Sunday, February 10, 2019

Pain, and More Pain...

I haven't written in three months. I've been having writer's block again. I hate it. I think I know why, and I'm trying to change those circumstances, but it takes time.

I apologize in advance for some vagueness in this post. I need to write, but there are details to some of these situations that I really cannot divulge for privacy and safety reasons.

Back on November 30th we endured a pretty massive earthquake. Actually, it's not the biggest one I have experienced, however it was only 7 miles from our house. When they are that close, they feel so much bigger than their magnitude would suggest. I had called in sick that morning and was home, alone, dead-asleep. I survived it obviously, but it represented one of my very worst fears come true.

We were very fortunate to not have much damage at all. In fact, our only casualty was a single champagne glass that the hospital gave us when the kiddo was born. Thankfully we have one more. We are so very lucky. Many others had major damage, some were out of power and/or heat for days, and a few people even had some minor injuries. It's a miracle no one was hurt badly or died, even of a heart attack. This event was just awful.

We have had over 8,000 aftershocks, I would guess at least 100 of which we have felt - some over 5.0 even. They are no joke.

The psychological effects, for me, linger. Anxiety latches on to things like this and it does not like to let go. This past week I stayed home by myself for two hours - a first since the quake. I still think that if I had been anywhere else when that big one hit, I would not have been affected nearly so badly. But being completely alone, upstairs, and asleep so that I was caught totally off guard, was absolutely terrifying.

People joke about having PTSD afterwards, but it actually wouldn't surprise me if a lot of us do. I still sleep in sufficient clothing to be able to run out the door. I know where my car keys are at all times. We've stocked up on water and canned food. My car has not dropped beneath a half-tank of gas since the quake. Every time I go somewhere, I am scanning for the nearest exit. The nearest safe structure to get next to or under. I don't like going anywhere without hubby anymore. (This was already a problem before the quake but has definitely gotten worse.) Thankfully he is totally understanding.

The holidays were a welcome distraction from earthquake stress. But, due to some medical issues, my parents were unable to come stay with us for Christmas this year. It's the first time I have spent Christmas without any family (besides hubby and kid, of course). We made the best of it, and it was good. But the truth is I really did not like not having any relatives to spend the day with. Even hubby, who is not nearly as close to extended family as I am, said he didn't like it either.

In January, my father-in-law took a sharp turn health-wise. He had been diagnosed with cancer a few months prior, but it was being treated successfully. The tumor had shrunk as the doctors had hoped, and the plan was to let him build up some strength post-chemo and then do surgery to remove it. Unfortunately, some other things happened instead, and on a Friday night he was given two weeks to live. Hubby was there by Tuesday afternoon to spend some quality time. Much to everyone's shock, my father-in-law passed away the very next day with his kids and grandkids (except me and kiddo) at his bedside.

This was an extraordinarily difficult situation for hubby, for reasons I won't go into here. Let's say the whole event did not happen like it does in the movies. This is also the first parent either of us has lost. That is a lot harder than we thought it would be. We were not able to be there for his service, which was tough too. I feel like I never got to say goodbye and that breaks my heart. I just have to hope he knew what was in my heart despite some really unfortunate and unnecessary drama in the last couple of years.

I kind of thought that was more than enough difficulty for the new year, but...

Here comes the part that has to be vague. And it's going to be long and it's going to be a bit soul-baring. And maybe depressing. But I have to get it out.

This week, I lost someone who was incredibly important to me. He was one of those one-in-a-million friends. The kind who understands you like almost no one else. The kind who still supports you even in those rare situations when they actually don't understand. The kind who loves you unconditionally in a way that is not threatening to your relationship. (I know many people don't understand this. I just have to ask you to trust me.) The kind who is willing to give you tough love when you need it, and who you know so well that when they do, you accept it and you listen and you know they're right. The kind you can't even get mad at.

The kind you know, without question, will always have your back. The kind who knocks down your walls with no effort at all, comes in, and even rebuilds the walls behind them just because they know you feel safer that way. The kind who always - always - has your best interest at heart and actively protects you, even going well out of their way to do so. The kind who poses no threat to your emotional well-being in any way. The kind you can truly, genuinely, deeply trust without reservation.

I do not let many people in. I mean, really in. There are very few people in this world who truly know me. Who I allow to see the real me. For lots of reasons. That kind of vulnerability is very scary for me and I usually just don't really risk it. So when it comes to the very few people I let in, they are truly treasures to me and I protect those relationships very carefully and defend them fiercely. Aside from my parents and my husband, this was the person I was closer to than anyone else. Ever. It's safe to say he nearly saved my life at least once. If not for him, I would not be where I am right now, in several different ways.

Our relationship was just... beautiful. I know, I know. Cheesy, sappy, trite. But completely true. He knows things about me that no one but my husband knows. I could say anything to him without censoring, without worrying he would judge, without concern than he would take something personally or react badly. I could always count on him for the truth. Whereas other people might tell me what I want to hear or what would make me feel better, he told me the truth. Always.

This was not a flash in the pan relationship, either. It was over two decades of mutual support and just unconditional, deep, genuine caring. When we met, we were both single. We clicked instantly. We supported each other through crappy relationships, good relationships, marriage, kids, careers, struggles, all of it. All of life's ups and downs - we always held each other up. And there were a LOT of ups and downs in that many years.

And now it's all gone. And it's an insult-to-injury situation that I can't blog about. There's no death involved here or anything. Just... complicated stuff. Neither of us wanted this, but here we are. This is the equivalent of falling down on the ice and blowing your knee out (been there done that) and then someone coming along and taking a bat to the back of your head to punish you for accidentally falling down... while you're still trying to get up.

Seriously, that's how this feels. I'm a bit heartbroken. I'll miss him so much. I'll miss his steady presence in my life. I'll miss his unwavering support. I'll miss his sense of humor. I'll miss his advice. I'll miss having someone with which to discuss nearly identical specific interests. I'll miss having someone who gets me like that. I literally can't envision ever having someone like that in my life again. My brain can't figure out how to even picture it. That was a once-in-a-lifetime thing.

And just like that, it's gone.  And there's nothing at all I can do except just move on like none of it ever happened.

This hurts.