an abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation

Yesterday within one half hour or so my entire world was thrown into chaos. I am trying to think about it and decide if it is accurate: the worst news I’ve ever heard. I will have to tell you later. Right now my thinking isn’t working at its best.

Details are not forthcoming as for one thing, I am not the principal character involved, here. If you’re looking for those, they may come in time.

I vacillate between absolute disassociation and, then, almost, glimpses of normalcy. I think I look normal on the outside to many people (I am good at this!). During these two days I am able to do many tasks on autopilot. Then suddenly I become almost non-functioning. My daughter asks me something in the checkout line about the change jar, and I begin to cry (silently; without her notice). Only a few minutes later I can’t remember what she said about the change jar.

In the evening I sit in a candlelit room with several other women and I talk about my weakness. I begin to cry. I talk a little more and then I say from the depths of my heart, “I am so grateful I am sober.” I am broken down pretty good, but the gratitude is so plain and so strong is almost the greatest bliss I’ve known.

Soon this ecstasy is re-swallowed by the darkness. I am back wandering in the desert. It is cold and dark. I am in no-man’s land where no one can help. No one can save me now. I am beyond human aid. There is a comfort in this because I know it is the truth. I stand in the grocery aisle with my children, trying to select frozen pizzas for our dinner. Frozen pizzas because I have not been able to eat since yesterday morning; one reprieve today where real hunger was with me. But since this usually isn’t happening, I eat when I can make myself, just a little bit, just a little bit of food and a little effort. So now: dinner for myself, the children. Pizzas. What else? Juice. A cucumber to slice. This will be good enough. This takes all my concentration.

Meanwhile, I search my heart for my own causes of suffering. Where have I failed to have compassion? Where have I not accepted the truth of suffering? Perhaps I have not failed particularly. I certainly believe no one is immune from catastrophe. My job now is to suffer, and suffer. It has become my time to do so.

But I have other jobs too. My children, my husband, my family and friends, and my community benefit from my survival. These people, the very Universe itself, all will benefit from me finding meaning in this abyss. I am ready to find it because I know it is there… I know it is there. Even if it is hidden from me as of yet. I am patient. I am persistent.

I am here.

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