We at Band Back Together are so saddened by the devastation in Oklahoma.
We are thinking of those experiencing such hurt, such pain, and so much loss.
It's unfathomable to us that Mother Nature could do something so horrible, despite having experienced it time and time again. We shake our heads, stare blankly at our television sets, and hold our breath each time the numbers are reported.
Loss. Pain. Devastation.
Loved ones missing. So many tears shed.
The children. So many children.
Our hearts hurt as we try to process what has happened. We cannot understand. We are sure we never will.
As in any disastrous situation, we understand what you're experiencing. We, the Band, feel it, too.
And we remind you and encourage you to take care of yourselves during this time. It's okay to feel sad. We all do. It's okay to cry. Sometimes crying is the best "medicine," regardless of what *they* say about laughter.
But we remind you to remember that you don't have to find yourself immersed in the news, the reports and the details. You can grieve for those who have lost without losing yourself in the process.
It's okay to walk away from the coverage, avoid social media for a bit, don't click into that video of areas hit by this. You know what's happened. You - yourself - don't need to feel pummeled by the reports of it all.
Find a way to channel your emotions and anxiety. Write. (We'd love to hear from you.) Sing. Run. Eat. It's okay, many of us are looking for a way to process this painful experience.
And it's also okay to feel it and be impacted even if you aren't in the area. Even if you don't actually find yourself knowing anyone who is. You're human. Your emotions are your own. You are allowed to feel.
We send our love and strength to those impacted by these tragic events, and hope that they know that they have the army that is The Band beside them.
If you find yourself looking for answers or resources, please consider reviewing some of these Band Back Together resource pages.
And if you need to, reach out.
Natural Disaster Resources
Emotional Shock Resources
Child Loss Resources
Depression can be worse at certain times of the year, especially around anniversaries and milestones.
This is is how it affects one person.
But March isn't really far behind, in my book.
Both months have been difficult for me for the past nine years. They're the anniversaries of my last nervous breakdown, which for the most part I have put behind me, except when the anniversary comes about.
Nine years ago, my life unraveled.
I was in New York, alone, dealing with a dubious relationship. My dad was dying, I'd just lost my job, mom was refusing to let me come down to Florida, I'd lost my disability and my apartment was a disaster. On April 23, 2004 I wound up going into the hospital, on the fifth floor locked ward (the irony of that being that there was a movie of the same name made in the '70s).
Amazingly, I can laugh about that now.
On April 27th, 2004, my dad passed. I wasn't allowed out of the hospital for the funeral. Nine years later, around this time every year, the guilt comes back full force. Even though I know he understood. Even though I went to his memorial service a few months later, when we buried his ashes.
I never really got to say goodbye, and I needed to. I suppose I'll always feel badly about that until I get to see him again and apologize in person. If I'll even get that chance, which is doubtful with the type of faith crisis I'm having now.
I've been told God doesn't give up on anyone. More credit to Him then. I feel like I'm a lost cause and I'm just waiting for Him to realize the same thing.
Bottom line, living with major depression is a bitch. I hate talking about it, I hate feeling like this, I hate everything about my life right now. The only thing that's changed in the past nine years is that I may just have better tools to deal with it. I use my sarcasm to make fun of myself. I don't lash out and alienate people as much as used to. I basically retreat from everyone, rather than cling on to people as much as I used to (for the most part anyway).
I channel the bulk of my crap feelings into writing, or going for a walk, or singing at the top of my lungs, managing to distract myself from the garbage for a while. I remind myself that I have the most awesome social media (and real) friends ever, most of whom I don't deserve, and two that I will never understand why they stick around, but they do.
And all this is good, I understand that. But the thing is, that I'm alone most of the time. I've been trying to remedy that for the past six months, and everything I've tried has fallen through. For the next six weeks, I don't know if I have the energy to try to do anything at all.
The other thing is that my year is rapidly developing into a series of doctor and dentist appointments, trying to get my sugar stabilized, trying to get my teeth fixed, trying to get my eczema under control. Most of the time I want to stay in bed. I'm longing for warmer weather, because then I'll be out more, walking, and feeling better. I know once my teeth are fixed, and I get on the right dosage of diabetes medication, and everything else, I'll continue to feel better.
But there are times, especially during these next six weeks when I just want to find someone - anyone - lay my head their shoulder, and cry until I can't anymore while they hug me as tightly as they can. I know this will pass.
It's the waiting that kills me.
Thanks for listening.
We all have letters we'd like to send, but know that we can't. A letter to someone we no longer have a relationship with, a letter to a family member or friend who has died, a letter to reclaim our power or our voice from an abuser.
Letters where actual contact is just not possible.
Do you have a letter you can't send?
Why not send it to The Band?
I hope it's okay to call you that even though I never met you. I wanted to meet you. I was terrified to meet you. I wanted you to like me. I wanted you to see how much Adam means to me.
I know I'm not good on paper. I've been married before and I cheated on him. I have two kids and they live with their father because he is the better parent.
But if you watch your son do dishes because he knows I hate to do them or cut the meat off a rib because bones make me gag, if you could watch me gather up his laundry because he will procrastinate for weeks until he has nothing remotely clean to wear or french braid his long curly hair (I think he got those genes from you) because he likes to be touched, you would see how much love there is between us.
If you could see him comforting me when I feel like a wreck, crawling into the empty bathtub with me where I'm hiding to talk to me and let me know that he wants to hear me; if you could see me staying up guarding him all night the day you were murdered or just existing near him when the grief is too much to keep inside. If you could see these things, I know that that you would be glad that he has someone to share his life with.
I don't know what to think of all thing things I've heard about you since they pop holes in the beautiful vision I have of us getting along and being friends (oddly enough, I was never friends with my ex-mother-in-law until after Thomas and I split), so I will focus on the knowledge that you raised a son who came through the difficulties of youth to be a wonderful man.
Your Daughter In Law
Something awful happened yesterday.
Suddenly looking through my Facebook and Twitter feeds I found out that there had been several explosions at the Boston Marathon.
Explosions. Injuries. Fatalities.
Unfathomable situations to consider.
Social media is incredibly informative. We learn news in the blink of an eye, but just as quickly we can receive misinformation and find ourselves giving out incorrect details because we want to share and we want to help.
Social media can also be terribly triggering when it comes to disasters such as these. Sometimes we cannot handle what is happening in the world. Stories such as this horrible tragedy in Boston trigger dark thoughts for many of us. We get stuck in that mindset and can't push it down.
These are perfectly normal reactions to a tragedy such as this one.
But it's also totally okay to WALK AWAY.
We want to remind you that it is perfectly acceptable and often REQUIRED to walk away from the news stories. YOU are most important here. Yes, it's a horrible thing. Terrible. Emotional. Anxiety-provoking. But you need to know that if you are overwhelmed with the news you do not need to watch it, read it or listen to it.
Don't look for it. You'll hear it all eventually. It's not critical for you to know immediately what is happening.
Nobody will judge you for not participating. Nobody will ask you if you watched the Anderson Cooper show or read the latest AP News information. There will be no quiz here.
Social media IS amazing. But sometimes people just jump feet first without actually thinking or researching. And pictures that do not need to be seen get tossed about. Horrible. What for? Nobody needs to see that. Especially you.
If you are a parent, you are probably protecting your child(ren) from these things. There's no harm in protecting yourself, as well. I would recommend you do it.
I remind you, because I know that in times like these we often forget, that taking care of you is most important here. Avoid triggers. Close the laptop. Take a walk. Play with your kids. Eat something chocolatey. Dance around your living room. Sing your favorite song. Buy yourself a fancy coffee. Cry if you think it will help. But don't hole yourself up with the footage. It's not healthy and it's not necessary. Because we want you to take care of you. We want you to remain safe. And we want to help keep you that way.
If you find yourself looking for answers or resources, please consider reviewing some of these Band Back Together resource pages. And if you need to, reach out. We're here.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Resources
Emotional Shock Resources
We, The Band, keep the people of Boston in our hearts today and in the coming days as they face the aftermath of these horrible events.
Grief takes a different form for everyone, and coming to terms with a sibling's death can take some time.
This is her story.
Not going to lie, grief is one tricky bitch.
The past month has been the worst for me grief-wise. Little triggers have happened and when they do all I want to do is cry, cry, and cry.
Some days are better than others, I’m sure all of you know this. If I can get through the day without tears I find it a victory. However it’s not long before something reminds me of my sister and I shut down.
The whole process is a total nightmare. Never in a million years did I think losing my sister would make me into a broken, hot mess. I am usually - to quote Phil from Duck Dynasty - "Happy, Happy, Happy" despite that what has happened to my family is sad, sad, sad.
At church not long ago, we sang "Jesus Loves Me" during communion and for some reason it got to me. It reminded me of Jenny so I cried, which made dad cry too. Good one, Mags.
Later at lunch dad told that Jenny’s main caregiver, the one who had been with her for 20 years was diagnosed with the early stages of Alzheimer’s. Fuck. We can’t win, can we?
The following Tuesday I had choir practice and since it was nice out, I decided a quick trip to the cemetery was in order. I was concerned about the flowers I had put out since 11 inches of snow was dumped on us. The flowers were fine along with the solar light dad had gotten but the pretty pink pinwheel didn’t survive thanks to the high winds.
As I pulled up the pinwheel from the fresh ground, I noticed the death date plaque was put in place. Cue the waterworks. I stood there a few minutes then went to toss the pinwheel. I noticed the pieces of the pinwheel were strewn about not far from where Jenny was buried. In fact, one was near where my grandpa was buried just a few feet from Jenny. I collected them in order to try and fix them.
I went home and sat in the rocker that used to be in Jenny’s room and cried. I felt silly to be crying over something so ridiculous as a dollar pinwheel that can easily be fixed or replaced. I blame that time of the month for that one. I was extra emotional then.
What triggers my emotions and what doesn’t is another funny thing.
A week ago I went into Jenny’s nearly empty room. I felt that heavy feeling you get when you’re sad but it quickly vanished. Later when I got home and heard a song on the radio, boom, it hit me.
The following Friday I was at the store when I ran into someone who once again expressed their sympathies (another thing I am tired of). Then I ran into one of Jenny’s longtime caregivers. After we exchanged hugs and hellos she told me it gets harder and harder every day. Then she dropped an unexpected bomb on me. Jenny’s room was painted.
I knew this would happen because eventually Jenny’s room would be given to another client who needs it. But to paint it so soon? After a month, when we were told to take all the time we needed? Granted, there isn’t much left but how am I to go there now and not see the cheery yellow room that was Jenny’s? It was too much. I ranted at my dad about it later because I was angry, and when I got home I was exhausted again. I cried.
I was told by a friend of mine that I’m empathetic. I feel more than most people; births, marriages, sicknesses and especially deaths have more of an effect on me. "Lucky me," I replied sarcastically. They told me it was a good trait to have and more should have it. Then how come I feel like shit and cry at the drop of a hat?
I’m tired of being sad, crying at any given moment. Tired of complaining to people about it when I’m sure they’re tired of me too. I used to be so strong. It took a lot to get me to cry but I don’t think I’ll have that strength again. I heard that Dad said I was his backbone through all this.
Some backbone. I feel spineless.
I know it takes time to heal. I get that, but it just seems endless. I’ve considered going to a grief support group in April. It’ll be hard with my schedule but I’m going to try to work it out because I think it just might help.
I enjoy writing on here, I’m glad there’s understanding for what I’m going through.
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