Life on Life’s Terms…
“So it’s true, when all is said and done, grief is the price we pay for love.”
― E.A. Bucchianeri, Brushstrokes of a Gadfly
The title of this post is very cliché in the 12-Step community. However, recent events from the last few months have finally answered, for me, how this fits into my life. I know…I’m a slow learner. “Living life on life’s terms” recently has come to have meaning by my own disorder that I struggle with both mentally and physically every single day I open my eyes. I manage my DID the best way I know how, at this point. I have excruciating body memories that often leave me in tears, migraines, diarrhea, severe anxiety, nausea, vomiting. Not to mention how crazy it can get ‘upstairs’ sometimes.
Just because I have Dissociative Identity Disorder or someone else has bipolar, or depression or whatever your current diagnosed or undiagnosed opinion of your situation is doesn’t mean that life just ceases to go on. This disorder in itself can be very tricky and dangerous depending on what alter is in charge at the time. This too is a work in progress. My point in general is that just because I have a disorder doesn’t mean that people won’t die, people won’t be self-centered, people won’t reject us as a family and as it’s been going lately even one of our own unborn children might die.
Yesterday was one of my proudest and saddest days of my life. I had it all set up before the day began. I was hoping for a therapy appointment so that I could process what I knew was soon going to happen a bomb was going to go off inside my head and body whether I wanted it to or not. Whatever was going to happened, I just didn’t want it to happen while I was alone. So, also knowing that grief was a part of this process that was about to ensue, and how acupuncture is helping with the release of trauma from a cellular level much like writing, I took my very sore and aching mind and body over to where I was to have acupuncture so that the grief could also be helped to be released soon after the service was over. Loneliness is a feeling that I don’t handle very well. I needed my wife, one of my therapists or someone to be there at that moment. But, alas, I was there to face yet another demon alone.
I took all of the medication that I thought I would need for this event and kept it very close at hand. Mom and Dad were going to try and FaceTime Sarah’s service for me. I begin getting so anxious that I would miss this service that I was nauseous. I was already in excruciating pains from body memories and knew that another bomb was about to go off in my physically and mentally. This wasn’t going to be an incident where not just one alter was going to be effected. All would be deeply affected and hurt.
And suddenly there was the call from my mother and the FaceTime camera was going perfectly and I’m so relieved at the moment that I’m able in attend. When Doug passed away, there was no possible way for us to get home so, I was bound and determined to see Sarah’s service. When the service started, I was once again thinking, “Is this funeral for the Sarah I called mom?” My heart begins to ache and my eyes fill up with tears as I keep my shades on and ear buds in. I try to be as inconspicuous as possible. Crying in public and around people tends to be dangerous for me in the past and shows that you’re weak and an easy target. I choke back what I can. Eventually when the reality hits me that she’s really gone and I’ll never be able to ask her for her levelheaded advice again, I’ll never be able to sit on her couch for hours talking and laughing about experiences both good and bad about being therapists. Or about what a handful of a patient I could be. Or about the precious woman she introduced me to and our little boy and one in the oven.
I cried but seemed to maintain a calmness all through the service. My heart was going out to her family and the friends and former co-workers that spoke. The things they said about her couldn’t have been any more truer words. With the many people’s lives that she touched, I was even able to say a very brief “hello” to one of the former therapists that worked with Sarah at the same time I was a patient. They played “good cop, bad cop” very well together. However, this person also is a very highly respected person by me to this day for what she helped Sarah accomplish….getting through my extremely thick skull. I’ll leave it at that for now.
I held most of the grief in until I said goodbye to my parents. In that lonely parking lot, I cried like a child that had just lost her parent and for me she was just that. I sat there and cried and cried until the cries switched over to crying about the pain in my body. The bomb had been set off and exploded. My legs are now throbbing and I’m sobbing uncontrollably while trying to keep anyone from seeing. Why?! I just don’t understand. She was suppose to be fine from the chemo. Oh how my heart still doesn’t understand. The emotional level of this grief has brought on nausea to a point that I’m terrified that someone will see me begin to vomit. I take a couple of hard swallows making sure I keep, I guess air in. I made sure with my eating disorder that it was ok to not eat since I was going to be dealing with something so difficult. The eating disorder agreed that food was not the best thing plus it would make me look horrendous. Even dry heaving would’ve embarrassed me to the point of never returning as a client even though no one was around to really see anything.
My body was screaming and my mind, heart and soul were in shambles. “What do I do now?” I keep asking myself. She was my voice of reason. I’ve lost all track of time and there she is, the one I’ve been waiting to help relief me of some of the agony. Yes, she’s an unbelievable acupuncturist but she’s also a human being. She instinctively knows that something’s wrong. I proceed to chat with her a moment about it. The tears as hard as I tried to keep them from falling and save myself some embarrassment, they just kept falling at a rate that I rarely do around someone other than my wife. I knew that I had no storage left in my body to hold anymore grief since many years of grief have accumulated. I had strategically schedule this appointment for this reason. I wanted to grieve and let it be released at the same time. I vividly remember stepping out of the vehicle, waiting to be made fun of for crying, and it never happened. I could hardly walk because with each step the fire in my legs became more excruciating. She took time with me to just let me talk about my grief but the pain in my legs and my soul was too much for me to handle.
I woke up to almost non-existent pain but more like soreness from the tenseness of my muscles. I was lying down which rarely happens because of the sexual trauma from my past. I wake up with a horrible headache and very disoriented trying to put together the pieces of how much time had gone by and what had transpired that I had no knowledge about. I know that something has happened because I was lying down. The embarrassment of her seeing me in the condition that I was in when I remember walking in was starting to flood me. Honestly, I’m glad that someone that I trust was there with me. I don’t know what all happened. It happened on life’s terms and so did Sarah’s death. What I do with that hole in my heart and soul remains to be seen. I’ve felt powerful grief when my grandmothers died. This grief while just as important was just different. She was like my guardian angel on earth.
I have little to no knowledge of driving back to meet my wife for another appointment or the rest of the day. I awoke this morning pain free with what I like to call an “emotional hangover.” I was greeted this morning with a migraine and nausea. But, for the first time in quite a while I woke up on my own and not courteous of excruciating body cramps.