There is something that I don’t remember about myself very often. Fortunately I don’t have to. I’m the person you want beside you in a crisis. I don’t mean an every day run of the mill crisis (although I’m alright in those too) I mean the god awful kind where people are hurt or dying.
I learned this about myself for the first time at 17 when my sister-in-law was in a terrible accident. It happened as she was turning into her workplace and her employer called my house knowing we lived only about 1.5 miles away. My mother (a trained EMT) fell to pieces. Freaked Out. I took her keys, I drove us there, I kept my mother from jumping out of the moving car when she saw my SIL’s small pickup truck in the ditch embedded into a wall of trees with the bed wrapped up over the cab. I remained calm, I talked to people, I determined it was going to be fine (miracle!) and I was the rock to my mother’s crazy. But when I left there and went on to school and walked into the last minutes of my homeroom .. something unexpected happened. Suddenly and without warning I fell apart, crying and gulping. All that plugged up fear and stress – blame out it came.
I am also a person who will cry at every single hallmark commercial ever. I cannot watch someone on TV cry for any reason without crying with them. The college kid who surprises his family on Christmas morning by sneaking home and making coffee get me every time. My husband laughs at me regularly for this. It doesn’t seem to play correctly against my real life abilities to deal with these moments.
And yet this reaction to real life drama, this rhythm has repeated itself enough to be predictable. I am the person who asks the right questions, handles logistics, contacts the necessary people. I’m the person who makes arrangements and who doesn’t forget to put glasses and underwear in the clothes bag for the funeral home. I’m the person afterwards who gets handed personal effects because I won’t forget to ask for them.
But I am also the person who, when everyone one else is starting to smile again, leaves and goes and sits in a stream of boiling hot water on the floor of the shower and quietly looses her shit.
I was surprisingly reminded of this all yesterday from an unexpected place.
Last week when we – the internet – found out about sweet Maddie’s death we were shocked. I was so sad for her mother, a woman I only know through reading her blog. I was definitely thrown by the awfulness of losing a child but I did not cry. At the time I didn’t think much of it. After all, I didn’t really know them, only read the blog. I donated, I posted March of Dimes widgets, I turned things purple, I twittered @realhughjackman. I did things. But I did not cry. Until last night.
Last night I sat down for the first time in a couple of days to read blogs and I found the recent posts, the taking home of the urn. And sitting in my living room I started crying big hot tears for that little girl and for the mother in that back seat and for the man who had to drive them home. For the strength it took those two people to do that. For a split second I did what all mother’s do.. try to imagine yourself doing it and instantly , instinctually, reject the thought. But still have a flash of what it must have taken, what it must have cost them. To read what the Fat. Hot. Tears. Cried for those sweet people.
My husband walked in and looked at me and shook his head.. the TV was on, he assumed a commercial had gotten me. I didn’t correct him. I couldn’t find the words to explain it without sounding silly. A lady in California, who I don’t really know, lost a child, I read her blog… it just doesn’t give that moment justice. I was afraid I couldn’t explain properly that these were real tears, not silly ones, shed for people I really felt a connection to.
All of that brings me around to what I’m really trying to get at which is this…
It’s made me realize just how real reading someone’s blog can make them feel when they do a good job. I’ve been struggling of late on what this blog is to me. What I want it to be. Of late it’s been trivial and of little substance. Just posts to keep the ad ladies off my back. I’ve struggled to find the way to put myself out there the way Heather did (does) because I don’t feel like a writer and because on many levels I fear getting too real. Being truly open is not something I do well. It makes me squirm.
But if the point of blogging is to connect with people – and for me I think it is. I’m not a brand, I am not selling things, I am not trying to make a living here. That BlogHer survey recently frustrated the hell out of me because I was all – where the damn option that just says I read blogs to hear a good story about someone’s life? The same reason I listen to Ira Glass, because I’m interested not because he’s selling something.
So I think that’s my answer. About this blog anyway. I’ve been bored with it because I’ve got to make the leap to really tell a story, to be real. To be more me. I’m sorry I took the long way around to that. It’s just been running around in my head and I got it out there. I’m not going to edit it. Sorry for the ramble but I hope that it’s first of many posts where I learn to really say what I’m thinking. Maybe I’ll get better at it.