Saturday, August 17, 2013

The point of no return

I've been having a case of the sads lately.

Though most of the time I do just fine with the carrying on and toughing it out and moving forward, sometimes I get stuck in my head. And I wonder.

I wonder why things are like this for me, for us.

I wonder why some people seem to carry more burdens than others.

I wonder why tragedies seem to strike in quick succession to one another.

I wonder why. A lot.

The thing is that there isn't an answer, not a real one that would ever satisfy the one asking the question anyway. There are rationalizations, excuses for the pain that others have inflicted, none of which ever justifies hurting others. Part of being a responsible adult means that you can't allow your issues, your fears, your flaws to be an excuse to hurt others, and yet it happens all the time.

There are medical explanations for disease, for illness, for death, but none of them satisfy the question of why this person, or why now.

There are experiences in this life that just change who we are. Once the event happens, we cross an invisible line in time and space, and we can never ever go back to the person we were when we were on the other side again.

We're here now, and we're past the point of no return.

Death is the most obvious of these times, but it isn't just our own inevitable extinction that is at issue. It's the deaths of others close to us that change who we are. Our children, our parents, our friends. Their deaths can irreversibly shift who we are, change our position in the world, change our perspective forever. You're just different now.

Illnesses can do it too, particularly those that stay with you forever. Diagnosis of a chronic illness is almost always a blow in the immediate period, because it usually carries with it some implication of something fundamental in our lives that must change and must change forever. I'd make the argument that cancer falls into this category as well, even the highly treatable and survivable cancers, because once you've heard that word uttered, everything changes. Once you've been dragged to the world of oncologists and chemotherapy and radiation and surgery to remove parts of your own body that turned on you, you don't ever get to go back to who you were before. You're this person now.

Some would argue that marriage is one of those moments, and for some it may be. Some people take the vows as the serious bonds they are intended to be, and others don't. They mistakenly believe that marriage will be as easy and careless as courtship and surrender once they realize that marriage is hard, and it is work, and it is ugly at times. In this day and age, I don't think that marriage itself transforms us primarily because of the naivety of those entering it. We don't think of it as life changing anymore. It's just a title shift and a name change.  I think the defining moment in a marriage comes later, whenever it is tested. You see what people are made of when times are rough, not when they are shiny and new and happy and easy. People far too often and far too easily take their partners for granted until it is too late.

There are other moments that change us irreversibly. Parenthood is one, though the attachment to the point of no return is a little bit different for everyone. For some it begins the moment they know a pregnancy exists, for some it's even before then, when they attach themselves to the idea of the child that resides only in their heart. For others, it's not until later, sometimes much later, that the weight of responsibility for another human being hits them. For some, they forget this responsibility exists, sadly.

When we are betrayed, we lose a lot of the person we were before that line was crossed. The ability to blindly trust anyone ever again vanishes. We may, in the process, have years of memories ruined, tainted, because of whatever this person that we once relied on did. We will question our judgment now, wonder who we can confide in, wonder if it's worth it to bother getting close to anyone anymore. We see the world now through rose colored glasses that we were forced to wear, and that we can never take off.

I'm sure there will be more lines I cross in my life, more points of no return. I've stepped over enough of them already that I feel like I should be done. I should be good for a little while at least. I know better than to believe that a break like that exists.

2 comments:

  1. Oh hon, I understand completely. I've been having my own case of the sads as well. Hugs.

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  2. This. This is perfect in so many ways. So many thoughts and feelings and issues I myself couldn't even process as they floated around in my head. I've read this 2 or 3 times in the past few days because its exactly what I've always wanted to say and in a strange way THINK but could never find the words. The fact that I'm not the same "me" I was just a year ago terrifies me and I'm just now finding the strength I need to make myself not only talk to a therapist but make myself talk to MYSELF about that invisible but oh so huge line I've crossed. Thank you.

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