Breaking Open

Since Lucy died, several people have told me that this experience will “break me open”. I hope that’s true. I am not very good at letting people in. I build up walls and believe I have to put up a strong front.

So many people, including some I consider to be dear friends, have repeatedly told me they are here for me anytime. For a cup of coffee, to talk, anything. And I believe they really mean it. I would absolutely love to take all of them up on it. But I wonder if I will.

I am an introvert. I only became more so in college. I had some very dear friends in grad school. But then, they all moved away for one reason or another and I was left behind. I had a nervous breakdown before the second year of my Masters program. I recovered, but the experience and the meds I needed to dig myself out of it, left me rudderless. Ambitionless. All I wanted to do was rest. I let everything and everyone drift away. I was angry at the world and I sometimes didn’t even care enough to feel that emotion. I felt like I had probably ruined those friendships.

Then, I moved to Austin. I made more friends. Then, I got my heart broken and went into another depression. And pushed away/neglected those friends, too.

Now I have my mama friends. And some of those wonderful friends from my past have come back to me thanks to Facebook. In the past week, I have felt so much love. I want so badly to return it. I promised my daughter I would live more fully in her memory. But I am afraid I will fall into old, bad habits once we settle into a new normal. I want so much to let people in. Some days, I just plain don’t think about contacting anyone. I think that’s fairly normal for a mother of young children, but I have years of being a loner behind me to make it even more of an entrenched habit.

Please know I love you all. I promised my daughter I would be the person I am meant to be. I will do my damnedest to reach out. And, please, even if it seems like I am too busy or uninterested, please keep reaching out to me. I often assume people have enough friends or that I’m just not that remarkable. I’ve been reminded this week that others want friends and they really do love me for me. And others probably feel the same. We all seem so confident to each other. And we all need each other so desperately.

I am not going to retreat into myself this time. Thank goodness, I have Chris and Max and my cats right here in this house. But, please, all of you dear, lovely people, who love me and my family more than I realized or hoped – please keep reaching. I promise to reach back. I think you are remarkable. I am proud you are my friends. And I am always happy to have more.

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4 Comments

  1. christinerose said,

    May 16, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    Anytime. Seriously. I’m here.
    But most importantly, go where you feel safe. Be how you feel safe. This was a hugely traumatic experience, and it will take you time to recover.

    I know we never got to know each other very well, but just from the little you said here, I’m guessing you’re suffering from complex PTSD, and if you weren’t before your little lucy passed, you are now. I’ve written a lot about it on O. M. Grey’s blog since I was raped last year. I’ve learned a lot about PTSD and how I’ve been misdiagnosed with various things throughout my life…but it’s always been this.

    Regardless, even if you don’t take up every single offer for coffee right now, your real friends will be there when you need them to listen to as much or as little as you want to tell them.

    In the mean time, don’t feel bad for keeping people at a distance if that’s what you need. You take care of you and your family through this grief. You don’t have to listen to platitudes. You don’t have to heal on anyone’s schedule but your own.

    In Austin, there is an amazing woman who specializes in PTSD recovery. Her name is Karen Hutchins of the Cicada Recovery Services on S. First. She has a sliding scale.

    If you reach out to no one outside your family during this time, please reach out to her.

    I’m right here.
    Love to you and your family.

    • kittymomma said,

      May 24, 2013 at 11:43 pm

      Wow, Christine. I am so sorry. I had no idea of what you had been going through.
      Thank you for sharing your thoughts and the recommendation. I’ll keep it in mind.

  2. Amanda Himes said,

    May 16, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    Awww, Sara, I still remember walking across the campus of A&M to the bookstore after we got back from the summer break (2002, was it?) and you told me you’d had a really hard time, anxious about the well-being of your beloved nieces, and had started medication. I didn’t realize then how tough it all was on you. I mostly have looked back at all the fun times we had watching Kevin Sullivan productions or CSI (you really indulged Jon and me in our CSI addiction!!) on Friday nights at your place with Cephas and treats from HEB.

    I’ve got a confession to make: after having Logan and experiencing post-partum depression, I went into a hole of my own. And I’m an extrovert. Who suddenly took 2-3 weeks to call friends back on the phone, if at all. When we found out he had autism, Logan was not quite 2 years old, and Audrey was 6 months old. Our struggle to learn about his condition, to get testing and referrals (from 3 centers in 2 states), and finally work up a treatment plan, turned me into an introvert. Some nights I barely even spoke to Jonathan, just retreating into books like, yes, I’ll admit it, the Twilight series, then the Vampire Academy Series, featuring worlds as different from my own as possible. But things have gradually gotten better, and I want to reach out too. My sister has a close friend whose husband went to prison, and after she found out, my sis told her she would never let their friendship lag again, that she wanted to be there for her no matter what.

    And that’s what I want to say to you, Sara. I am thankful for facebook for bridging the miles and letting us know about the minor details of each other’s lives in ways we couldn’t otherwise. And I am so very thankful for the afternoon my mom, sister, and I got to spend with you, Chris, and Lucy in the hospital back in Feb. Your sweet girl will always have a place in my heart. And I am so proud of you for becoming the awesome mother you had the potential for being, even back in the old single-, grad school days. God bless you and your family, now and always. And seriously, let’s coordinate our next trip to PEI. Maybe we can plant a tree there in Lucy’s memory.

  3. kittymomma said,

    May 24, 2013 at 11:46 pm

    I remember those times fondly, too. And I think I even remember that conversation. I’m so glad we have reconnected, too. Seeing you and your mom and Jerusha that afternoon was wonderful for my spirits. I love the idea of planting a tree on PEI for Lucy. Just visiting together would be a dream come true. I am so sorry you went through so much and I didn’t know. I never want to let things lag for us so much again, either. šŸ™‚


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