I Fall Apart

I’m in a “Young Stroke Survivors” group on Facebook and I saw a post the other day that said, “Today is the 19th anniversary of my stroke. It’s taken me awhile but I can say I’m happy to be alive!” It made me pause. I thought it was such a beautiful sentiment, and must be so freeing to put into words. So I was ready to write a blog here with that same sentiment – I’m happy to be alive! But after repeating that phrase in my head a few times, I felt the weight of those words. It’s such a simple phrase, and seems so easy, so unhyperbolic – just a benign statement. But the more I repeated it, the less authentic it felt to me, and that realization broke my heart.

I felt a little self-pity but I mostly felt ashamed. How could I be so selfish and ungrateful to my family who work so hard to make me happy? But then there came the demons – the ones who remind me that there wouldn’t be extra work if there was no me. And the ghosts – the ones that look like the old me, and mock me with their easy laughter and even easier successes. And the thousands of other monsters telling me why I’m not enough or what I’m missing out on or how much I need to fear in my future.

I do, of course, have happy moments  – moments that are beautiful, unforgettable and just utterly blissful. In those moments, the demons, ghosts and monsters are nowhere to be found. It’s as if they never even existed and I ask myself, “Have I really done it this time?! Have I gotten rid of them for good?!” But, they always find their way home.

I know I really want to be alive, and that has to be enough for now. I want the chance to solve this puzzle, to figure out how to be happy in this life and with this life. The overachieving nerd in me is even excited by the challenge. Remember those synthesis problems in organic chemistry? They give you the starting structure and the final compound, and you have to figure out what reactions the starting structure has to go through to become the final product. Those were always my favorite. (Yea told you, big-time nerd). I know my starting structure and I have to figure out what I need to do, feel, accept or let go of to become my desired final product. To quote George Gamez in the sub basement of Perkins library, “Chal-lenge me!” with the associated snaps and head nod.

I really feel like I’m close. I know I’ll never get rid of my monsters completely, but I mean who doesn’t have little monsters of fears and insecurities of their own? But I’ve noticed whenever mine return, their fangs are a little less sharp. The other day, I was telling my new aide about my recent escapades: a family trip to NJ, a reunion weekend with my girls and a Florida wedding of a close friend. She was like, “You know, you have a great life.” I smiled and replied, “Yea, I guess I do.”

14 thoughts on “I Fall Apart

  1. You have beaten the odds, but the journey is still incomplete. May you find answers in your rich heritage. The universe within may even be larger than the constellations.

    Along those lines…Jay Rafa Bhagwan!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As always, I marvel at how much you have to say, and in the end, you always make me feel better. I will always believe in you. I hope the day comes when there are no more demons.

    Liked by 1 person

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