Well I underestimated just how difficult yesterday was going to be. As one does. I was tired from rewriting and the potatoes wouldn’t go crispy the way they always go crispy when I roast them.
My beloved friend Trix is very ill. Swollen and ravaged with steroids as the lupus continues unchecked. Lupus in the brain is a medical nightmare. She began weeping when she saw me and we hugged while I stood there reeling with shock and wanting to run away.
And her husband was drunk and deadening his pain, demanding the lion’s share of attention. At one point I went into the spare room and found myself tidying a bookshelf just because I couldn’t trust myself to be with the others and not say something unforgiveable to him. Or throw his car keys into a neighbouring garden so that he couldn’t drive the car into a pantechnicon with her sitting beside him. Or say something unforgiveable that might lead to him storming out and never speaking to me again. Because he will need my friendship after she is gone. (Which please God will be mercifully soon.) And it is not Anton’s fault that his presence reminds me of my own drunken absence to friends like Trix for so many years, that I don’t remember things that she did for me or what was going on in her life while she kept on loving me and putting up with the odd crumb of affection. That I may have run out of time to make the amends I so long to make.
In sobriety I have come to realise that almost nothing really is worth those ill-timed conflagatory fights. Those all-or-nothing shouting matches or cold accusatory stand-offs. Very few situations require ultimatums. When I was doing my Step 9 amends I realised how deeply and shockingly hurt friends had been by things I had said and how some things cannot ever be unsaid and may not really ever be forgotten, even if they are forgiven. And losing others impoverishes our lives more than anything else.
Even though staying present to ourselves and others hurts so much at times. A part of me is always going to wish I could run away or hide somewhere until the diffucult stuff is over. I am not very courageous around emotional distress and I will always want to lock myself up somewhere out of sight and put a pillow over my head or numb myself out with a strong glass of alcohol or a efficacious little pill. And that is no longer possible.
So it was a difficult day. But I kept my mouth shut and held onto the notion of sustained relationship and didn’t say or do anything I would later come to regret. Which makes it a good learning curve of a day but it didn’t and doesn’t feel that way. Grateful this morning that I have work to do and bookshelves to tidy.