Even now, two and a half years later, I still have times when I wish I could build a cocoon, crawl inside of it, and shut the rest of the world out. I'm not sure how much of that is related to Eddie's death and how much is because of everything that is going on in my life now. I had actually started to feel pretty good about the way things were going until my mother's cancer returned. I was moving forward with my life, enjoying time with friends, working, going to school, and even adjusting to living alone. Then I was thrown a curve ball, just as I was when Eddie died. I've been surprised to find that so many of my feelings now are the same as they were prior to and just after Eddie's death. When I was dealing with Eddie's alcoholism and then his suicide, there were times when I wanted to pretend that none of it was happening. I feel the same way now ... I want to pretend that my mother isn't sick, that she isn't beginning chemotherapy treatments next week, and that everything is going to be OK. Unfortunately pretending that things don't exist doesn't make them go away. It didn't make Eddie's alcoholism disappear. It didn't make his suicide not true. And it's not going to make my mother's cancer any less real. No matter how hard I try, I can't hide from the truth.
After Eddie's death I didn't really want to do anything. I didn't want to see or talk to people. I didn't want to go anywhere. I couldn't work. If I had had my way I would have isolated myself completely (thankfully I didn't get my way!). While my feelings about my mother's cancer have been very similar to my feelings about Eddie's alcoholism and suicide, my actions have been the complete opposite. Since finding out about my mother's cancer I have kept myself as busy as I possibly can. In addition to doing my regular job as a teacher, I went from being on just one committee at school last year to being on four this year. I decided to continue with classes towards my specialist's degree (Mama wasn't happy when I told her I was going to take a break). I'm going out and doing things with my friends, as well as spending time with Trey and Emily. Then last week, I joined a gym. I felt like I needed a way to relieve the stress in my life and exercise seemed the best way to do it. I'm not sure how I'm going to fit that in, but I guess I'll just have to make the time.
I'm sure there is a happy medium somewhere between how I reacted to Eddie's death and how I'm reacting to my mother's illness, but I haven't found it yet. For now, just as I've done many times over the past two years, I have to do what works best for me. Sometimes I feel like I'm so busy that I don't have time to breathe, but I guess that's better than just existing and literally reminding myself to breathe.
"A Word of Understanding"
May peace and understanding
Give you strength and courage, too,
And may the hours and days ahead
Hold a new hope for you.
For the sorrow that is yours today
Will pass away; and then
You'll find the sun of happiness
Will shine for you again.
-Helen Steiner Rice