I have avoided this place with you because I really didn't know what to say. People keep asking how I am. Like I have an answer for that.
The last seventy-two hours have been spent mostly angry. I don't think I can really explain that. Some of the anger is specific, but a lot of it is just the general scatter-shot anger. Angry about the last year. Angry about the marriage I dreamed of. Angry about Rob's choices. Angry that things keep disappearing but God isn't explaining. Just angry.
Two of my men friends tell me men have this ability to simply hit a switch and a situation is over. Done. Sort of like it never happened.
Wish I had that switch...
And I don't wish I had that switch.
Did I ever tell you I wanted to go into the military when I graduated high school? Yep. I either wanted to coach basketball or be a military strategist. Really not that different in purpose. In basketball, you figure out the strengths, weaknesses, and strategies of the opponent, and you use them against them so you win the game. Really not much different with military strategy. You learn your oponent, analyze their strengths and weaknesses, and use that information to defeat them. The difference is in one game everyone goes home. In the other, not so much.
I didn't go into the military, though, because of knee surgery.
However, I've often wish I had. Several of my friends have this self-discipline switch--now granted they are also men, so maybe it is a man thing and has nothing to do with the military--and I have wondered if I had become a Marine, would I have it, too? Would I simply be able to turn off the mental and emotional choas like so many of them seem to be able to do?
Sometimes I wish I could...sometimes I'm glad I can't.
Sometimes I feel like the horrendous pain and all the tears is really weakness, and if I were stronger mentally or emotionally, it wouldn't bother me. I feel like if I had the right self-discipline days like yesterday wouldn't slam me. In fact, they wouldn't bother me at all. But, it did. In fact, it knocked me to my knees.
I went to the funeral home to pick up Rob's death certificates, and the woman said, "Oh, his remains are here, too."
No clue what I looked like, but it must have not been so good because amidst the words "remains are here" scream-echoing in my head, I heard, "Honey, I think you better sit down."
"His remains are here."
It was the first time in the this whole stretch of surrealism that I had to fight to not vomit.
"Honey, you don't have to take them today."
"I didn't know they were here," I heard myself mutter.
"You can leave them for now."
"The kids are in the car." Again, it was my voice.
"Well, then most certainly this is not the best time. Not a problem."
I don't remember leaving her office. I remember leaning against the brick wall while gagging sobs shook my body.
Surely, if I were more mentally disciplined such moments wouldn't happen. Instead of letting the information slam into me, I would have simply taken the ashes, too, thanked the lady for her helpfulness, and told her how much I appreciate the service I received from their funeral home. I would have walked out nonplussed, gotten in the car, and the children would have never been the wiser.
Sometimes I think that would make life easier, less painful, and really, I like less painful.
However, as enticing as it looks, this very thing I hate so much--the ability or acceptance of hurting so deeply, so wholly--is the very thing that makes me the most useful. It is my willingness to embrace the dark and its monstrous pain that allows me to walk into it without fear to help others find their way out.
I have learned being in the dark is not weakness. Acknowledging the pain of the dark is not weakness. Letting the dark control me is.
If the dark hurts so much I'd rather flip a switch and hide than to walk into, learn it, understand it, and rescue others from it, then the dark has won, but as long as I am willing to make phone calls when all I can do is sob without words...as long as I am willing to lie in my bed numb from the mental and emotionally beating I have just taken...as long as I know the difference between one day and a crater...then I'm not too afraid.
I think there it is admirable when people are self-disciplined enough to flip a switch and turn off their own mental and emotional responses in order to do their job or to help others. But I'm learning that sometimes it takes courage and self-discipline NOT to hit that switch. Sometimes the self-discipline and courage take me right into the place I least want to be. But oddly, even if I had the power to change it, I don't think I'd switch.