Some people take life as it comes, worrying about something when there is a clear, imminent risk of something crappy happening. I envy those people with all my heart. What it must be like to go through life not constantly thinking of what could happen. That sinking, heavy feeling of anxiety not expanding in your chest all the time.
I have always been a worrier. Many of my close friends and relatives have spent plenty of time teasing me about it. After Jay died, a lot of the teasing stopped. It was like, “Oh shit, the worst really happened to her. She might be onto something.” Right after he died, there was the anxiety of being under investigation. That fear was so suffocating I couldn’t even grieve for my son until that was over. People would listen to me talk about the investigation in the early days, and I think they wondered why I was so out of touch with the fact that my little boy was dead. I didn’t know what else I was about to lose. I couldn’t live in the moment when there was still so much more at stake. Once that chapter closed, I was finally looking grief in the face for the first time. So, I can’t say the clouds parted into blue skies that day.
Things got better for awhile. I had hope. Then slowly, over time, the anxiety returned. It wasn’t like my worrying before, which used to just center around what was going on in my world and would be a temporary inconvenience. I went from being “a worrier” to “someone that has some anxiety issues.” I’ve talked about it before in this blog. Sometimes it gets revved up to this fevered pitch that I can barely control. Other times it’s completely manageable. Being distracted helps. It works like a record player. My record will play along just fine for awhile, and then my needle (which apparently is ultra shitty) starts skipping. The skipping goes and goes and goes until something distracts me and the needle gets gently set down again. The song continues on until the next skip.
These skips can be reset literally overnight, or even in a moment. Someone will say something or I’ll read an article that puts things back in perspective. The fortunate thing is that it’s not hard to reset the needle. The unfortunate part is that needle will skip on a dime, so I can reset it, feel great, and an hour later I’ll be back in worry hell. It’s one of my least favorite parts of me and it’s embarrassing, but it’s the truth.
This week the skipping of my record has been jacked up to ridiculous status. A possible health issue for someone in the family has cropped up as a scary concern. We learned about the possibility of it a couple of years ago, and since this news was first dropped on me a cool 5 months after losing Jay, I just set that information in the recycling bin of my mind and went on managing the tornado that was our life back then.
Skip to later this week, when we have an appointment with a doctor. She will do some more investigating and possibly send us off to a specialist. I apologize for being vague, but I hope you can understand that while I wear a lot of my life on this blog, I can’t wear it all because other people’s personal business needs to stay just that, at least for now. It’s not a life or death situation.
This all has led to my record skipping like a motherfucker. Did someone scratch up my LP?!?!
One thing that has helped me is reminding myself that the family is all in this together. I’ve seen what we can do. We have overcome more than one tragedy and we have done it with flying colors. It really sucks to have your strength tested like that, but we all got A’s.
However, I’m tired of having my strength tested. I just want to relax, man. We lost our son, we lost my mother, and I’m done with tragedy now. Thanks for the strength testing, we did our part. I don’t want to say go bother someone else, but we’re good. Being strong is tiring. My record is skipping because I’m always afraid of what’s around the corner. You can call me paranoid, but I’ve seen enough corners to feel like it’s never ending.
This week will pass, and we’ll wait to hear back from the doctor, and if they want to investigate further, we’ll enter the next step of testing. Then, if we get a definitive diagnosis, we’ll have to jockey for position, become strong again and trudge on. It will be a constant battle of resetting the needle.
If it turns out that there are no health issues, I’ll sheepishly chide myself for getting all riled up. And that’s good. I need more instances where my silly little worrying was all for naught. That helps me have hope. It smooths out that needle a little bit the next time a worry comes along. But if my worries are founded, if we’re given yet another pile of rocks to carry through life, I’m going to be terribly saddened. I had almost 40 years of fairly carefree living before the rug was yanked out from under me. But my sweet girl had only 4 years of life before being handed a weight no child should carry, and then another weight 18 months later. I know life isn’t remotely fair, but she’s the person in my world who could really, really use a break.
I look at Floyd all the time, with 20 months of life under his belt. He enjoys a completely carefree existence. It’s enviable. I hope that lasts for a long, long time. But however long it lasts, whatever we learn from the doctors, no matter what comes at us, I will do everything in my power to convey to my children that we can do this. No matter how tired and frustrated I get that we keep getting dealt shit cards, I will never stop going to bat for my children. My only real job in this life is to send my children the message that you can not only survive, but thrive until your last day. It’s true because I will make it true. It would just be so much easier with a better record needle.