I am sorry I don’t have a chapter to post this week. It’s not for lack of material or ideas, however some things have happened in the last few days that require my attention. Writing for me is catharsis, and whether or not it ever gets posted, it gets out of my head…out of my heart. It is so important to my health that this happens. If left within, it grows and metastasizes, goes into sepsis and seeps out. Or in some instances, it explodes.
So, in an effort to keep that from happening, I come here and spend some time on my laptop writing and working out everything that is rumbling around. This week, as it is most times these days, it’s death and grief.
Last Friday, I attended the funeral for a friend’s mom. She had been battling cancer for the last few years. She was the absolute testament of grabbing life by the horns and saying, “You are going to have to buck me off because I am not going down without fight.” It was a beautiful, emotional tribute to her. She is so loved.
While there, I spoke with another friend whose father is also in the last fight. It isn’t set in stone, but the prognosis isn’t good and the family has been told to prepare to say goodbye. Heartbreaking and brutal news to hear.
In talking with these friends about their loss or loss-to-come, they both said, “You know what I’m talking about.” Yes. I do. I wish I didn’t and I wish you didn’t either. I found myself recounting some of the things they can expect, and when they are going through it, if they need a shoulder or an ear, I’m here. The Welcoming Ambassador to one of the Worst Clubs Ever.
It was an excruciating day. I’m simultaneously a spectator and a participant when I attend funerals now. I can see how this is happening to someone else, but I can’t help but relive my experience again and again and again. There was an open bar at the reception and you guys…holy hell, did I want a drink. I was trembling and stuttering and I wanted nothing more than alcohol to course through me and temper those anxieties, dull my fears, relax my jittery, jumpy tone. At one point, I had a near-panic attack. I couldn’t breathe and had to quickly – and oh-so-awkwardly – make my way through the crowd to find a secluded corner so I could put my head between my legs and just breathe.
When I got home from the funeral, I was emotionally spent and in the stillness of my quiet house (such a rarity…), I let myself collapse on the couch. I started mindlessly watching a movie. The phone beeps. It’s a text from one of my best friends. Three words:
My dad died
Another member unexpectedly inducted into one of the Worst Clubs Ever.
As I continue writing about the lead up to what made me a drinker and ultimately what made me no longer a drinker, it is consistently revealed to me how difficult it is to cope with feeling pain. And when you’re not trained and practiced in this coping, the myriad of numbing agents become how you cope. I will delve deep into these topics over the coming weeks, but for now, let me say my desire to drown my sorrows has been exceptionally strong in the last 48 hours. And as I mentioned, I would not classify myself as an alcoholic. But I am – 100% – someone who used alcohol and other escapist tactics to cope with pain.
All of this to say, I am dealing with a few things right now. How to be the best support to my friend during this time. My niece is getting married in 6 days, which is just one of the most exciting things ever and I am so looking forward to witnessing and celebrating that union. And my birthday is Friday, and it’s a weird age that has me pondering a lot. So I’m all over the place. But next week, I’ll be back with Chapter 2. Thanks for sticking with me.
Cheers (with chamomile tea).