I should be asleep, or more likely doing the work that I carry around with me as I lackadaisically wander around my house. I go from room to room, hoping for some kind of inspiration or motivation. I should be working right now, there are things due tomorrow that I am not even close to having complete, but my scar is itchy and sore, my ear is ringing and the sadness I feel is palpable. I manage to numb it here and there but I’m grieving a loss. A loss much worse than that of your perfect, clean bill of health. My boyfriend and I, after several years of joy, pain and love made the difficult decision to “go our separate ways.” A phrase I am still seeking to understand. In a blur of tears and frustrated raised voices I remember hearing the words, “you do your thing, I’ll do mine.” Strange. I thought that we were each others thing.
It’s painful, it’s scary, but I figure, if I got through brain surgery I can get through this. I’m hoping he has some similar outlook. If he can get through my brain tumor, given that it was much harder on the peanut gallery than it was on me (I’m guessing), than he can get through this.
Any person who has ever been the victim of life’s many cruel heartbreaks understands that they make everything hurt worse. Working out, the anger and sadness it makes you work harder, but gosh darn is it a huge effort. Reading, just feels like torture. Headaches, well there’s no one to help you struggle against the ibuprofen bottle when you’ve waited too long to address the pain. Watching TV, why are all the plots, subplots and one-liners about marriage, love or couples? Fear of a CSF leak, it’s almost like, well who even cares. And listening to music, the worst most digging feeling of all, that is until you have to go to sleep. Then the echo of John Mayer’s Dreaming with a Broken Heart plays in your head and you just can’t remember what it is like to wake up without the knowledge that you have someone special to wake up to. It’s all very typical, run of the mill break up stuff. We’ve all seen or felt it if we’ve loved more than once. And yes, it sucks.
Despite that, I’ve shown incredible strength, humility, and hope in the last few weeks (If I don’t say so myself!). Friends going through problems have been able to rely on me. Though my focus has been waning I have completed all my assignments in the nick of time. I’ve showed up for the people I care about the best I could. I’ve practiced patience with myself and others. I made everyone laugh at the Acoustic Neuroma Support Group meeting and in that moment I wasn’t this broken down woman looking for a break, I was me. I was funny and vibrant. Making light of a scary situation for the sake of the new members (aka the newly diagnosed). I was them just at the last meeting three months ago. Lost, confused, scared. Hoping the worst of the outcomes wouldn’t be me and the best of the outcomes would be worse than anything I would get. One woman remarked how exhausting it is to sit in a restaurant straining to hear the person across from you, how you go home so tired from something so simple as trying to hear. They asked for tips for coping with that. One woman offered a nifty earplug that helps block out peripheral noise. Another recommended seating yourself in a certain way. Yes, I can relate to that feeling of exhaustion from perking up for an entire restaurant meal, so my advice? Stop listening. Prepare your canned answers and when you see your friends lips stop moving toss one out. My favorites? “Oh, really!” or “You don’t say!” Of course everyone thought I was nuts but everyone laughed and we all felt the tension dissipate. Yea, we have brain tumors, really, we have the best kind of brain tumors (#winning!) and what’s more, we can still laugh about it. Even if our smiles are crooked and we laugh too loud. Anything that anyone said for the rest of the meeting I responded to with a hearty, “Why, you don’t say!” It works. Try it.
Jason always knew when I was just pretending to hear. He’d chuckle when I gave answers to what I thought I’d heard. I think it added to my charm.
So yea, I’m sad and things are hard but I’m still laughing. My plan? To sit with these feelings and learn from them. Embrace them and try my best to understand my circumstances and as soon as I’m done with that? I’ll seize my fate.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery once said “Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction.” So I’ll figure out where Jason and I were looking and then I’ll see where I need to look to next. Life, afterall, is not about finding yourself, it is about creating yourself. I will create myself from the wreckage around me, as soon as the dust settles. As for Jason, I’ll never say a negative thing about him. He is the one truest love of my life thus far and I value him, his passion, his drive, his friendship and his love. I miss him terribly.
In the meantime, I have a few weeks left to this semester, some important family time on the horizon and come this summer my hearing dog Raider will be by my side. I’m nervous and excited about what lies on the horizon!
My scar is itchy and sore, I’m sad and unproductive, but I’m still here and still, oddly, happy with who I am. Satisfied with my life, however problematic and grateful for the love that has shown itself to me in a time of need.
With peace and love –