Eighty Degrees

By Lindsay MaillouxApril 23, 2018

This post has been edited. You can read the piece as it was originally published on Lindsay’s blog.

Today would have been way crappier if it had been raining.

Even with the year’s first summer breeze and sun, it was a pretty crappy one. Some might even say it was shitty. I usually wouldn’t. But I haven’t quite made up my mind about how comfortable I am swearing for emphasis. Today I’ll let it slide.

Some days your ears hear things they don’t want to. Your eyes see things they don’t want to. Your heart feels things it really doesn’t want to. But it happens. You see a group text message on your phone to all your family members and realize you should call your mom right away. In the moments the phone is ringing you feel this spreading fear and prickling questions. Do I panic? Do I remain calm? Is it just going to be a no big deal update… or is it bad? And if it is bad, how bad is it going to be? You try to prep your mind. You try to ready your emotions. You try to screw in some iron sense of stability as the phone keeps ringing. She picks up on the third or fourth ring. All those questions and all that fear managed to squeeze itself into six seconds. Deep breath…

“Hey Momma, what’s going on?”

Try and read the tone of voice. Quickly realize it’s the serious kind and find a place to sit. Find a place to melt if you need to. The only place is a foyer with a few open chairs and tall open windows with sunlight streaming in. Sit in the sun and listen to words you didn’t want to have in your life. Board of tumor doctors will meet on Thursday. Two millimeters of growth on the enhancement. May have surgery again. We’ll have to wait and see.

It may be back and growing. The two pencil tip lengths of light on an MRI may have us back at square one. And we have to keep living. Even if living means surviving this limbo that has become the default.

And that’s about the gist of it.

I don’t really feel like dwelling on it much longer. I’d rather figure out what to do from here. How to live from here. How to figure out how to live with things that are really painful. And really shitty. And really want to make you cry. Because even though I had a crappy day, it was still beautiful outside. It could have been worse. It could have been raining.

And I’m sure there are millions who lived through the worst today. Days without any sunshine to melt down the sharp edges. I know they are out there. I know you are out there. The world is full of hearts with all sorts of heartbreak to bear. There are so many kinds. I guess you could try and line them up from least to most. See whose is worst. Give a prize for the world’s shittiest day. But I don’t think heartbreak, pain, suffering, or whatever you want to call it is measured like that. Because everyone’s pain deserves attention. Everyone’s loneliness or anger or fear or anxiety or grief or frustration deserves to be seen. And deserves to be heard. Having mine heard around the kitchen table is what makes it bearable. It’s what makes me able to shoulder it and then decide I don’t want it on my shoulders any more. So I’ll let it slide off as I am ready and able.

So I want to ask: Are you out there too? How does your heart feel today? Is it broken? If it is, can I help you hold the pieces? Even if I can’t help you put them together, can I just hold them with you? Can I just be there and let you know that it’s okay to have days that really hurt? That you need to let yourself feel it for a little while? Maybe write a short story about it?

Because I’m a big believer in all of that. I’m a big believer in letting yourself feel what you need to feel. And I’m a big believer in not having to do it alone.

Because I think that’s what makes this whole world livable. Because the crappy days can last a lot longer than just a day. It can be a life. It can be a world. I think it might in fact be the world we’re living in.

And I don’t want to say you should find the silver lining. Because it very well could have been raining today. It probably was in Seattle or something.

Let’s be honest and say this shit shouldn’t be here. But it is. Let’s be honest and say we’re tired and stressed. But life is still worth it. Because people are in it. And breathing is a beautiful thing. But when breathing stops it’s not the end all either.

There’s hope here too. I know it. Even if I can’t quite name it at this moment. I’ll believe it’s there. Will you too? Would it help if we held hands or something? If I hope when you can’t and you hope when I can’t?

Maybe that’s how we’ll make it work. Me and you… Deal?

Leave a Reply

Comments (16)

  1. Divine Bakumusu

    I am interested about volunteering. I from France

    Reply  |  
  2. Brittany Ahrend

    This was exactly what I needed to get through this day. So thank you truly.

    Reply  |  
  3. N

    Exactly what I needed to hear. I relate to “Some days your ears hear things they don’t want to. Your eyes see things they don’t want to. Your heart feels things it really doesn’t want to. But it happens.” This is the truth of existence, unfortunately. These past six years have been this. There have been many times where I have wanted to give up, but I’m still breathing I guess. Throughout this long journey, I’ve learned a lot and have felt a lot. So thanks for the encouragement, it was much needed. Thanks.

    Reply  |  
  4. Terri Weaver

    My Dad’s 60th birthday would have been 09/23/18… he will be gone 3 years in March. I still haven’t dealt with his death… he was sick 10 years on dialysis, severely diabetic, lost eyesight in one eye…a brilliant and smart man… but a stroke took him in the end… not a day that goes by do I not think of him or wish I could talk to him again. Now his older sister who is 64 is dying… she too is on dialysis… but is now refusing it and is in so much pain and is suffering…it won’t be long now…my heart is breaking…plus my Mother was in the hospital a few weeks ago again because of her heart… she only has 1 artery left… she is my only parent alive…I am incredibly worried…sometimes it feels like I cannot possibly take on anymore… that I am alone…but I know so many others are going through things too. My heart aches for them as well. I will help hold the pieces too…

    Reply  |  
    1. TWLOHA

      Hello Terri,

      We are heartbroken to hear of the loss of your father and the medical struggles of both your mother and your aunt. We know that this time is incredibly difficult for you, but we want you to know that you do not have to go through this alone. We are here for you. Please reach out to us at [email protected]. We are here to listen to your story and to help you through the difficult times.

      With Hope,

      Reply  |  
  5. Ronell

    Needed this today ?

    Reply  |  
  6. TJ

    You just voiced what has been swirling around in my head. ” But I don’t think heartbreak, pain, suffering, or whatever you want to call it is measured like that. Because everyone’s pain deserves attention. Everyone’s loneliness or anger or fear or anxiety or grief or frustration deserves to be seen. And deserves to be heard. ” So many times when I have tried to express my feelings, the response always has a message of ‘it’s not so bad’ or ‘it will pass’ or any number of things that dismiss the pain I’m trying to express. I don’t need you to sweep it away. I don’t need you to fix it. I need you to hear it. I need you to acknowledge that my pain is that – my pain. And feeling it is okay. Thank you for sharing this. It hit the spot today.

    Reply  |  
  7. Christy

    I need help…. I’m only dying inside and fighting the constant urge not to speed it up to a more of an instant type.

    Reply  |  
    1. TWLOHA


      We’re so grateful that you had the courage to comment asking for help. We’re so glad you’re here. You can email us at [email protected] and we will gladly connect you with local resources. You can also visit our Find Help page at twloha.com/find-help or text TWLOHA to 741741 to be connected with a trained crisis counselor for free, thanks to Crisis Text Line.

      You don’t have to do any of this alone. Please email us or reach out to one of the resources that exist to help you.

      With Hope,

      Reply  |  
  8. Shay Darling

    Oh, my heart. It’s a deal.

    Reply  |  
  9. Michelle

    This was so beautiful and I one hundred percent understand I lost my mom 2 years ago today I sometime the pain is just crushing but you go on. Thank you for this I will save this to pass on to someone who may need it in the future

    Reply  |  
  10. Donna McFadden

    Life is still good!! We have to be there for each other.Know that there IS a light at the end of the tunnel even though it doesn’t seem it!

    Reply  |  
  11. Dawn

    That was beautiful. The “its ok to have days that really hurt” is what hit home for me.. Had a rough time lately and this helped. Thank you

    Reply  |  
  12. Hayley

    Beautiful. Suffering is brutal.

    Reply  |  
  13. Nicole Williams

    Yes, I wish we could hold hands. Things hurt a lot right now.

    Reply  |  
    1. TWLOHA

      Nicole, would you like to share some of what’s hurting you in an email to our team? You’re always welcome to use [email protected] as a safe space to talk about what you’re experiencing. We would be honored to read and respond.

      Reply  |  
Get Email Updates

Sign up for our newsletter to hear updates from our team and how you can help share the message of hope and help.