Thursday, March 5, 2015

Finding me again

A year ago this week, E tried to kill herself.  I don't remember if I ever posted that here in the blog, and given the desire to protect her privacy, its likely that I didn't.  But, she did, and she nearly succeeded.  The combination of her mental health struggles, her overwhelming grief for her brother that was re-triggered by moving south, and struggles in her school situation made the world seem to hard for her to handle, I guess.  What I know is that she was nearly successful and a year ago this week I was sitting in an ICU room wondering if I was about to bury a second child.

She survived her pain.  She fought, despite being a hard road for her to journey, and today very little of that hurting, lost child can be seen today.  She still grieves.  She still has issues to address.  She is still herself.  But, she's functioning, thriving, and most of all she's alive.

A year ago, I was terrified that I would lose her before this year was over.  Instead, we helped her find herself again.  But, I lost just about everything else that I thought was precious to me outside of this family in this year.  I lost a long-term community where most of my friends and support came from.  I lost my sister.  She didn't die, she cut me out while drunk on Bourbon Street.  Not surprising, of all of the siblings she's a dead ringer for LMB and I simply quit tolerating her verbal abuse.  It was only a matter of time before she did cut me out.  I lost my best friend in this year as well.  That one was surprising to me. It was a painful curveball I never really thought would happen, and it happened anyway.  And I may never fully be able to explain why it happened.  Its kind of hard to know what happens when a best friend suddenly refuses to ever speak to you again to even tell you why.  I also lost my religion.

But at the same time, I finished my second bachelor's degree.  I started nurse practitioner school and will wrap up my second term this month.  I had surgery to lose weight, because I wanted to finally be healthy, and I found not merely healthy but the last shreds of me I have been trying to find for the last five years.

I faced some hard truths about II and I, that the infidelity is not the only part of struggles that will destroy a marriage.  I stopped tolerating behaviors that I used to beg to stop and then emotionally hide from.  I don't know how strong our marriage is today.  I don't know what the future holds for it.  We're still here.  We're still a work in progress.  Five years ago, I thought I had to succeed, and letting the marriage fall apart was failure.  I'm not in that place anymore.  I'm here and trying but I'm not afraid and I don't see ending a marriage as failure now.  So, the future will be whatever it is.

I set on a journey five years ago to refind the woman I lost in those years.  I couldn't remember who she was, and I certainly was convinced she didn't exist anymore.  I remember her laughter, her strength, and her vitality.  But, five years ago, she was a distant memory and something I thought was gone forever.

Today, I realize the thing I found the very most in these years was that woman I had lost.  There was nothing easy about the journey to find her.  She's changed since I saw her last.  She's stronger than she was.  She's also more confident.  She's beautiful, inside and out.  She's a powerhouse of protection for those she loves, especially her children.  And she's got scars that all of these years left on her.  She's not afraid to fail, but she's not so hardened that she won't reach her hand out to love someone else either.

When I look at my marriage and my children now, I don't think I cannot meet their needs.  I realize I can.  I can be what they need.  I can do what I need to do.  I want my marriage to find a way through this pruning, but if it doesn't being alone won't be the end of the world for me either...not now.

When I look in the mirror, yes I can see I am literally half the woman I was a year ago (and still shrinking), but its far more than that.  I see kindness in my eyes, health in my body, and strength in my soul now.  I'm a good mother.  I'm a good wife.  I'm a good friend.  I'm a good sister (my sister's opinion not withstanding).  I'm a good nurse.  The person I see today isn't lost.  She still has hurt, but she channels that hurt into strength again. 

I've thought about shutting the blog down.  But, people who know my story still seek me out.  People who are hurting and lost themselves still ask me can you find the person you lost in the journey.  So, I'm going to leave the blog.  I can't imagine that I'll update again.  I started this because I knew I had to find myself again.  I accomplished that and so much more in five years.  I didn't just find the woman I lost.  I love the woman I have become.  I love every scar and imperfection about my life, because they are what make me ME.  I have found that woman I lost, and embraced the woman she became.  Whatever the future brings, it won't be where I've been.  I will never again sit and cry, so lost and hurting that I cannot remember how to breath, so betrayed that I cannot remember who I am.  I'm not that person anymore.  I shouldn't have been her at all.  I shouldn't have surrendered myself to a relationship to a point that I lost me.  No relationship can be healthy if either partner abandons who they are to be in it.  Relationships have to be melding two people into a unit that honors both of them, and strengthens them, not demands they give up their identity to the relationship.

I don't know under what circumstances I would come back though.  I found myself in this journey.  I know who I am, and I don't expect that to make life magical, but I know how precious it is to have found me again.  I don't intend to ever lose me again.  Its not a lesson I want to face twice  Once in a lifetime is quite enough for me.

I hope the words and years I leave behind can find their way to help the person sitting here, lost and wondering how to find their way back from disaster.  It is possible, no matter how lost you feel, to find your way back to who you were, and the journey will make you stronger, wiser and even better than the person you were when you got lost.

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