By: Revanche

Count your blessings

November 17, 2009

I’ve been waking up to this for the past few mornings.

My trip thus far has been an exercise in patience, worry, and discovery.  As I mentioned on Twitter, my travel companions were unusually irate with each other just about the entire trip over, so I was stuck in the middle awkwardly trying to make myself as small as possible, or mediating a little bit.  Much of the grumpitude was powered by physical discomfort from various ailments of the internal growths sort + temper on one side, and oscillating glucose levels + temper on the other.  I love them both, so I did my best, but phew, I was looking forward to the arrival of another couple to defuse the tension.

Unfortunately, things were to get much worse before they got better on that front. Things did finally get better today, but more importantly, the circumstances allowed me to become very intimately acquainted with the new couple’s lives. It’s utterly heartbreaking.

A few years ago, she lost her mother and aunt, horrifically, due to a possible psychotic break of one sibling. Two years later, she lost her father to depression and a series of massive strokes, and to all appearances, has lost another brother to the collective horror of the past few years.  They moved from their home with two high-paying jobs to an extremely high cost of living area and both accepted 40% pay cuts to take care of her remaining family. She’s heroically fighting to keep the family intact but, at this rate, it feels like there soon won’t be anyone left functioning.

She tells me that my family story, told in part before she shared hers, made her feel less alone.  Now I know that my life doesn’t even begin to compare to the series of ongoing tragedies that compose her reality, but it freed her to share with me some of her many trials in the life of becoming an untimely mother substitute for a younger sibling who can no longer cope with the world he’s living in.

All I can say is, I have to be more grateful.

Not for the fact that her story isn’t my story, because in a surprising number of ways, it is.  We share much the same concerns, fears, and trials.  But I remember what it was like to sit alone in the mental dark, wishing there was someone I could talk to, wondering if I had the strength to make the right call in the next situation.  So I should be grateful that in experiencing the things that I have, in a small way I can help her with her narrative.  Having fought through debt, bankruptcies, and plain old messed up deteriorating family relationships, I can share what decisions I made and why. I can teach her what I know about finances, I can just be there to help her through some tough chores that need doing.

These are no more than scraps in the grand scheme of things, but thusly do I find some comfort in paradise today.

2 Responses to “Count your blessings”

  1. Aw, I’m so glad you decided to go! Hopefully the rest of the trip was/is relaxing!

  2. Revanche says:

    paranoidasteroid: I’m glad I did too, the week did get better as we got over the hump.

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