People I Met on the Way Down

Never took the time to appreciate my surroundings. Never really put much thought in what it took to get to this place. Six years ago, I couldn’t even fathom getting to this place. It’s not always simple; there are days when it feels like giving up is just easier. These days, though, that’s not even an option I consider. And if I think too much about those moments (because that’s all they are these days), I risk falling into the rut. Let’s ignore that. For now anyway.

Depression has been a lifelong companion. For years, however, I let it take the wheel. It ruled my every thought. After the split, I just gave into it. Allowed it to make my decisions and let me tell you—they weren’t always good decisions. Actually, there are so many things I did, said, and thought during my long journey to here that I’d rather not think about.

But I’m not here to “throw shade” at my mistakes. Something happened that put things into perspective. These last two months have been a strange roller coaster and strange beginnings.

In August, Jeanna was involved in a car accident that took the lives of her mother, sister, and youngest nephew. Breaking the news to Shaun wasn’t easy; it’s nothing a person can prepare themselves for. Jeanna was on the road to recovery, but he’d lost three special people in his life. While the hospital allowed Shaun weekend visits, he was thrust into a situation of living with me full time. (He’s asleep as I type these words, by the way.)

A lot of people use death as their motivation, and I can see why. Life is short. It’s fucking unpredictable as hell. I’m appreciative of the days I’ve had, and those that are still on the horizon for me. But I don’t know what lies beyond what I can see, because even that isn’t guaranteed.

As I sat in the waiting room, trying to make sense of all the news just thrown at me, I made phone calls. A few phone calls, actually. I called my mom first because she had Shaun. I called Virginia second because I needed to hear her voice; I needed the comfort she has been so good at giving. She didn’t answer, but that was expected; it was one in the morning, after all. I called Monica because she’s been there for me through so much already. And I called Laura, who called me back. Each did their best to calm my tears and fears.

It’s strange to conclude a post about depression with death, but there’s a reason why it ties together in the end.

I’m appreciative of where I am now. There are difficult moments. Like knowing that Jeanna’s mom isn’t going to just text me out of the blue. Or that I will no longer have these random conversations with Marci on Facebook. I’ll never see Arnie, who passed away in September, make another comment on one of my Facebook updates (and like his own comment). I’ll never get a strange, middle of the night phone call from Shon (who passed away last Wednesday) about one conspiracy or another.

I’m happy that I was given the opportunity to have these people in my life. And I’m happy to have been in theirs. I’m happy to have called a few of them my family.

I’m appreciative of where I am now, and more so for the people who helped me get here. And not just with this situation, but situations in the past and those that bloomed in its wake. To those who helped me by dragging me out of my home even though the depression was eating at me. To those who hugged me despite my aversion to it. To those who cared enough to ask me how I felt at any given time. To those who I call family.

Thank you.

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