I am not well.
I have said this many times but each time things are worse; much worse.
I hate saying this. It feels like I am whining. Saying it makes it seem more real, but I cannot ignore it. Every day I wake to the realization my life has been turned upside down in a different way. Everything is on hold, not circling to land, but the pattern is full so I’m circling the desert and only five mutes of fuel left onboard. My chest has this constant emptiness where a chunk was ripped from me. The pain, the unrelenting weight of grief, the nonstop anxiety and emotional swings, are all too much to handle.
The three of us are confined in this emotional cesspool. We are all suffering in our own way. We are locked up together like most of the world; trying to wait out this pandemic. But we also are bound into this grief together, bonded in grief. We are forgetful and sometimes that appears inconsiderate. We get on each other’s nerves when we are constantly at the precipice and unable to give much space.
Too many times I have sat down to write and just thinking about it makes a breaker in my head cut off all thought. Just adding this one more task is too much. I busy myself with projects around the house to keep from thinking. I go to bed sore and tired, but then sleep is fitful and I wake up many times through the night. It’s maddening. There is no escape.
I bury myself in work, and they say I am doing well. While serving my church running sound and helping with production, I am told I am doing well. Functioning proficiently is not being well.
I’ve had people tell me I should be happy. I am to focus on what is ahead and leave the negative things behind. I wonder if they leave their child on the side of the road when the kid causes negativity. As they drive away, are they focusing on the newfound happiness in the quiet car? Am I to forget my child? There is no remembering just the happy times. I remember them and, while nice, it naturally points out the elephant in the room. Caleb is no longer here. There are no new memories. I have moments of joy, but I will not ignore reality.
Before Caleb died, I was never a liar. I hate liars. Now, it is not possible for me to have a “normal” conversation without lying. Most people do not want my truth. They do not want to hear about my day yesterday when I came running into the house searching for my daughter (practicing her trombone, thankfully) because I heard a pistol shot near to the edge of my yard. Nor do they want to know all the anxieties racing in my head as I searched for the source of the shot. While this day is more relatable, most days have something close to pure PTSD.
Jumping into the fray and trying to keep up, I talk about baseball’s opening pitch technique or the hot news story but quickly realize I am not there. If I spoke my truth, your light and lively banter would cease. I don’t want to stop a pleasant conversation so I will say it here. I am not well.
** Even in this post I lie. It takes the rough edges off and layers a bit of frosting. Also, to those who know this truth and will worry, don’t. Nothing drastic will happen.