This has not been the best week for my family and me. It was, actually, the sort of week that not so long ago would have convinced me to take a break from blogging at all, to say “I need some down time” and withdraw from the social media world.
I’m not going to do that. After the last time, I pledged to all of you — and to myself — that I wouldn’t do it again, and I intend to live by that pledge. The fact is, as a self-employed writer, I have the luxury of being able to slip away when I want to, to take as many mental health days or personal days or vacation days as I please. Put another way, I am spoiled rotten.
I look at Nancy, who is dealing with the same things I am, and who goes to work every day to complete projects and interact with people, and I marvel at her strength. I look at my younger daughter, who also faces the fear and grief as well as issues of her own, and who also goes to work each day, in the health care industry no less, being reminded constantly of our own family struggles, and I am amazed by her resilience and self-composure. I look at my older daughter, who lives in the center of the storm, coping with this cruel, relentless illness, and who still manages to live her best life, and I am humbled by her courage, her resolve, her spirit.
And I think of the rest of you, who face challenges of your own — emotional, physical, familial, socio-economic, cultural, and more. Obstacles are thrown in our paths every day. All of us face them. Few are as privileged as I am in terms of the freedom I have to grapple with them on my own terms. The fortitude I see around me on a daily basis blows my mind and inspires me to do better.
Yes, my family and I are working through a lot right now, and it’s not going the way we would like. But we have the resources we need to face our problems, and too many others in this country, in this world, don’t. We have friendships old and new that sustain us when things get rough, and too many others have to meet their challenges alone. We have one another to offer love and support, to share laughter and tears, and we are so fortunate in this respect, as well.
This is an odd post, I know. My apologies for that. In the past, this would have been a post in which I tried to explain, in vague terms, why I was stepping back from my blog and my various accounts. And since I DON’T intend to step back this time, I thought maybe it would make sense to explain how I came to that choice. And the short answer is, it’s because of the amazing people around me — family, friends, colleagues, fans, acquaintances. You all have given me a standard of strength and bravery to which to aspire.
So, I will continue to write and edit. I will continue to blog and comment. I will go about my regular routine as best I can given the circumstances. I am getting help. I am taking care of myself. I am taking steps to maintain and improve my emotional health. I am enjoying time with my newly-liberated-from-an-overwhelming-administrative-position spouse. I am chatting regularly with my beloved daughters. I am reaching out to friends and extended family. And we have some fun stuff planned for later in the summer, which will help in all sorts of ways.
If you are struggling right now, facing obstacles of your own that seem insurmountable, I wish you peace and strength, comfort and compassion. Life throws all manner of stuff our way and none of us is immune to its vagaries and difficulties. One of the hardest things for me is something I listed in the preceding paragraph — reaching out to people, to my support network. None of us likes to be that person, the one who always seems to call with terrible problems. And so we pull back, waiting until we feel better, believing on some level that we ought to be able to get through this stuff on our own. Asking for help takes courage, and too often I shy from it.
But the thing is, speaking now as a friend, a brother, a father, spouse, I NEVER mind when the people I love seek my help. I am always eager to lend love and support. And I know the people I rely on feel exactly the same way. In the end, I think it’s about pride, which is silly. I know this, and still I struggle. I’ll work on that, too.
Anyway, thanks for reading this. As I say, a strange post, but one I felt I needed to write.
Wishing you a wonderful week.