Comfortably Numb

Yesterday I was walking with my friend after work. We decided to get in a little workout with our chit-chat about my weekend in NYC. I told her all about the fun times and the drama that occurred. I even told her about the incredibly “WHAT WERE YOU THINKING” moment. I still replay that moment in my head and I am so incredibly disappointed in myself. NO, I will not mention what happened that night in this blog so stop trying to read ahead if I mention it, I’m not. All I will say, is that is it so out of character of me to even do something like that. What I will say is the massive amount of alcohol that was ingested with the yearning to have some affection played a huge part.

This combination is a HUGE “no-no”. It can only get you in trouble, hurt other people, or just leave you feeling like a regretful slut with no self respect. If not, well that is on you. This is how I felt. After all, this blog post is about me and the crap I am trying to work out but just writing it. You know, self therapy.

I realized since my grandmother died, that I have never really been happy. I was just basically living. Going to work. Paying Bills. Sleeping. Eating. No real drive in my life but to just go through the motions of just existing.  I looked at her life and realized how much life she lived in 94 years. She has seen so much. Advancement in technology, medicine, civil rights, birth of her children, her grandchildren, her great grandchildren. She traveled. Traveled in the sense of just taking car rides with the family to anywhere and everywhere. When she was diagnosed last October, she called up and talked to my dad and was like “I’m not going to seek treatment. I lived 93 years and seen, experienced a lot in my life. I’m going out on my terms”. She was a strong woman. She was a traditional woman that stood by her man and family regardless. When my grandfather got his 2nd stroke she took care of him when all of his friends left him. She was there. Like a wife should be.

Let me give you a little story about how awesome my grandparents were. How great of human beings they were. My grandparents lived just outside of Pittsburgh in a small steel town called Kittanning. My grandpop worked in steel, pretty much everyone did there. He lost his leg when he got caught between two trains. But he was a strong man, survived and had a wooden leg that I remember I used to knock knock on it. Anyway, I digress a bit. My grandparents lived in a 1 bedroom house and had 4 children. The kids slept in the attic. They were considered middle class, I suppose. They were comfortable. They were the first to have a TV on the block. All the kids would come over to watch. They were willing to help out any friend in need. If they needed money, they’d give it to them with no expectation of being paid back. If you paid them back fine, if you didn’t they didn’t think any less of you. During the summers, homeless people with horses would make their travels through the area and would offer up pictures with the children for money or food. My grandparents would happily oblige. This picture is of my Daddy on the horse. My grandparents helped anyone, anytime. They were good, honest, stern, loving people and I wish more people were like them today.

We thought that they had kept the same company. We figured the people they helped, the friends they helped would be more than willing to help them when they needed it. However, that was not the case.  My grandfather had a stroke. He lost some mobility but was actually OK. However, on his 2nd stroke he was rendered immobile and unable to talk.  My grandpop was a broad man. A steel worker. My grandmom was a tiny woman. 5’1 maybe 100lbs.  Well after he got his 2nd stroke, all the people they help with money, food, whatever…ran. They left my grandmom alone to take care of this man. They were heartbroken. The family was shocked. In a time of crisis you really do know who your true friends are by those that stand by you know matter what. Apparently, they didn’t have any real friends. My grandmom’s words, “To hell with them“. She stayed by her husband in this time. Never wavered. Took care of him, bathed him, fed him, cleaned him. He suffered quite a few more strokes until he was in the hospital.  He refused to eat and accepted his fate. Strong til the end. The only thing he wanted was to die with family near him. He didn’t get that. My grandmom left to go home and get something, and in that time he passed. She regretted that. She never got over that fact. So when she accepted her fate, all she wanted was us to be there.

On Jan 27th, 2012, my dad called her to wish her an early happy birthday. They would normally talk for hours on the phone but 20 minutes into the call she felt tired. Said her goodbye. That was the last time she was able to speak. We found out the next day something happened and her health deteriorated so fast. My aunt told us we needed to be there. We didn’t have the money to really drive down to South Carolina, but me being me, I got it. We left Thursday, Feb 2, 2012 at about 11pm. I drove first. I drove for about 5 hours until I passed Alexandria, Va. During that time we just reminisced about her, not really talking about the inevitable death that we would probably witness. We got to Rock Hill, SC  at about 9am. Walked in saw my other brother and his family, my Aunt Susan with tired eyes filled with tears. I felt an uneasiness already. My brother hasn’t seen my grandmother in years because he was unable to travel for so long because of his kidney disease. My Dad walked into the room first. I stood about 10 feet from the door looking in, and seeing this sight broke my heart. I saw this weak, gaunt, inept woman in front of me. Not the former strong willed lady I once knew. She was unable to speak. You weren’t sure if she was in pain or just trying to talk. My dad walked out of the room. My brother walked in. 10 seconds later he ran out. I have NEVER seen my brother cry. That scared me. I walked in. Looked at her. Held as much tears of I could in. I knelt beside her hospital bed. Held her frail, cold hand. Brushed her white hair back with my hand and whispered that we came to her. We were there. We were not leaving. We loved her. I heard some gurgling. I told her I loved her again. My brother Tim came in and we just talked. Me and Tim are alike when it comes to situations like that. We are stoic. We try our best to be strong for others and not let our emotions get in the way. We knew she wasn’t going to last very long. Throughout the day we kept checking in on her. My dad and I even had a conversation about giving her the rest of the morphine so she can pass without pain. We never said it to anyone else, but I even offered to do it myself. I was willing to help end the pain and not let my dad have that on his conscious. We obviously didn’t do it. We all slept there that night. My grandma was still with us. We had a Jehovah witness Elder come to discuss the arrangements for my grandmom. At about 9am, Feb 4th, 2012, my cousin ran out of the room crying. At that moment I knew she passed. Instead of running into the room, I ran out of the apartment and down the street. I called my mom. Letting her know that she passed. That was the only time that I released every emotion. But it was just on the phone. Not in front of my Dad or other family members. I still remember my dad, at a weak point, standing next to my grandmom’s lifeless body sobbing and leaning over to me saying “I can really use a shoulder.” Sure I had tears, but I did not cry. Strength. Needed to be Strong. After that, I went numb. We waited for the coroner to come and make it official. And as the funeral home came to take the body, they said for us to turn away if we wanted. I didn’t. I stayed still. Looking at her now in the black plastic body bag. being wheeled out. No life. Nothing. I felt, nothing at that moment. Just respect and kept my head high for her. Later that night, we went over to my Aunt’s house and just talked about everything. The past. The present. What’s to come. After we left we went back to my grandmom’s apartment to sleep a bit. And at that point I realized I needed to change my life. I wanted to be like my grandmom. At that point my Dad, brother Tim, and myself all agreed a move for me down south would benefit me. So I am doing it. I am moving to make my life. I want to live my life the way she did, with just full of life and no regret.

Well, that was some sort of insight to my grandparents and what they meant to me. So you can understand that even though I haven’t dealt with her death, my already un-diagnosed depression got worse. I started drinking a lot more. I started being more irritable. Crying more. Taking things out of context. Throwing up more. The straw that broke the camels back was pretty much me crying uncontrollably at work. I was hysterical. I couldn’t stop. I didn’t know why I was crying. I just was. I called my doctor and he told me I was. I sat in his office as he talked to me about it and how it was common. It made me feel better. It made me feel normal. It made me realize I can help myself get back to normal emotional field. However, only medication can go so far. Yes I was talking to friends about it. Trying to let them know about my past issues. But in terms, I still shut them out. Afraid for some reason.

The tipping point was NYC. I drank so much. Did some regretful things. One thing I will talk about is I actually laid a hand on a friend. I slapped someone I cared about because I took something that was said out of context. I thought I playfully slapped that person but apparently everyone else said I did a full on slap. I hate violence. I do not like it at all. I saw how things were when I was younger with my parents when my mom drank and I never wanted to be like that. And in my moment of clarity after NYC, I realized I was that person. I was my mom when she used to drink. I remember how scared I was. I remember stuff that happened. And when I looked back I became that person that was violent. Other things occurred that weekend. Yes it was fun, but I know I could have fun without alcohol. I’m a crazy person in general anyway. But when you add strong liquor to the equation it heavily impairs my ability to judge situations. I will get myself in trouble. I will have regretful nights. I will have blackouts that is dangerous to myself.

So because of this, I’m done drinking. I don’t need alcohol to numb my feelings. I don’t need to forget my problems. I need to deal with them with a clear mind. A sober mind. Only then will I be able to make myself a stronger person. A person I know that will deserve all the good that has to come to her.  I know there will be hard moments, but I can’t mask, run, or hide the problems. I certainly shouldn’t drink them away.