Monday, October 25, 2010

Can't Swallow, Can't Breathe

Oh, sending so much love out to a dear friend tonight who is going through a really rough time. She's at the forefront of my heart. (And not, incidentally, the woman I am writing this post about.)

This world is so fucking cruel. So. Fucking. Cruel.

And so unfair.

I talked about this with my new therapist today, the "why me" syndrome and the "really, Universe? REALLY?!?" It just seems like there are too many people in my world right now having to deal with Really. Awful. Things.

The woman who brought us our dinner last night is an old family friend. I've known her since I was maybe 3 or so. She's always been a bit of an older sister, but our families lost touch for a long time in there. Her brother was killed in a car accident when he was 16. She was 18, I think. Devastating. It was the first taste of mortality I got, I was still a preteen I think. It was heartbreaking to watch her family go through it.

We fell out of touch for a long time, but recently my work has collided a bit with her social circle, so we've been casual acquaintances - facebook friends, etc. But not really involved in one another's lives, certainly not deep-secret-friends. She signed up for dinner delivery so I was looking forward to seeing her and catching up. I figured that our tragedy spoke to her mostly on the level of relating to the loss of her young brother 20+ years ago.

Last night when she dropped off dinner, I invited her in for a bit. We got to talking. She shared that in addition to losing her brother at such a young age, she also has had several "run-ins" with pregnancy loss, many late term, including a 25 week stillbirth. Devastating.

We talk, we laugh, we cry together. As she's getting ready to leave, I notice she's got a bandage on her hand. "What happened to your hand?" I ask.

I know the look in her eyes, the look before she answers. I know it because I've had the same look on my own face in these last six weeks. For me, it's the look I got when someone asked me "When are you due?" and I then had to explain that I had already given birth, at 41 weeks, to a baby who died 36 hours later. It's the same look I had when the cable guy on Friday asked me "Do you have any kids?" and I had to explain, "Well, umm, yes...I have one son, but he died." (And then had to swallow, breathe, and answer that, well, actually, it had just happened six weeks ago.)

It was that same look that A got on her face last night when I asked about the bandage.

"Well, umm, I just finished my second round of chemo....."

I gasped. Swore. Sighed. And tried to breathe. Tried to swallow.

She's 45.

She's got breast cancer. The second of my friends IN THE LAST WEEK to share this news with me.

I told my husband the other night that if the sun came up tomorrow morning and it was purple, I might not bat an eye. My world feels that confusing. That nonsensical. That Wrong.

Why me? Why A? Why any of us?

And yes, I've read the "Why not me?" theory as well, and it resonates with me in my core, in my heart. But, tonight, let me be selfish and shake my fist at the heavens and scream WHY ME? Dammit, why why why.

The word "cruel" has never meant so much to me as it has in these last six weeks. Cruel, cruel world. I always thought the phrase was reserved for the melodramatic. Not feeling that so much anymore.


Anonymous said...

Cruel is the understatement of the century isn't it? I think taking the selfish route is emblazoned somewhere on my skin right now. Maybe it is my middle name.
I am so very sorry for your friend.
None of it is fair.
Sometimes it's all just sh%t.
I wish I had some Zen calm right now but I don't. I'll keep you posted when I read some Thich Nhat Hanh tonight.
love and hugs- L

æ said...

And I'm sorry for our shared friend. I think we must be holding the same one in our hearts tonight. Cruel seems like the fucking understatement doesn't it.

Otis' death was the cruelest thing I'd ever experienced to be possible. Still is. It took so long for it to even sink in, it's so incomprehensible. Blessed little Otis. It was the first time the word "tragedy" resonated for me in a bone shaking way. Cruel tragedy.

I hope you know I think of you and think of Otis more and more each day, in fact. I thought today about him aging and not aging, Sarah, and my heart ripped wide open again. I don't understand why you, why him. I don't understand him not being 6 weeks old, and you not calling to tell me what that's like. I would have loved to know the 6 week old Otis.


Alex said...

There is so much suffering, my friend, so much, and it seems so senseless and so random and cruel, cruel, cruel. I am grieving for you, for Otis, for all the babies, children, and adults who leave this world much too soon - for those who are left behind.

And I don't know why you, why Otis, and it is IS IS IS IS unfair, it is, Sarah, and there is just an intrinsic cruelty to that, because it could have been different and you're left with this suffering, with this impossible suffering.

so much love.

hayley said...

so many times when I talked to our friends about the cruelness of Otis' loss the phrase came up "not our sarah", it really felt like asking the world for another evaluation, another outcome, because it is so unjust. I love you woman, and love seems the only thing to make any sense in this.


brianna said...

This is the first time I've been to your blog. I am sorry for the death of Otis. I know that feeling of the world suddenly spinning in the opposite direction.

I often wonder about "why me?" Intellectually I get the "why not me" but emotionally I am still not there yet.