it’s harder for me to believe that I don’t have much to say about it this year. Initially, I felt a type of
panic only a person who is holding onto a fraying string can feel. I felt so distanced from what had
happened that I wondered if my feet had ever touched the ground of that place at all. The idea that I
have become fully disconnected from the person I once feels like a type of voyeurism, and dropping
back in on those memories is like watching a stranger grapple with a harsh reality I sometimes can no
longer imagine. But the truth is, that person isn’t a stranger, and just because the moment is no longer
as fresh in my mind, it doesn’t mean it’s no less a part of the makeup of my person. Still, I have
wondered, how long until that string completely breaks?
I don’t think of what life was like B.S. (before suicide, before sobriety) often, anymore. There are many
reasons, why that might be, and it’s really not any one above the other. In many ways, I have moved on.
There is also some coping mechanism in not replaying the tape, the sick “morbid reflection” that comes
with regret and shame. Some of it is painful and some of it is self-preservation. In other ways, I’d prefer
not to get caught up in the “what was” when the “what is” is so much more powerful. But mainly,
where it once felt like there was so much to relive, now just feels like the same cycle on repeat. The
situations were different, the choices the same. The story has collapsed.
But no matter how far I get away from the past, it came to be for a reason. When I push myself to think
of those moments, I have come to a greater compassion for the stranger who once was me, and I know
she was doing her very best. I can’t blame myself for reacting in the only way I knew. I can’t blame
myself for not understanding why the mechanisms that got me through so much of my life were no
longer enough. I have gratitude that somewhere along the line, for whatever the reason, I was able to
wake up and make a different choice.
As Hayes and I walked up to a podium to deliver a cake to Jeff for his anniversary, I realized that no
matter the distance – one breath in which he woke up, 10 miles running away from my biggest fears,
three blinks of my eyes opening from surgery, 1 mile running towards my biggest regrets, 50 steps to the
stage to deliver that cake, the time between the first drink and the very last, the past is in every
movement I make. The pull will always be there, whether I feel it or not.