Breaking Point: #10

I am hosting an end-of-winter series featuring stories from the trenches of pain.  My hope is that in sharing these breaking points, we will feel less alone.  Thank you all for your bravery.  You are helping the world to heal.  

yrs. Laura

Today we have two Breaking Points.

One of desperation…

Submitted by: Victoria, in London

Sitting in the hall way of my small modern flat.  Just me.  Although the walls were bright, it was dark with no natural light.  The walls were moving in.

What were my choices, there must be choices.  Swinging my straggly hair and becoming aware of an odour I wondered when I last had a bath.  Did I need to do something?  It didn’t matter.  I could not do anything.  I would sit and wait.  And wait some more. Something would happen, it always did.

I could hear the buses in the road and was aware that life was carrying on outside.  Buses, bikes, cars, people bustling, on the way to and from the shops, the bus stop, the park, the library.  But nothing was changing.  It was still the same.  No one was coming to rescue me.  No one was going to knock on the door and solve everything.  If the phone rang I would not be able to ask for help, again.  I cannot ask.  Who would understand?

And what if I tell?  The look of pity and incredulity at my words would be the last pebble that made the earthquake begin.  And it may never stop.  Not ever and this may be the end of the world. The world which is my world which is the only world that I can know.  How am I supposed to know another person’s world, how is that possible?  Which brings me back to here.  And the walls and my bad hygiene because I have no energy to go the bathroom not 3 steps away.

Get the clothes and bury myself, pile them on myself and hide in them so that I do not exist, no one could see me if anyone was here.  Finally, I am not here I am sorted out and I am just a blouse, or a towel or a piece of fabric and no one can tell that I am in the pile of things so I can stay here forever, un noticed.

But no one is here.  And there is no one to see that I am not here.  I know that I am here and I still feel the same.

Nothing has changed, nothing is better and I cannot do this any longer.

And one of healing

Submitted by: Merris Doud

God helps us in times of need even when we want nothing more to do with Him. In my case, He used my dogs to help me through the days following the death of my daughter, Sarah.  I never blamed them, never questioned their love for Sarah or me, never felt anger towards them. They were the perfect instruments for God to use. In the split second that it took my brain to process the words “Sarah took her own life,” my world lost all meaning.  My husband, Mike, had taken the dogs to be boarded.  When I was able to move – to speak, I asked him to bring them home.  As I lay on my bed, feeling a brand of pain that I could never have imagined, the dogs ran in and excitedly jumped on the bed. They immediately sensed that something was horribly wrong and quietly settled, lightly molding their bodies against mine.   Soon they slipped into their afternoon routine, gently snoring as they napped.  They didn’t move; they didn’t speak; they didn’t cry.  They were just there, warm and alive and touching me. And it was comforting, so much more comforting than being told that Sarah’s death was God’s plan, that time would take the pain away, or that Sarah was now in a better place.

Throughout the months that followed, I moved through my days vowing never to love anyone or anything again.  The dogs were always there, either laying on the bed beside me or collapsed like speed bumps on the floor beneath my desk where I tried to work.

I begged anyone who would listen for an explanation, and it infuriated me when they shook their heads looking through me – offering nothing. I felt no such rage towards the dogs.  I asked them no questions; they gave me no answers.  I didn’t expect that from them.  They looked at me in the same way they always had – no pity in their eyes.  Nothing had changed in our relationship, no awkwardness – no impatience for me to get up and carry on.

One morning I woke up to find Maggie, the abandoned pup that Sarah had brought home, standing over me.  She cocked her head to the right then to the left. I swear she smiled as if to say, “There you are. I’ve missed you.”  And I felt something other than pain for the first time since Sarah died. Encouraged, Maggie bent over me, wagging her tailless backside with such vigor that she nearly toppled over. Then she began showering me with wonderful, wet kisses, her sweet puppy breath warm against my skin – awakening my capacity to love. Watching this action from the foot of the bed, Annie, who Sarah had rescued from an animal shelter, jumped up and joined in, happy that we were kissing again.

I believe that was when I started to heal.  Not then, but now I see that in that moment , God revealed to me that there was still joy in my world – not joy as pure as before,  for it would always be filtered through the pain of losing Sarah, but it was there, nonetheless. Both Maggie and Annie are gone now, their purpose fulfilled.  They were special dogs whose lives began as unwanted strays and ended as the esteemed channels that God used to touch me and give me a glimpse of hope.  For without hope – without love, we’re just passing time – waiting for the lights to go out.

For Annie and Maggie

I miss you guys

3 Comments

Filed under Breaking Point, My Posts

3 Responses to Breaking Point: #10

  1. Alison

    Victoria, that was so real that I remembered moments like that of my own. A friend of my mother’s use to say that the hardest thing for man to overcome is inertia. But it’s so much harder when you’re depressed, or at your breaking point. I like that you didn’t tell us anything except what you were experiencing in the moment. It was very different than what others who participated in this wrote, including me.

    Merris, yours also was so real that I wanted to go in the other room and check on my son. Laura really picked two pieces that compliment each other very well. I wrote a bunch more sentences to you and then deleted them. I feel what you wrote is so sacred that it doesn’t need any words from anyone else. Thank you for writing it.

  2. Merris,

    That is the most incredible piece of writing I’ve read since…well, since This Is Not The Story You Think It Is. Thank you so much for showing us your vulnerability, your grief and your strength — I imagine it must be healing to recall your healing process, but I also imagine it conjures up a lot of pain. Thank you so much for sharing with me. It helped me heal in some way, too. (My favorite line = “Not then, but now I see that in that moment , God revealed to me that there was still joy in my world – not joy as pure as before, for it would always be filtered through the pain of losing Sarah, but it was there, nonetheless.” Incredible.)

    -GH

  3. Victoria – The difficulty in asking for help…where does that come from, I wonder? Are we (women, in particular) afraid that we will be rejected, that we don’t know what’s really wrong, and, therefore, we don’t know what we need? I am so sorry that you felt like you weren’t there…that you weren’t seen…I hope that writing this piece allows you to see that you truly ARE here.

    Merris: Oh, the unconditional love that comes from animals…even when they’re just being “speed bumps,” they have the ability, as you said, to offer comfort no one else can. There is power in the unspoken, I think – so much said without words, but just the instinct of knowing. My mom got Fuzz from the shelter when I was in 8th-grade…I remember loving him so much simply because he knew when something was wrong…he would just lie by my feet and raise his eyes to meet mine every so often as if to remind me that he was still there. Sometimes, I think animals rescue their people, not the other way around. I need to go hug my Pug and two cats now. :)

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