It’s often the smallest things that stop you in your tracks. The things that you don’t even think about and then you see something or hear something and all of a sudden you’re overcome with a memory…a moment…a season of life…
Driving the kids to ACT prep and an ad comes on about Magic Springs, and you remember a month earlier when the girls asked if we could get season passes again.
All you could see in that moment was last spring. How often we all went as a family. How many memories were made. And then, before summer had even really started…we stopped going. Rides are Rob’s thing. He loves Magic Springs. Waiting in line for a ride with one or all of the girls. Deciding which rides HAD to be ridden before lunch, what order to do the rides in…He was at ease there. It was his happy place. We all loved going, but mostly we loved going with him. So when his relapse turned out to be more than a few bad days…when our life got turned upside down again…we just never went back.
And it’s that way with so many places…favorite restaurants where we used to have dinner after church on Sundays…Beebe flea market on Saturdays… our no kids allowed Saturday morning dates…stores that we only went to together…family gatherings…
There is a feeling you get when you pass one of those places or wonder what to do with a free Saturday or know there’s a family party coming up…
It’s a tangled up ball of so many feelings, all fighting to win. Dread. Fear. Sadness. Anxiety. Anger. Regret. Loneliness.
None of those words wholly encompass the feeling. But each word is a part of it.
Dread. Not wanting to be at that place or event because even if no one else knows what is different, you know. You know that you will walk by a ride that only he and the girls would ride and someone will say something and you’ll wonder if it can ever go back to how it was.
Fear. As hard as it is for you to be there, you’re so afraid of how it will make the girls feel. Will they say anything? Is it worse for them to be there and feel something or is this going to make things worse?
Sadness. Do you ever get to the point where you don’t wish you could have things back the way they were? Are you always going to associate this place with everything you lost?
Anxiety. Can you do this? Do you want to? Is there anywhere else you would rather be than here, with these people, in this place, where you think everyone is wondering where you fit in with them anymore?
Anger. Oh, anger. If your anger could make someone else break their addiction….If the anger you actually let show could set them free…If the anger you never let come to the surface could somehow fix your relationship. Well. There’s so much anger. Couldn’t it do something good? Couldn’t there be some good that comes from it?
Regret. What you would have done differently if only you had known. Why didn’t you see the signs? When did it really start again? You relive every moment and try to rewrite what you would say and do, praying that somehow you get a do over. Knowing you don’t.
Loneliness. Walking into that family gathering. Knowing everyone there knows more than you wanted them to. Sometimes he’s there and it’s awkward and no one says what they’re thinking. No one asks the questions. But more often you’re doing this one alone too. And you wonder how many more times you can walk into a room alone and feel like you will never belong again before you just stop showing up.
And then that’s what is happening. You stop going. You don’t show up. You cut places and events and people out. Not going is easier. And lonelier. And you regret not going. And you’re angry about how someone else’s decisions have taken away parts of your life that are so important to you. And your anxiety over what will be said about you not showing up is uncontrollable. So you stay away and you deal with your sadness alone, crying your silent tears into the same tear stained pillowcase. You fear that this is what the rest of your life will be now. And that fills you with so much dread because this isn’t how it’s supposed to be.
So the circle goes on…the broken circle that never seems to end…that won’t end. You sit in the circle. Which seems endless. But you stay there. In the circle. Waiting for your miracle. Knowing that if you leave the circle, you won’t be there when the miracle comes. And even after all this time, you still know it will. You know the miracle will come. You don’t know when or how or how broken you will be when it happens. But you can’t stay without believing it. And leaving isn’t an option.
So you sit in your broken circle and wait for your miracle.