Two winters ago, I was in a bad place. Physically, financially, but especially emotionally. Life, which has rarely been anything I could view as fair, had really begun to weigh me down. I was living in a motel room, paid for by my brother while awaiting a move to another state. A little late research revealed my soon-to-be new home was a bit of a nightmare. Think of Melrose Place with meth and hookers. The idea of flying halfway across the country with my cat, Swag, and less than $200 in my pocket was scary. Leaving everything I knew wasn't what scared me, it was knowing deep in my heart, I'd never return.
It's always easy to put off keeping up with people when you're close, but as I've learned over the last four years, distance tests friendships, even those we view as true. One can't imagine the alienation of being broke, physically unable to walk, and having to rely on a motel staff's daily pleasantries to remind yourself you're alive. At times I questioned whether this was even a good thing. The look every morning of my cat, who yes, was with me in this room, kept me going.
As the days grew nearer to my move, I started to panic. A tiny number of friends supported me, mostly through Facebook messenger but for the most part, I was on my own. I remember walking nearly a mile to get something and limping back, almost on the verge of tears. It was in the single digits, snowing, and my hip was throbbing. I actually soaked in a tub, yes in a motel, but after a month, it was my home. As I lay there, thoughts of despair crept in, but then I thought about my mother and her battle with cancer. For the better part of a decade and for four straight years in the end, she battled every imaginable obstacle and did so with such vigor, and dignity, I felt embarrassed. No, it did not make my problems disappear, nor did it make me feel any less discomfort, but it shamed me. That, plus the positive words of another pushed me through.
A week later, I was still in pain, still financially crippled, and still out of options, but I was in a house. I had space to limp around but was still confined. As my surgery approached I was actually upbeat. I had confidence it would help but still wondered what the future may hold. Leading up to it, a friend, who may have read between some of my oft posted complaints about the world, sent me a gift. This was a person who I have not seen since they were a child, but something tells me he saw some signs that were so sadly familiar. I do not know for sure but I know his gift, meant a ton because he understands in a way most of will never and should never have to. He will always hold a special place in my heart for this. Due to people like him and another dear friend whose kindness I did not and do not deserve, I went to the hospital upbeat. Having a familiar face to wake up to mean more than anyone can imagine. If not for her, I'd have been alone, something that may have very well changed my mood.
It's been over a year since the surgery and I'm basically pain-free. I'm waiting for my job to start back up again, but to say I'm not still financially screwed would be a lie. I now know who my true friends are and I'm not in that dark place. I think the irony in all this was what was surrounding me during this time. I had three people come to me for support and two of them told me that my words kept them from doing harm to themselves. That was a wake-up call because despite not being people I'd call close, the loss of other friends during this time was crushing. The thought of not being there for others gave my life some little semblance of importance.
There are very few people in my life, living or dead, who I can say I love. Even those I do, rarely, if ever, hear the words, but I think they know. I hope my actions speak loudly enough to compensate for my often muted voice. I know their actions have lifted me from the lowest depths and there is no compensation imaginable to repay them other than a humble and simple thank you. I still need help and that sometimes brings me down a notch, but every morning, a soft meow and rub on my leg reminds me that I'm necessary for someone else's existence. The laughter on the other end of the phone reminds me I still bring another pleasure. The random messages from a few each day, makes me feel part of something bigger, which is important in my mind. And then there are the complete strangers who lift me up with their views and occasional direct words.
I am far from back, but I wonder if I wasn't always somewhat straddling this abyss. I do now know, thanks to the kindness and love of others, that I am not out of options and never really was.