My Leap List

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Death, Life, Desperation, and Love

     This week has been a tough one for life lessons.  I master one and start feeling a bit cocky in my growing abilities to deal with life, and then the tests get harder.  John and Mandy are manic the past few weeks and that brings its own challenges.  In my world, manic doesn't bring extra happiness and laughter.  Manic means thinking you are an expert at everything and no one else knows what they are talking about.  It means anger at little things that turn into big things.  It is thinking the world is against you and that no one cares about you.  It means taking life-threatening risks that you wouldn't usually take because in the moment you are invincible.  It is really hard for me because anything I try and do makes it worse.  So all I can do is breathe, send loving energy, and hold them close when they sleep.
     Nick has been worrying that he is bipolar, so Thursday we took a long walk together.  I told him how I knew he wasn't bipolar like his dad and sister.  He said it made him feel better, but I couldn't help but feel bad that I was having this conversation with him.  Like everyone's life, mine seems to have veered so far off what I had thought it would be.  I never dreamed I would be explaining things like this to my son or experiencing it with my daughter and husband.
      This week also brought a funeral.  John's aunt died this week and funerals are especially hard on him.  I went to the viewing Friday night.  His mom was struggling to walk, so I held her hand and helped her.  She didn't stay long because she was in so much pain.  She has been such an important woman in my life, and it makes me sad to see her suffering.
     At the funeral on Saturday my sister-in-law, Carrie, sat next to me and held her grandson and my baby nephew, Matthew.  He is only 2 months old.  It was such a juxtaposition of life and death listening to his baby cries mixed with the words of mourning.  The reminders of mortality are always challenging, and my friends reminders to just celebrate the time we have makes me feel like I am failing at one more thing.  It's an area I am still working on being better.
     Last night John and I took the kids to a play at an Off-Broadway theater.  As we paid for parking, a man approached us.  He was very literate and intelligent as he told us the story of why he needed money to go home.  His pain was evident from his words and voice.  The energy he was giving off was so much pain, it almost brought me to tears.  We gave him $20 and he almost started to cry.  Then he begged us to let him hug us.  I wasn't prepared for his energy and it was almost a physical pain the rest of the night.  I know that many of my friends and family will disagree with me, but I always help people in need when I can, even if they are taking advantage of me.  John has told me many times that if it weren't for me, his mental illness would make him be homeless and begging on the streets.  I have no doubt that is true.  Not because of anything I do, but because of the difficulties involved in taking care of someone who is bipolar.  There have been so many times that I want to give up or give in, but I keep going because I love him.  You don't give up on family.  So, I can't pass by someone on the streets who is not as lucky as the people in my world, in hopes that if my family is ever in this place, strangers will help them if they can.
     My friend sent me a kind message about how much I mean to her and all the great attributes I have.  This week I feel like it's all I can do to tread water and stay afloat, so the kind words made me feel like an imposter hoping that she doesn't find out the truth about who I really am.  I thought I was doing better at being me and accepting my flaws, but this week helped me see how far I have left to go.
     But as always, the darkness will turn, and we will see the sunrise again.  It's a new week and the fall colors are beautiful.  I have music and lots of love from my family and friends to help ease the burdens while I learn new life lessons.

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