Sunday, June 19, 2011

Stronger Now

This is the first time I've looked at my blog since May 5, the day my father died, and it's a little surreal. The last seven weeks of my life have in many ways have been the hardest -- and this is coming from someone disabled from Lyme Disease, who at her worst was unable to wash her own hair or write more than scrawling her name. In the last few weeks, I have been tested and pushed in all capacities, most of which I'm unwilling to write about at this point. It is fair to say that my problems started just as my father died, and got worse from there. My therapist, in a moment of candor, said, "The book of Job comes to mind," after I summarized the startling difficulties of the past few weeks.

That said, I'm actually doing ok, much to my surprise. I have my ups and downs. A week ago I thought I was in a deep depression, but it was just a couple of crummy days, and they passed. Many people have reassured me that after the hell I've been through, some dark days are justified. Today is Father's Day; I thought I'd be a basket case, and I'm sad, but not a basket case. Losing my father has sucked, and it felt worse than I thought it would. For the first few days after he died, I felt like I had been turned inside out. The worst part was waking up, in a good mood, thinking, "That must have just been a terrible dream," and then remembering that, no, my dad was dead. For a few days, I woke up to this startling realization each day and promptly burst into tears. Now the grief comes in waves, like when I think, "Oh, I haven't talked to Dad in a long time," and then remember, "And you never will." Over the past few weeks, I've wanted to share with my dad the trials David and I have endured, desperate for his assurance that everything would be ok. I always felt like he had my back. It's cold comfort that I could imagine exactly what he would have said if I was able to converse with him about what is going on.

I don't mean to sound all grim. First of all, I am extremely grateful for the blessings in my life which I celebrate daily -- the first of which is always David, followed closely by abstinence (sobriety) from compulsive overeating. Secondly, I am finding out I have vast reserves of strength that I didn't know I had. It's actually kind of astounding. I don't mean this to sound arrogant; on the contrary, until recently, I think I (wrongly) viewed myself as fragile. But nothing in my demeanor the last seven weeks even hints at fragility.

Strangely, I want to end this post with a homage to Jani Lane, the singer/songwriter of '80s hair metal band, Warrant. I saw a TV clip of Lane where he said he literally would have blown his "[f-ing] brains out" if he had known how writing "Cherry Pie" would've ruined his credibility in the music business. I think of that sad TV clip when I hear Warrant's ballad "Stronger Now," which I find myself humming often nowadays:

"I held you for a moment in my hands
The moment with you slipped away like sand
Through my fingers now
In front of me a choice I have to make
To carry on or simply fade away
I lose you either way
I'd like to say that it was easy, it was hard
To say goodbye, I thought that I would die

Letting go of you, was so hard to do
And I thought that it would kill me but I made
It through somehow, and I'm so much stronger now..."

So, Jani, if you're reading this, I think you are a good singer/songwriter, which is why I identify with your music and lyrics a decade after you wrote them. And I still think you kick ass, which is why I can't bring myself to throw away the framed, autographed napkin you signed for me.


Stef said...

Your strength, resilience, and courage are all amazing. I didn't note a hint of arrogance in your blog - only candor and truth.

Sarah said...

Thank you, Stef. I appreciate your constant support through this whole process (heck, really since 2007 or 2008 when I started talking with you!)

Steven said...

Nice post, Sarah. And I second Stef's comments about your strength, resilience, and courage. Perhaps your father's passing will be a catalyst that helps you recognize more fully what you are capable of.

Stef said...

Sarah, it's kind of crazy that it's been that long! But it truly has been mutual; and I'm very grateful for your friendship.

Anonymous said...

I am happy to hear that are finding your inner strength. I hope that this strength helps carry you through whatever might come your way (though I hope it is more joy than sadness). Know that on those days where your strength is not enough, you can always call on us, your friends, to help hold you up.

Sarah said...

Thank you Steve & Shoshana. I am definitely relying on friends for support. I also appreciate the power of distraction: last night I watched "Coming to America," which is still as funny as it was when it was released in 1986. The laughter truly was therapeutic.