I’ve had too many idle hours tonight to do not much else but think. I don’t generally like to necessarily dwell on past things, but there are certain times when things come up and I’m pretty comfortable with allowing the thought process to take it’s path these days, reflect on it (whatever it maybe be), give it the attention it wants and then it goes on it’s way again. Things don’t sting even half as much as they used to. Memories and scenarios replay in my mind now as if I am watching through someones eyes other than my own. It’s very much a case of being on the outside looking in.
You’re probably wondering where I’m going with this, and the truth is that I’m not certain where this ends. But only that it will end; for now, at least. I just had an out of the ordinary thing happen yesterday that I wanted to share.
My mother and I went out for breakfast yesterday morning at McDonald’s. It’s something we do sometimes, and a few months back it had been a weekly thing, but we hadn’t done it for quite some time again until yesterday. It’s always at roughly the same time, though, when we do go, and on the same day of the week, and often there are faces there that become familiar because they are doing the same thing.
A woman came in with her daughter and sat near us. We’d seen her a handful of times before. We always say hello to each other, exchange a little bit of small talk and then get back to our own conversation between ourselves. She is about the same age as my mother, this woman, maybe a little younger, and her daughter is grown, but she doesn’t or can’t talk. She needs assistance to walk in the right direction, to sit down, even to eat. But the woman seems happy enough to chatter away to her anyway, while she’s having mouthfuls of her own breakfast in between feeding her daughter. And for whatever reason, she comes to sit at our end of the table and starts to talk, a lot. She isn’t upset, or angry, or even stressed. She just talks. And my mother and I listen for a long time.
We walked out of that fast food restaurant, looked at each other and I cried. I felt so humbled.
“I reached a point where I had actually made plans to put her in my car, and I was going to drive us both off a cliff. I was just tired of being tired, and having to fight so hard to just get through each day.”
To be fair, out of context and without retelling the entire story, that woman’s words seem more than a little bleak, and maybe even odd, because after all, how often does a stranger tell you such things? But for a period of time, at that table, none of us were strangers, and she told a story that I needed to hear. The straight forward honesty of that unusual and unexpected exchange was exactly the perspective I didn’t know that I even needed.
I’ve been fighting now for over two decades. Fighting to just live. To be here for more than just existence for existence sake. And I’m still fighting for it. It’s not as much of an uphill struggle as it once was, admittedly, but it is by no means an easy road, still; not even close. I could think back even further than adolescence but going back that far is really not terribly productive as a lot of things that happened back then were out of my control. I was a child. But, I left home at aged 15, and from then on I was forced to “grow up” fairly quickly out of necessity. I was forced to make a lot of life choices, and some of them monumentally important ones; that I can’t change, often. Still, they were my choices, and for better or worse they have shaped who I am now. I can’t regret them entirely, because I had no guidance and was only doing what I thought was best at the time. Even then, with hindsight, I was still a child making grown up decisions, because I had to.
From time to time I sought out friendships and hands to hold along the way, but all proved not only unworthy of my efforts, but incredibly destructive and damaging, mentally and physically. I have to remind myself at times that I am literally lucky to even still be alive in some cases. I’m not sure that I believe in God, but something or somebody must have been looking out for me in the greater Cosmos, because I’m still here, and others who have faced less are not.
I have to be grateful for that, even when I don’t want to be. I have to.