I haven’t been blogging, or even writing much at all lately because someone I love has been going through a very tough time—it’s one of the most stressful times anyone can have. She’s read this, and is comfortable with me posting as much as I have. I want to protect her privacy, so I’m not going to give details.
I’ve been supporting her as much as I can by phone and text, and it just didn’t seem right to be rambling about nothing terribly important in the broad scheme of things when she’s going through something so life-changing. My thoughts and emotional energy have been with her, and because she’s far away, I’ve felt powerless to help very much. I kept visualizing a cyber-circling of the wagons around her, because when someone you love doesn’t live close by and is experiencing heartbreak, and you have a job and a child in school and a life of your own, all you can do is call and email and text and hope that she knows you’re there to talk to and to help however you can.
She’s safe now. It will still be stressful for her, but she will be able to get through it.
What I want to tell her is that it’s not her fault. That she is beautiful and smart and talented and deserving of being treated like a queen and is more than capable of doing whatever she decides to do with whomever she decides that she wants to spend her time with, if she decides that at all.
I want to tell her that it may seem like she’s alone now with the responsibility of a child, but the reality is that there are many people who love her and want to help her and will not treat her the way she has been treated. In a few years, when her child drives her crazy and she wants to scream, she can go into the bedroom, close the door, and call someone. I’ve done it. My sister who is mom to four children has talked me down many times from a screaming fit and told me what to say when my daughter is being especially difficult. I’ve tried to do the same for other people, for both serious and non-serious issues, like responding to a request to “Tell me not to let that stray cat into my apartment.” That’s what we do for the people we care about.
I want to tell her that there will be sadness and grief and days when you just want to lie in bed and cry. And it’s OK to do that. But you won’t want to do that forever. Because when it’s all over, she will have freedom like she’s never known before. The freedom to decide how to spend her time and what her life is going to be about.
I want to tell her that it’s OK to not be in a relationship, even though the world seems to be “in love.” I’m still learning this one. My last relationship ended over 18 months ago, and, at first, I said that I wouldn’t date for a year, because I’d never gone that long without trying to be in a relationship. That year came and went, and, although sometimes I think it might be nice to date again, I’m still not feeling like I’m ready. I’ve realized during this “relationship fast” that not dating has given me the space, time, and energy to figure out who I really am—a writer—and to do what I need to do—which is write as often as possible. She is someone other than wife and mom and employee and friend, too. If she has the courage to be single for a while, she’ll figure that out for herself.
And finally I want to tell her that she can get through this. She may feel crazy and maybe say or do some things she might regret later, but what she is going through is crazy-making. We’re human and make mistakes. It’s all right. It’s not her. It’s the situation.