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Behind The Mask

July 18, 2019

I made it through the anniversary.

In fact, I was pretty much OK with it. When I lit Will’s candle and said a prayer over him, I didn’t even cry—all I felt was peace. I looked over at the chair he used to occupy and remembered what he looked like relaxing in it, watching TV and cuddling with a puppy or two. Not those final hours of agony in the same chair. I thought about it, of course, but my grief has mellowed to the point that I think far more often of the good times we had, and I was able to put that awful night into perspective.

To be fair, I have to admit that there were some distractions from the solemnity of the day, one of which has shaken me to the core and has no easy answers. Someone I love dearly is in deep trouble and there is absolutely NOTHING I can do about it. I have felt this helpless on only two other occasions in my life: the death of my second child, and of course the night of Will’s supreme suffering. I can’t go into details because of the highly sensitive nature of this crisis, but while I’m smiling and optimistic on the outside for my loved one’s sake, I’m really hiding behind a mask and silently battling with anxiety. I can’t help it. It’s a situation that has the capacity to change absolutely everything (and none of it is good), and it scares the living daylights out of me.

Sometimes I amaze myself with the ability I have to pretend everything is normal. No one here knows that I’m on the verge of losing my mind. I’m doing the best I can to be cheerful, but I’ve seen things like this go sideways in a hurry and again, there is nothing I can do to fix it. That’s the worst part of it. I can’t turn the clock back, I can’t contribute money to the cause, and I can’t go to the powers that be and convince them my loved one isn’t responsible for what happened. I have to put my trust in God and whoever is working for Him that everything will work out. But that’s easier said than done.

This is not my bipolar brain talking. It’s gone to wherever it goes when I’m not actively ill, and other than the anxiety and weird sleep patterns, it may as well not exist. No, this is fear—not only for my loved one, but for myself as well. It feels like my place in the world is being threatened, and I don’t know what’s going to happen to me if worse comes to worst. I know that sounds selfish, but my options are VERY limited and I need to be prepared for anything.

But out of all this, the one I feel the sorriest for is, naturally, my loved one. They are living behind a mask too, and it must be hard to remain upbeat and positive when they’re also quietly terrified of what may await them. I can’t imagine what they must be going through and wouldn’t wish it on anyone. We don’t talk about the future if the matter doesn’t go our way; in the meantime they’re moving on, starting a new job and doing their best to take care of the family. In the meantime, I’ll just keep my angst to myself, pray, and pop the occasional Klonopin. And maybe, just maybe, everything will be all right.

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