For years I would have this dream about an alligator chasing me around. The stupid creature following me around whatever the backdrop was for the rest of the dream. Sitting on the couch, playing baseball, just the oddest settings for an alligator to show up. I would talk about it with people, asking if they understood what the deal was. Lots of jokes about how I must have been traumatized as a toddler by someone showing me the animated version of Peter Pan. Sorry, mom and dad weren’t spending hundreds of dollars on a VCR in the mid 70’s to torture my brother and I.
Eventually I had enough of the dream and finally asked my mother what the deal was. We’d been at some company picnic of my father’s and he was supposed to be watching me. I was around 2 at the time since my brother was a carry-on type human. I’d wandered a little too close to the pond, maybe getting up to my knees before my mother, kid brother in hand had to grab me before I went any further. Dad was a little asleep at the wheel! Next day, swimming lessons were sought out.
Weird visions averted, I only get that returning one at times of anxiety. My brain going back to a familiar place to now warn me that I need to deal with something. A much gentler form than some of the nightmares it presents for other topics. Last night was one of those times.
Judgement Day, take it as a biblical reference or one pointing to a Terminator Movie, but that’s today. I wish it were a simple crisis of conscience where I’m guilty of not telling my family beforehand, but they are several states away and I needed to handle this myself. The next face to face coming in July when my brother is moving into his new place and they need me to help with some paperwork.
This type of crisis I can handle. My health is something that only I can figure out how best to approach. I left Maryland so that I wouldn’t get that need to phone of friend and ask for someone to sit there with me. I still can’t handle the guilt associated with needing them to help my ex and how poorly things were handled by me. Thus retreating to an environment where, although a phone call away, I won’t make it.
I’ve been trained by my family to handle their crisis. Been away for the weekend at a wedding, they still need me to be up by 5 the next morning to drive somewhere to fix something. Yeah, they expect it. Not a request, more a demand of my time. Just like some others in my former life, Lary can handle out tough stuff. We’ll just judge how he handled it later!
Work crisis are something I don’t need help with. I am the prepared for those, goes with the job description. Humans are a much harder thing for me. I panicked with my daughter, I didn’t know what to do. Every move only seemed to drag me further into a funnel of frustration and pain. With her gone, I’m still trying to understand where those feelings need to be. Last year was so bad, but the distraction of my ex displaced those feelings of grief. Now I’m stuck in a place where I am dealing with it alone. Staying with the family in Boston, they understand to a point. They were so worried about me they were checking my room when I was out because I made a comment about a person from therapy who was sleeping with a knife under her pillow. Only to find out, I really was talking about someone else and not some veiled reference to my inner turmoil.
June’s calendar oddly follows the same numerical/day sequence as September. So while I’m waiting for my own panel of Oncologist, Psychiatrist, and Nephrologist to give me a status update, my brain is recalling that I spent September 15th in the hospital with the ex. She was sick and I was there trying to help, we never saw each other afterwards. She just left. Another crisis? Hell yeah, but I like numbers. 9 months to the day! Different crisis, one that still has me confused.
I’m ready for whatever they tell me later, my feelings of panic, dread, anger, and fear are all riding shotgun. Lying about these things to a 14 year old brings out a different kind of guilt. But I hope she understands. I’ve already got a few good jokes to tell her about how the Mongols spread across Asia/Europe. If you’re going to joke about Cancer, make them original!
Crisis, if you’ve got one I can handle it. No matter how ugly. Compartmentalize that thing until it seems like a word problem from some textbook I once read. Doesn’t mean I won’t be upset out of view, but that’s not what people expect of me. But if you made it this far, you’ll see that while the wall is up for most, I feel everything. I just bury it just beneath the surface.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “In a Crisis.”