Open Heart Surgery (Entry #7)


Stop It.

Stop stuffing.

Do you really think you are able to carry on the same way you did before? Before "IT" happened.

Do you really believe you are supposed to use your strength to keep up a fake facade?

Do you really think your closest friends don't see you're crumbling and losing pieces of yourself....

Do you really think you'd come through this all unscathed?

You can't just walk away from wreckage that looks like that...

These are the things I say to myself.... when I am processing the fact that I still wake up some mornings... aching the same way I did when my world came apart.... even though it's been years... since my world came apart.

Stop Stuffing.

Stop pretending it didn't matter.

Stop telling yourself and everyone else under the sun you are "fine".

It mattered. What happened..... it mattered.

It STILL matters.

And of course you are NOT fine.

This is me... this internal conversation is me....having compassion for myself. This is me honoring the tears that sometimes come without reason...

Jason always tells me... I am way too hard on... me.

He says I loop situations in my brain... day in and day out... and try my hardest to find my responsibility in it... when sometimes... I don't carry any... any at all. I think I do this... because when I can't find cause... I struggle with that. I need to find it.... cause... reason.... so that way it all makes sense to me... and yes... I know this is unreasonable... but it's what I do sometimes.

So I bear it.... I wear it... I own it... and I then I stuff it... even if it isn't mine to own. I wear it and own it and stuff it... because I don't want to burden anyone else... I wanna do it ON MY OWN.... the moving on part....and as fast as humanly possible.

It's interesting how we have been wired to think that surviving a major event means we are able to just "move on".... that if we are still waking up in the morning...it's our job to thank the universe by moving on as quickly as possible. It's also our responsibility to forge ahead so friends and family don't have to live in the dark with us for any longer than absolutely necessary... after all... the dark... it's uncomfortable for most....

At least that's what we are told.

I think that's all complete CRAP.

(I am going to continue comparing grief, pain, trauma, etc.... to an accident... to open heart surgery... to the Emergency room.... so stay with me... it's how I make sense of it all in my mind..)

After a major event goes down....Most people will tell you to use your strength to get back up...

So cliche.

Of course we will use our strength to "get back up".... but we often forget...what comes before all that.... we never face down anything completely... we think we can climb out of a "burning car"... a major event... a traumatic loss... and even though we are marred with ash and our own bodies are on FREAKING fire... we limp away... thinking what we will just "get over it"....

I think we are supposed to use our strength to wrestle with the wreckage... to sift it... to carry it... to struggle through the details... to toss around the confusion and the loss....to reckon with the why... to fight with the truth... to let our hearts bleed out until we need that blood transfusion...

This produces EMPATHY for the future...

Then while our guard is down... when we are too weak to climb out on our own... we let those people... those good good people...who care about our human condition... step in... and "donate blood".

Those beautiful friends... who saw the event go down that changed you... for them, it will be like watching a car accident first hand. Some will slam their brakes... jump out and head to the scene of the accident to see how they can help assist. They will stay with you... through the extraction from the car...they will follow the ambulance, they will sit in the waiting room, they will visit you through rehab, and they will love your family through the muck. They will be there to welcome you home... they will realize the old you is gone.. and they will welcome the new you... whatever that "new you" might look like.... scars and all.

Other "friends" will leave you. Some will stare at the wreckage...wince... and keep driving... they may say a quick prayer... but they will not stop... they will not insert themselves...Some will abandon your heart if you don't heal quickly enough.... They will not donate blood... they are not a match after all.. they are not YOUR people.

Don't take that personal... They've been taught to hide their pain... to stuff it. I promise when they know better... they will do better. This is where you begin to find more strength for what comes next...This is where your heart grows bigger... you find yourself forgiving those who couldn't handle their job as a witness to your accident. You understand that not everyone is ready or capable... to nurse a wound... and experiencing that... gives you the shot of empathy you need to be a better friend when it's your turn... to donate blood to someone else.

You don't focus on those who left... You focus on those who stay. They are your fan club, your bridge to healing... your saving grace.

Those friends.... They get it.

They will carry your pain as their own...and they will shoulder it with you.

Along the way you will meet NEW friends... people who will join you in your journey... AFTER the event... they were't there when 'IT" happened... but they understand you survived a loss... a shift occurred...they see you are in the middle of an ugly season..... one that looks eerily similar to their own story... and they practice empathy... love... and they clothe you with loads of compassion....

They jump on board...they walk with you. For as long as it takes.

as I said, I think.. wrestling with the accident... living in the truth of the aftermath... teaches us empathy... and empathy builds a bridge between us and others... and the strength we gain from others... changes us... heals us... and THEN....

With our regained strength.... with our new found hope... with our friends cheering from the stands... reminding us we CAN DO THIS....

We get back up.

What does the "getting up" even look like? I think THAT is different for everyone... every human experience is different... and again... let's accept that it may not be the same for everyone... and that is absolutely FREAKING OKAY.

For example...

TRAUMA #1

Infidelity in marriage.... the getting back up could mean reconciliation for some... and divorce for others. Nevertheless... have empathy and compassion.

TRAUMA #2

A miscarriage.... the getting back up could be trying to get pregnant again... and for someone else... adoption... or choosing not to parent at all. Nevertheless practice empathy and compassion.

TRAUMA #3

The death of a spouse... the getting back up... could be remarrying someday.... for another in may only be getting out of bed and learning to live alone. Nevertheless practice empathy and compassion.

I could go on and on... but you get the point.

In the end....If you cannot sit with someone in pain.... You are numb... you are covered in bandaids... You have superficially tried to cover your own trauma.... and in doing so you have ZERO ability to sit in the muck with anyone else.

DON'T stay there. You need people.... You need support... You need to hurt and bleed out... You need to wrestle with the facts of life...

YOU need to understand you may not REALLY be okay....One day you will be... but maybe not today.

Once you do this.... You can help someone else...

And THAT my friends... is what this entire Open Heart Surgery piece... is all about.

When I can recognize and name my own wounds... I can diagnose it... I can see it in others... When I find the cure... when I determine the cause...When I understand what REAL healing looks like... I can share that with others... When I have felt and processed my own pain... I can empathize with YOU... when you are living in your own.

So STOP stuffing.

Stop worrying about the bystanders....

Stop trying to move on.

It's okay to sit here for a while.

It's okay because it matters.

We....

Matter.

(and now that we've established the fact that THIS is okay... this Open Heart Surgery... featured right here on this blog... is okay... I will continue telling my stories...as I keep telling myself... that they matter.... because they do... matter.)