Goodness, I sound like such a child.
"I feel left out," I told my husband recently. Slighted. Overlooked. Ignored, even.
Sometimes people I refer to as my friends go ahead and do things without me.
Then I see it. Showing up on their Facebook walls.
Dinner and drinks. Lunch with friends.
Am I not their friend, too?
What about me?
It's often rougher in the blogging world. You think you're connected to people. You've established what you find as SOMETHING. You think that maybe you're finding your way. And then you're the only one not included.
You know what?
That kind of sucks.
And yes, it's true that sometimes friends are not really friends. Does that even make a stitch of sense? I don't know. But Facebook friends are often acquaintances. And yet, when the community you think you belong to goes ahead and does a big bloggy thing without just you? You feel like crap.
You read into it. You withdraw.
You remind yourself that these are not the true friends you have made in this world that you exist in. The real ones, sadly, live too far away for the occasional lunch or dinner. But they're there, and they are real.
They represent the support you need and the circles you WANT to play in. The ones that open wide, take you in, and never ever make you feel left out.
It's true, some of them out there DO ignore. Not everyone who is far away is all-encompassing and that stings too, but in a different way.
Because you've learned to shrug it off. To unfriend, unfollow, stop tweeting at when you get no replies EVER.
But when it's someone you relied on to be a connection in this non-virtual aspect of the virtual world? Then it sucks. You're allowed to say so. Or at least I am. For now.
And then you move on.
I do. I did. Keeping that tie, but hiding that bullshit. Because there's no reason to torture yourself with people who don't care, or like you enough, to include you. The tie is enough for now, but soon you'll let it slide. You'll cut that string. Loosen the ribbon. Let it go. You'll feel a lot better. But for now you'll smile and just know. And take it from there.
If you can relate to this I'm sorry. I'm sorry you have felt it, too. Because it stings. And it's okay to say and feel so. You're not alone. I'm not, either. I just needed to say all of this anyway so I could feel better now.
At least just a little bit.
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.
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?
To The Man Who Killed My Fiancé And Nearly Crippled Me,
I wish I could send this letter directly to you so that you might begin to understand the destruction and despair you have caused by behaving in an irresponsible and reckless manner.
First I want to tell you a little bit about Dave and I. We met at a fireworks display on a Friday in May. He made me laugh and we had a lively discussion about books we had both read and books we would like to read in the future.
I had been single on purpose for almost eight years. I had spent the first five years working on being the best person I could be, improving my physical, mental, and emotional health. Sometimes I enjoyed being single and felt no pressure to be involved in a relationship. There were dates and casual relationships but nothing serious. I traveled, spent time with my family, worked at a challenging, demanding job that I loved and all was well in my world.
Meeting Dave threw me for a loop. I never expected to fall in love again, especially with a man who was 21 years older than me, but I did. Things moved pretty quickly and in September of 2011 he asked me to marry him and I said yes. We both knew that I would most likely outlive him and I was okay with that because I planned to make the most of the time we had together.
On October 2, 2011 Dave and I were on our way to have brunch with my family to tell them that we were getting married and to get my parents' blessing. As we were nearing our exit we got a flat tire. Dave quickly pulled off the freeway and onto the shoulder. We got out the spare tire and jack and I gave my mom a quick call to let her know we would be late.
I had just dropped my phone in my purse and started to turn to Dave with the owner's manual when I heard the sound of metal on metal. I turned towards Dave and that chilling sound and there you were, losing control of your motorcycle and careening towards us at high speed. I called out Dave's name hoping that he could get out of your way and then you and your motorcycle slammed into us.
I flew through the air and landed in front of our car. I knew I needed to quickly determine the extent of the damage to me so I could help Dave. There was so much pain and I could smell blood and hot asphalt. I raised my head to check my legs and realized that both of my lower legs were badly broken and I was in danger of bleeding to death.
I couldn't see or hear Dave so I kept calling his name but he didn't answer. I panicked and started screaming for someone to help us. I knew then that Dave was dead. An ambulance came and I was rushed to surgery.
It was later determined that you had been speeding, driving recklessly without insurance, racing your motorcycle, and were not qualified to ride a powerful motorcycle. Your decisions cost me more than I could bear to lose. You killed Dave and a part of me died with him that day.
You should know something about the man you killed. He was a retired Marine who survived combat and duty in South America during the war on drugs. He was fighting cancer until the day he died. He was a father, a brother, a son, and the love of my life. He was intelligent with a dry and irreverent sense of humor. He was learning to play the guitar and he loved the ocean. There are too many things to write here, but I just want you to know he was a good man who was greatly loved and is still missed.
I spent four months in the hospital and am still in physical therapy. I had over twenty surgeries to rebuild my legs and I had learned how to walk again. Last month the screws holding my left leg together snapped and so I'm back in the wheelchair again while we wait for the insurance company to approve or deny the request for surgery. I may lose this leg if it can't be rebuilt.
I live in constant pain and nothing really helps.
The PTSD has been horrible, I barely leave the house. The flashbacks and nightmares are debilitating and scary, but I am trying to work on them. I have so many physical and emotional issues that I can't list them all here.
I want to know why you did this to us. I want to know why you were so reckless, popping wheelies and speeding. Was it worth it? Do you care about the man you killed and the lives left in shambles? I can't forgive you and I can't forget what happened when I am faced with horrific scars everyday.
I can't wish you the best because I'm very angry, sad, in pain, and I miss Dave.
I hope someday you experience what I have experienced.
A diagnosis of cancer affects the entire family.
This is her story.
Two years ago, my sister was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer.
She was 35 at the time, had a twelve year old son, ten year old daughter, and a three year old daughter. She underwent months of radiation, a double mastectomy and then months of chemotherapy. Six lymph nodes were also affected.
Just a few of months ago she got the all clear from her oncologist that he didn't need to see her anymore, that she was cancer free.
She has been having a lot of pain in her hip the last few weeks and finally had a CT scan on Friday.
At this point we don't know if it's on the bone or in the bone, if it's metastasized, or if it's a whole new cancer. We know the odds are it has metastasized. We have been hoping and praying that it's a misdiagnosis or just a new cancer that can be treated. Hope for the best and prepare for the worst, I guess.
My sister lives about 3500km away from our family. We do have some family where she is, but no one that is close to her. Her husband's mom died in September and she was really the only family they had. Our mom and our brother live where I do.
I want so badly to be there, but I just can't right now. We were planning a visit in June but it seems so far away. I want to be there with her right now. She's scared, her husband and kids are scared, I'm scared. She doesn't deserve this. I know that no one deserves cancer, but she really, really doesn't deserve it. She has already been though enough.
And I'm terrified.
And I'm so frustrated I can't be there.
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