Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Gorillas and Grace

Sometime ago, there was a commercial about a gorilla and a Samsonite suit case. The commercial was to illustrate the toughness of the merchandise. My sainted grandmother used it to teach me something about how we deal with things in this life. She said that our issues were in that suitcase and the gorilla would smack us around from time to time with that weapon. It's a weapon we formed. The best scenario is when that gorilla is bored of playing, that we unlock that case and pull as much as we can from the baggage to process. Handle and put away everything we can in the time we have to do it before he wants his toy back. Then the bag is lighter and the hurt is less.

As we all know, I have been dealing with some nightmare issues, quite literally. I have also been doing some intensive work on what is wrong. My friend and I have been wrestling this issue from the boxes in the attic of my mind. The first thing you have to understand is that every person in your dreams are you. Something this emotionally painful has nothing to do with outside forces but with damage inflicted upon your psyche. In my case, it is a defense mechanism that I employed to not break. My psyche did what was necessary for me to survive.

I have to go back. Back to that day. When he collapsed I went into business mode. Just as I had done a hundred times. My business was making sure my husband lived to fight another day. To make sure that my son was alright. To hold my family together at all cost. However, my business had never been to make sure that I was taking care of me. The explosion happened and I locked away the part of me that believed. That could panic. That could fall apart. My husband, my son and my husband's family were looking to me for strength. For guidance. For wisdom. They were feeding their emotional states from me. I emotionally locked her in a dark room as surely as if I had slammed a door on a house. I had to survive what was happening to me and I had to carry them with me. I held my head, my heart and my tongue when I walked that aisle on my son's arm. I hid my eyes behind dark glasses so that I could hide my shattered soul from the world. Yet she was screaming in that room. Lost and alone. Afraid.

This was the price of a private grief. I only cried alone. I lay in the darkness of my grief alone. I had no comforting hands nor hugs of condolence. When I walked into my home the day of the funeral I shut myself away. In an effort to hold his legacy together, I very nearly destroyed mine. I closed myself off because everything that touched me hurt. The strong arms that had held me together through the death of my brother, the ones that banged down the door when I had shut down emotionally, were gone. Without them, I could not break down the walls I built to protect myself.

In my dream I am asleep. A state of childlike innocence. That part of me that could not believe that he could actually die. The part that won every fight for his life. The part that thought I had forever. In truth the catastrophic event that ended his life ripped me in two pieces. A part to handle the business and the everyday survival that was necessary. A part to lie dormant and wait for me to allow her to grieve. To do so in my way. Privately. Honorably. Gracefully. But the price was very nearly my sanity. "I'm sorry baby. I didn't know." Is me admitting that I didn't know he could actually die. I didn't know.

So at the moment, I have my suitcase and the gorilla is at the gym. He gets stronger everyday. But I am unpacking the bastards bag. I am lightening the blow. At least now I understand what it is that I have to unpack. But I will do this on my terms. I understand the issues now. I clearly see what it is I have done and what I must do. I have dealt with my relationship with my son. We are closer than we have ever been in our lives. I am on speaking terms with my husband's family. I have walked away from the fakes and the drama queens. Cleaned the trash out of my friends and attracted quality people into my life.

For everyone else I have fought. My husband. My son. A family that was unappreciative and needed someone to blame. A group of friends that waited for me to fall. People who wanted me to ask for help. Now I'm in the fight of my life. Because this fight is for me. This fight is literally for the life and happiness I have earned. I have cried, bled and quite literally tried to die. This fight I cannot lose. Because it is for the future I deserve. The only person that I have not settled this debt with is myself. But I'm coming for you baby girl. It will take a hell of a lot more than some juiced up gorilla on a 'roid rage to keep me away.