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?