Archive | August, 2012

Waiting Is the Hardest Part

25 Aug

I’ve been struggling all week to find the words for something that I don’t think there are words for. It’s a different kind of loss. There are no memories to look back on, or good times to cherish with a smile. Instead there’s just emptiness and a hole where something once was. It was referred to in a pamphlet I received as a “shattered dream,” but even that is inaccurate. The dream isn’t shattered. It’s still there, and it can still be. It just isn’t…yet.

I blog all the time (to the point of annoyance, I think) about how I’m a planner. I have lists and goals and a series of next steps to keep my life in order. There’s a certain way in which I expect things to happen because that’s just how they’re supposed to happen, so the shock of the completely unexpected is something I’m not used to. I find it uncomfortable and unnerving, and I’m nervous going forward.

I’ve also said I’m not a wallower, which is true. I’m a problem-solver and a fixer. There was my situation, there was a plan to fix my situation, my situation is over, and now I can move on. Except for I can’t. There’s a whole waiting process, and I’ve never been patient. Most of the time I’ve accepted what won’t be mine (yet) and I’m okay. But then there’s something Child says, or a package I ordered or a t-shirt that will never be worn again and in those moments I’m lost. It’s a sadness that feels foreign, because it’s over something that was never truly mine. It’s a sadness that doesn’t feel warranted, but there it is all the same.

Things always happen for a reason, and for every struggle I’ve ever faced I’ve become stronger and learned something important in the long haul. I know this to be the case now. What I lost is something that just wasn’t meant to be, and I know that time will bring me what I was always meant to have. But waiting is the hardest part.

The Frustration of Helpless Hands

7 Aug

I’ve never been one to lurk and wallow in bad, scary and otherwise stressful situations. It’s just not my style. I’ve always been more of a fixer. I like to lay out the facts, logically think through what can be done, weigh the pros and cons of each option, and then make a choice. If things aren’t going my way, I change them, and if you know me even a little you know how much I love plans and lists and spreadsheets. I’m not used to having to accept situations for what they are, and the concept of there being no other options is generally foreign to me.

It’s for these reasons that I’ve never been particularly good at dealing with grief. I’ve been fortunate enough to not have a lot of situations in my life in which grief was called for, but I do have friends who have experienced tragedies both great and small, and it’s in those situations that I flounder. I smile awkwardly, give condolences and hugs, and provide mass amounts of wine, coffee, chocolate and whatever other vices are needed to lift the spirit as little as those superficial things can. But, it never feels like it’s enough. What I can provide doesn’t make things easier, it doesn’t bring back what’s been lost, and it certainly doesn’t fix anything.

These situations are magnified exponentially when the friend in question is hundreds of miles away. I can call, text, email my supportive thoughts. I can send cards, flowers, and little trinkets of sympathies, but eventually the electronic hugs and long-distance empathy seem redundant. Useless. My hands fall idle, helpless, at my side and I’m forced to do the one thing that pains me the most: nothing.

Because, really, that’s all anyone can do. They say that time heals all wounds, and perhaps that’s true, but try as I might I can’t speed time up. Even if I could, time can’t make what’s broken whole again. These situations change us, for always. We deal with our grief, become accustomed to the way things are now, and eventually smile at what still makes us ache on the inside. I know that this is the natural cycle of things, this is how grief works, but it’s that feeling of helplessness in the meantime that kills me.

I know in my heart that I’m doing all I can do. I also know for certainty that it does help, even if it’s in the smallest of ways. It’s never a bad thing to know that you’re in someone’s thoughts and prayers. Still, my heart breaks for what I cannot do and the situations I cannot fix. Just know that I would, in a heartbeat, if I could.