Meredith: “After a trauma, your body is at its most vulnerable. Response time is critical. So you’re suddenly surrounded by people—doctors, nurses, specialists, technicians—surgery is a team sport. Everyone pushing for the finish line. Putting you back together again. But surgery is a trauma in and of itself, and once it’s over, the real healing begins. It’s called recovery. Recovery is not a team sport. It’s a solitary distance run. It’s long. It’s exhausting. And it’s lonely as hell.” — Grey’s Anatomy, season 7 episode 19
It’s been awhile since I’ve done a Grey’s Anatomy quote but that one seemed to fit with today’s post.
When I took a walk at Rum River on Saturday, the peepers were going full bore in the wetland areas.
It about made me cry I miss them so badly — that sound that comes every Spring. And sand cranes — I miss hearing sand cranes calling as they fly over and seeing them dance in the neighboring fields.
I’ve figured out how to fake myself out on some of the things I miss, but I can’t pretend and fool myself on everything.
I get angry and frustrated at how much these things hurt. Am I doing this to myself? How do I stop it? How do I find beauty and peace in this life that I feel so stuck and trapped and imprisoned by?!
I want to scream, “This is not me! Why am I here? In this place? Alone. Why have I ended up with the opposite of what I wanted?”
Okay, I do have a horse and dogs. Be thankful for that. And I am. Sort of thankful. Kind of grateful for the things that aren’t lost, like my job and friends, and I’m lucky to have been able to buy a house.
Yet, I have not found a way to stop feeling the grief over the loss of things that used to lift me up and make me smile, the ones that warmed me like a quilt and made me feel safely home.
Even some of the new comforts have gone astray. I haven’t heard or seen my owls for weeks. They were my consolation, my night companions, filling in some of the gap between old and new life.
I looked forward to seeing or at least hearing them every day. The lack of their presence is so pervasive, It’s surprising, even to me, how much I miss them. Perhaps they’ve gone somewhere to nest and I won’t see them again until their babies are grown.
It’s been two years and the trauma still feels fresh. I didn’t expect that. I’m strong, right? I’m brave. I’m good at picking myself up and going on. So why?
Why, I guess, doesn’t matter. Perhaps inside, I am like this pile of debris that the river carries in springtime’s high, fast waters.
Logs, twigs, muck, and trash hang up in the shallows — more and more pieces keep piling into and onto the mound.
I need to stop piling garbage on top of myself, despising everything about me, quit considering myself and my life a failure, and stop reminding myself that if I had a choice, I would leave me too.
Maybe the assignment now, in this new life, is to not depend on anyone else to make up for what I lack or don’t like in myself. I have something… My friends see it. But I can’t. Not yet anyway.
I perhaps sound like a broken record with some of these things that I say, but I guess I will keep repeating what I need to hear, over and over, until I finally listen.
If I am going to pull through this with more than a grunt and a just getting by life, this is the time for me to pursue some of the adventures I’ve dreamed of. This is the time to be a writer, to take that identity fully on. To be visible as me, not as what I think someone wants me to be, or as someone who gets through the door because of who they are attached to.
This is the time to believe I can do something that will amaze at least me — if not anyone else.
Some dreams are a bit harder now. Funds are tighter. Gas is way more expensive. And I’m older and often don’t have the energy to do everything I want to do. But maybe the adventure is mainly in the mind anyway — in venturing outside myself and my fears and judgement.
These trees remind me of myself, stooped over, shoulders hunched with shame over mistakes and lost opportunities.
Meredith: “The length of your recovery is determined by the extent of your injuries. And it’s not always successful. No matter how hard we work at it. Some wounds might never fully heal. You might have to adjust to a whole new way of living. Things may have changed too radically to ever go back to what they were. You might not even recognize yourself. It’s like you haven’t recovered anything at all. You’re a whole new person with a whole new life.”