I had a bit of a heavy day yesterday. There’s the looming storm cloud of my friend and longtime co-worker(24 years this year) of leaving for an undetermined amount of time to deal with cancer. His docs say its 100% survivable which is what you want to hear with any cancer battle, but it doesn’t mean you walk away unscathed. Lots of unknowns with the actual surgery, radiation, and chemo. He’s been dealing with it pretty well, despite the uphill battle he’s got coming. And I know that when it is bothering him he comes in and talks to me about it because his wife is just too close to it. Usually he feels somewhat better after he talks it out. It’s sort of like me typing my thoughts out here and releasing them into the wild. I do feel better, lighter, after pouring that mental gunk out of my head and onto the page.
But yesterday just seemed like a day stuck in the muck of it all. There were three different people that came back to give him hugs and say “You’re gonna be okay”, but just not all that convincingly. Those awkward sentiments from people you don’t know all that well, but want to wish you well regardless. Thoughts are in the right place, but they just don’t land the way you imagined they would in your head. It got me thinking about how he’s going to recover and if he’ll recover at 100% or not. It started to make me wonder just how long I’d be working alone. A month? Two months? Three? I know this isn’t about me. I’m not dealing with a health crisis. I’m dealing with a friend who’s going to be going through a lot in the next few weeks. But I’m also going to be working solo, which currently at work isn’t the ideal situation. Despite the closing of our plant looming in the not-too-distant future, we’ve been extremely busy. Two people can stay afloat, but one I’m not so sure.
I can feel my brain burning in my skull thinking about it.
After work I decided to go to the YMCA and walk laps upstairs. I didn’t have a change of clothes, but I had my nice walking shoes with me. Walking laps with my book playing in my ears helped. I burnt off some of that anxiety, which was nice. Three miles in and I decided to head home. On the drive home I get a text from my 19-year old who lives on her own with her boyfriend. She said she was hearing a flapping noise on her drive home from work and sent a video from her car with the noise. She called me and asked if I’d listened to it. I said no I was driving home, so she said she’d pull over and look underneath the car. She sends me a photo of what she saw, which was a large black piece of something dangling under the car, which was also dragging as she drove.
I got home and looked at the picture. I had no idea what the hell this thing was, but I imagined it was just a covering to protect the underside from road debris. I called my daughter back and asked her if she’d gone over any potholes or hit anything. She said no, but that she went over some rough train tracks that afternoon. I just kind of lost it, not yelling or angry, but just this overwhelming feeling of helplessness. I told her I didn’t know what to tell her. I wasn’t there, and even if I was I know nothing about cars other than they need gas and oil changes. She was living on her own, so she was going to have to figure it out. I said I’d transfer money to her if she needed it, but she’d need to take it somewhere to fix it.
I had this overwhelming urge to cry. I knew it wasn’t about her car. It was about everything; my friend dealing with cancer, the shit show at work that I was going to be dealing with, my own frustration for not being able to help my daughter like I wanted to, and just the overwhelming helplessness I was feeling.
For someone who likes to have a grasp on any situation it’s like goddamn kryptonite. I’ve always had an issue with just letting things go and the whole “what will be will be” philosophy. I’m not a care-free soul. I worry and that’s why I like to have a roadmap of what’s happening and what alternate routes I can take. As I’m getting older and the kids get older and friends get older and get sick out of the blue it feels as if all my road atlases are out of date and that Google Maps isn’t picking up any of these new routes via the great satellite in the sky. Getting older and less involved in decisions and lives is sort of like free-falling for me, and yesterday felt like a free-fall with nothing but a cloth napkin for a parachute.
I texted my daughter back and told her I was sorry for freaking out on the phone. This was her response:
“I don’t think you freaked out at all dad, I love you so much and I’m always here for you and I’m really sorry about everything that’s going on“
She knows what it’s like to mentally spiral. She took the initiative to get into therapy a couple years ago and it’s been an invaluable thing for her. I’m not in therapy, but this place right here is my therapy. I get it out, look at it, dissect it, and I realize I’m not crazy. I’m dealing with stuff that’s kind of new. Not scary(well, some of it can be scary), but an evolution in life and love and relationships. I do feel lucky in that the relationships that matter and have always mattered have remained intact. They have evolved with age and time, and some have even deepened emotionally. You go through some shit with people and that will only make you stronger and more determined to keep it together. If certain relationships don’t make it, well then you’re probably better off. Just wasn’t meant to be.
So my daughter did take her car to a nearby garage and it turned out to just be the skid plate. They reattached it and didn’t even charge her. As for my friend, well today is his last day at work before he goes in to have the tumor removed. I know he’ll pull through and will return to be the boisterous brother-in-arms I’ve come to know and love for the last 24 years. I’ll get through the shit show we call work and will look forward to taking a week off in the future. My weekends will be even more sacred than they already are.
If you’re struggling, find an outlet to get those mental storms out of your head. Write, talk to someone, put your angst and anxiety into something positive. Make things, scribble those thoughts into a notebook, or go get a cup of coffee with a friend and let that shit go. You’ll have another lost mind accident, no doubt about it, but at least you’ll know how to deal with it. Start the clock over and get back to it.
2 thoughts on “30 Days Since A lost Mind Accident”
All the best your pal in regards to his surgery and recovery. All you can do is support him and its great to know he has you as someone he can talk too.
Take work one minute/hour/day at a time. Don’t be Superman dude. Just do you best and I’m glad to hear that everything worked out for your daughters car. It doesn’t take much for one’s twig to snap nowadays but its how you handle it which is important and your daughter knows it…
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Thank you Deke.
Yeah, nowadays it seems that when it rains it pours, figuratively and literally. Still figuring out how not to let things out of my control take me down. I’m learning, but it’s a work in progress.
Appreciate the kind words.
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