Monday, June 5, 2017

My life changed forever one year ago today....

One year ago today was the last time I saw my mom close to what passed for normal, although even her normal wasn't very good. We went out for her birthday dinner at a nice restaurant and the next day she fell (probably due to her overuse of alcohol, a disease which at the time I still hadn't seen), and everything just began to unravel. Despite the fact that she's still here in a sense, there's nothing quite like realizing everyone in the family you knew and were related to, is gone. The following twelve months were a downward spiral; a journey into darkness of so many kinds; realizations and truths and the painful sting of a bitter reality.

On the underside of what appeared to be the darkest clouds I found what is possible - and not in just a song title or phrase sort of way; I learned during the times that break you down you can still find something amazing in others; a force and a light that lifts and carries you during the worst of times. Despite grieving for what I never had but always hoped for - and finally came to realize it wasn't to be; that is, a family which wasn't toxic or painful; people who cared for each other without lines or definitions or needing to qualify or meet certain standards. I didn't realize until recently; until everything changed a year ago; that I was STILL always and continually, hoping that somehow, somewhere, I'd find the love which wasn't available. Now I know, after forty-some years of searching, that it was actually never really attainable; that I'd burned part of myself out in a quest to find something which was was really only a mirage in my mind.

But that light from underneath the black that hung over me - the caring and support of incredible people, the kind words and thoughtful actions from those I didn't even know well - is what carried me through the roughest of times. I know now that such love and generosity from others, even when they may have considered their contributions small, can indeed add up to become the wind beneath one's wings. For that - for so many of you, for the thousand and one tiny gestures of concern, text messages and hugs - I will always be grateful.