This week we're supposed to talk about things that make us proud. A bunch of things ran through my mind, you know; splitting the atom, preforming open heart surgery while climbing Everest, raising children who didn't turn out to be axe murderers, Oh wait, none of those apply to me. Pride always makes me think of BIG achievements. I had nothing that stood out.
I was looking at the postings on the ALS support group. Being a new member, I wanted to see what others had to say. There were great stories of hope and encouragement. People doing amazing things in the face of personal hardship. It got me thinking.
Tragedy is relative, you know the old saying I felt bad I had no shoes until I met a man with no feet. No, whatever, the point is there is no way to quantify crisis or loss. Our life experiences are all so different. What rolls off my back might cripple someone else. Okay, maybe that's not what that old saying is supposed to mean but it works.
So what happens when the stories aren't so inspirational? You know, like mine.
My partner and I aren't doing so well. I'm not a paragon of understanding and support, seeing the good in everything. He's not rallying, being strong in the face of adversity. Looking at death with teeth bared. It's just not like that.
It's a mess.
There are days I'm so angry I could scream. Angry at him for being sick. That's he's going to leave me alone. Angry, I can't change this, that I can't make him follow the doctor's instructions. Furious with God and the world in general that we're going through this. This was supposed to be our time.
There are days I can't listen to one more complaint. Can't bear to hear about the latest ache or pain. Days that I want to be anywhere but at home with him. Times when it's suffocating and all I want to do is run, anywhere.
There are days I'm so frustrated I could choke the life out of him. Days I want to push him off the couch, shake him until he realises he's not an invalid, make him see it's not over yet.
There are days I can hardly see the point of getting out of bed. Of struggling through one more day. It's exhausting, demoralizing.
I feel guilty. That I'm not that tower of strength. That I'm healthy. That I'm not more understanding. That this one time, when it matters so much, I can't fix this. Can't make it go away.
Sometimes it feels like there are a thousand tiny wedges jammed into every crack driving us apart. Making us weaker, turning us into him and I.
There are days I wallow in self pity. No one understands.
Sometimes I'm so afraid it hurts to breathe. It's paralysing. Afraid of him being alone while I'm at work. Afraid of how we'll afford his care. Afraid of him going to the hospital, of not being able to take care of him. Of failing the person who means so much to me.
There is this constant riot of emotion going on inside. Every day.
But I'm here. Sometimes with a grimace, sometimes after a few deep breaths. I'm here.
There is no right way. There is no succeed or fail. Some people rise to the occasion, some people sink. No one can be strong all the time. Scream, cry, rage, curl up and pull the covers over your head. Be fragile, be sad, be broken. Try your best not to be beaten. Reach out, needing help isn't weakness, it's human.
Because there are also days when he makes me laugh. When I feel strong enough to get through this. When I remember why we are us, not him and I. When the day ahead looks rosy. When I realise how blessed I am and all that I have. When I know the only way to fail is to not try. When I can focus on the good rather than the bad. When I'm here with a smile and an easy heart.
Trying is what makes me proud. Getting up, facing the day and looking for the best in it. Not grand, not heroic, just doing what needs to be done. Day by day.
If reading this makes someone else feel better about their own personal struggle then I'm proud of sharing as well. We're all stronger together. Suffering in silence is only suffering, not strength.
Drop by Stasha's and see what else makes us stand tall.