clear. But I wanted to understand what the fuck happened in the aftermath?
Things that he did, or didn’t do, were so fucked up and cruel and hurtful and careless that I honestly just couldn’t believe they were happening.
But I actually didn’t need him to explain it. I have plenty of language for that going on in my head.
What I honestly needed was a chance to say all of the tens of thousands of things that have spun through my head in the last 7 months, to him, not to my friends, my therapist, and random strangers.
And they needed to be spoken, not screamed.
I ran into him yesterday. I saw him and thought that I’d blow by with a quick “hi,” but that’s not how it turned out.
It was only the second time I’ve seen him since last autumn and the first time amounted to “How’s the weather” in terms of depth or content.
We talked about the fact that we had never actually talked after things shook out. There was never a final anything. We “broke up,” and then, within days, the shit started hitting the fan with the litany of cruelties that took me down.
And down and down and down.
And it just became a mess.
Being a woman of words, I have this belief that if I say something well, the other person will understand and show some compassion and maybe even remorse.
If they don’t then I just keep talking, thinking that they will finally see the light, but really, the other person just tunes out and shuts down.
I often (almost always) walk away from conversations involving my hurt heart, with a lot of self-doubt, regrets, frustrations, and 52 reasons to spin out about every detail of the interaction.
And 52 million things that I wish I had said because, in hindsight, if I had just said ____________ then he would have understood and regretted hurting me.
So we had this lengthy chat and I walked away, went back to work and began to hyperventilate; loud, body-wracking sobs and tears that didn’t stop running into the dishwater all afternoon.
I didn’t want to talk about the details with anyone – I just wanted to sit with it while I cooked. I know that I need to feel this incredible sadness and grieve what I haven’t yet grieved.
Did I get what I needed?
I did receive some valuable bits.
He was kind and respectful.
He listened.
He saw one big piece from my perspective and admitted that it was “fucked up.”
I didn’t yell.  I said everything that I needed to say without going on ad nauseam. I didn’t try to hold him accountable for other’s actions. I wasn’t sarcastic or condescending or demeaning. I didn’t barely swore. I was calm and rational and very very clear.
And I didn’t fall apart.
(All things I do more often than not.)
I owned and apologized for some really shitty things that I had done.
In other words, not only did I maintain my dignity, but as I ruminate on the exchange a day later, I am satisfied with it.
I’m not wishing that I had said things differently or said more. When I think of things that I would have liked to add, I am thankful that they weren’t included because they are the things that would have made me look small or petty or pathetic or bat shit crazy.
I’m not cringing in hindsight.
I was able to try to set things right from my end. It takes two to tango as we all know.
That which he apologized for…it was what I wanted, and I appreciate it, and I also realize that it’s not the apologies that I need. The remorse can’t begin to undo what has been done.
What I needed was to be heard and maybe understood a little bit better.
To speak my peace.
To say, “You destroyed a family that loved you.”
Without expecting anything much in return.
I needed an opportunity to regain my dignity which I, maybe not lost, but definitely compromised in my unhinged moments.
And regain it I did.
The sadness that I am feeling today is deep. I am exhausted. And yet, I understand that this is part of the process and that I will eventually feel some relief.
And I don’t have to beat myself up for one more mismanaged moment.
So did I get the elusive “closure”?
I don’t know.
But I think I can probably go to the coffee shop now without fear, without ending up on the floor of the kitchen having a full-blown anxiety attack.
And that’s worth a whole awful lot these days.