Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Dying Alone...In Style.

There's a lot of people of note in the Pulmonary Hypertension world who will tell you the truth about having a terminal illness is that really you start scaring the mortally-minded off. 

Not in all cases, but in many. 

Dealing with death means you, while still walking around in the world of the living, are holding death's hand. And, despite the fact that everyone will face that, having one foot in each world freaks people right out to the point where they don't know what to say or even how to be there. 

I could give you this speech about how much that sucks, but people know it sucks and they do it anyway. Human nature, or something. 

The real questions I get are usually dealing with the fact that since I have no contact with my abusive family of origin, do I feel alone? Is it harder?

The answer is no. It's not harder than being abused to not have family around. Even when you're sick. 

And you can daydream about what life is like when that's not the truth you were given, but it doesn't do anything or change anyone disordered enough to hurt you. Nothing will. The good news is, it doesn't come up in your mind often. Mostly, after escaping, you are just overwhelmed with how peaceful it is. Nobody carving out their pound of flesh, nobody manipulating, no physical abuse. It's not possible to miss any of that. So, when it's gone, most of your time is spent being thankful. (The other part is spent wondering why you waited so long to leave, so if you yourself are facing this, run). 

I'm especially thankful that I do have my own little family, so truly I'm not alone. Though, I do wish I had more support for them. I'm thinking that we need to join a church locally or some kind of group to really give them a set of people they can trust and hold onto (though I know it's a crapshoot, we do have one local place here that has been there for us consistently enough that I trust them). The main thing is that when you don't have the people you need to lean on, you have to do the legwork to seek out a soft spot to land (even if you have to wear an oxygen mask while doing it). 

All that said with the understanding that nobody is a capable island, there is some dignity in being able to face the unknown, the scary, in small numbers. 

It's a kind of bravery that thankfully few people will earn, though it's more common than we suspect I think. It also becomes part of the legacy we have to pass down. 

When I'm really having trouble processing it, I write. You may have noticed not many of my characters have super-happy-fun-time childhoods and that's not an accident. Many of them will need that resilience they learned to have any hope of survival. Little Ghost, for example, the female lead in my next CDW book, was nearly sacrificed as an infant. Only the darkness, that shadowed guardian that nobody understands, was there to save her. Rain, the main character, could have had a wonderful family but his mother died to save everyone she loved and the circumstances of his birth did not permit his father to contact him often. Writing about individuals like that gives you something to look up to when you are feeling down or alone. And, hopefully, it helps other people going through the same thing when they read it. 

Other than that, you just learn to be brave. It's one day, one treatment, one procedure, one milestone at a time. 

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