I’m baaaaack! Here’s part two of my longest blog post ever. (See prior post for part one if you missed it.)
What caused my latest tailspin of emotional turmoil?
It was a weeknight in January and I had to make the 911 call. Thank God I didn’t have to do this one alone. The roommate and I heard a loud bang bang and moments later I was on the phone calling in the single car accident. Sadly, there was nothing we could really do. Thankfully the emergency personnel arrived quickly and dove into their work. A scene reminiscent to one I remembered all too well. I stood as close as I could to the accident site that night—just a few steps away from my driveway as the roommate and I prayed for the person. We prayed so very hard for him.
Things were different—this person wasn’t Chris but he was close to his age, this was a car and not a bike, it was night and not the evening, I’d made the call instead of walking up to the person on the emergency call, this wasn’t my husband but he was someone’s special person. I watched the medical examiner get in his truck and make the calls. In that moment I recognized the aftermath of tragedy that was about to rain upon an unsuspecting family. I worked through the event doing all the of the right things with a level head but this time I was fully aware of the state of shock I was in. I knew I would crash and I did in the days after. The crash was slow but no less violent than all the times before.
Death had come banging at my door. It didn’t stop around the corner before my house—no, this time it had banged at my door. This time I didn’t drive past it. It had come directly to me. I made the call for help—a call that felt helpless and completely fruitless.
And thus began the tailspin.
I was locked in my traumatic response the next day and I didn’t want to talk to anyone. I did the things I needed to do, went through the motions as the shock waned and the emotions filled in the cracks. The sadness weighed me down. I prayed so hard. I went to my nearby special spot because I didn’t have the energy to drive to the grotto. I couldn’t cry but still the tears were choking me. My roommate experienced a similar response and I hated that he was suffering too even though I took solace in knowing that I could coach him through it. I went to dinner with my family that evening and then came home still stuck in the emotional process of the tragedy.
It wasn’t until a short phone call that night with someone who understands me well that I was even able to feel the emotions pour out of me. I sat on the floor of my bedroom recounting the accident, my voice finally breaking and tears pooling in my eyes. I was so frustrated with myself and my reaction. But somehow that listening ear on the other end of the phone, acknowledging the level of crap I was facing and giving words of strength helped me keep moving through the trauma.
Although I was working through it, it was a slow walk through the darkness. More and more people around me began moving from this world to the next. Funeral after funeral. Loss after loss. Heaven’s doors must’ve been opened wide during those few months.
The compounding losses left me feeling unbelievably sad, incredibly frustrated, and angrier than I’d been in years. Then I was physically ill—again. This time I woke up with the room spinning and it scared the crap out of me. I was dizzy and all I could think coming off that terrible migraine a little over a month prior was that I had a tumor or something awful. (Yes, I’m dramatic and no I don’t need Google to help me come up with possible diagnoses. I have a wild enough imagination on my own.) I went to the doctor to find out that I had vertigo. Annoying especially when I suddenly had to walk slow and deliberately and I couldn’t make any sudden movements as to not invoke an episode. Oh yeah and I couldn’t drive for almost a week. Goodbye independence. Hello new level of irritation.
During this time, I decided it was time to say goodbye to the truck. I’d started the process of purchasing a new vehicle the week before my nasty vertigo put me down and out. I was so upset that I couldn’t drive my truck into the dealership to trade it in and obviously I couldn’t even drive my new vehicle home either. It sucked. Like majorly sucked. My heart was bleeding again. I was cussing a lot. I was so angry. I was not myself. I was struggling.
I was so incredibly frustrated at how with even the passage of time, all the counseling, and healing that I’d been through I still had this type of reaction to death. At least when it comes to the traumatic scenes, it feels like I should be over this. I’ve learned the lessons, done the time, and should have moved on to the next level. Why don’t I have a handle on my emotional responses yet? Why can’t I be in control of my reaction to this? Why can’t I just be past this?
Truth is I am better than I once was at this even if I’m not at the level that I want to be at. This is where I can recognize how my overachieving nature is both a double-edged sword of positive and negative. It is good that I push myself to be better. That self-imposed need to move further and be better is a positive thing. However at the same time I could easily slip into the trap of berating myself for not being at the level of healing I think I should be at with these responses. If I step outside myself, I can see that I handled this well. I coped well with what was thrown at me. Did I cope as quickly as I wished I would? No, but this isn’t about wishes its about the reality. I would rather brush the trauma I’ve suffered off as no big deal, but it still is a big deal. In a few short hours, my life went from ordinary to tragic and then somehow I’m expected to return to ordinary unscathed. If a friend was telling me this story, I would tell them that’s an unrealistic expectation to hold themselves to because it is.
I’m not saying poor me here. This isn’t a pity party; however, it is a moment of raw honesty. It’s a weird thing to wish so deeply that I’d never went through tragedy and yet at the same time I’m so deeply grateful for how it changed me. Rather a more proper statement would be I hate how tragedy wounded me but I’m grateful for the healthy coping habits and lifestyle that it forged. None of it was easy though and it’s always a new level of challenging.
I was so deeply heartbroken over so many things from January to April and it truly has taken me until these past few weeks to begin to feel myself again. Writing this out allows me to see outside myself for a bit. In doing this I can truly acknowledge the level of difficulty and cut myself a break for all the feels and all the sadness I was working through. Excuse me while I pat myself on the back. 😉
Talk about a lot of heavy. I promise my third and final post will be a little lighter. 🙂 Till then remember to love yourself. Be kind and compassionate towards your needs and your wounds. What’s inside of you seeps out to those around you so put the goodness inside so it can shine through onto others.
Til next time Love, Hugs, and Sunshine! <3