I feel sick today. Last night there was a huge, startling KABOOM that shook the house and sent the dogs running to me for protection. I didn’t know what it was. I decided that it must have been snow sliding down from the roof. Although I did not make the connection at first, it wasn’t much later that the road outside began filling with the sounds of sirens. We don’t get much siren traffic on this road and, when we do, I think all of us begin to worry what might have happened. It is one of the blessings of this somewhat rural neighborhood: we care about each other.

Police cars, fire truck, ambulance…my God. This must be what PTSD feels like. I’ve never known it before, but since Carl’s accident, it seems that I know it now. Before Christmas, I was pulled over for speeding. The police officer was nothing but nice, but as I sat in my car waiting for him to run my driver’s license, I nearly came undone. Those lights flashing in my rear view mirror. Flashing, pulsing, unrelenting in their consuming brightness. For the first time, I imagined all the lights that must have been on the scene of Carl’s wreck. My mind screaming, mentally pleading with the cop to PLEASE turn off those flashing lights!!! Pleading with myself to pleasepleaseplease hold it together, the edges of a full blown panic attack growing imminent. I’m let off with a warning. He thanks me for being a good driver. The cop has no idea of my crushing brush with panic until he hands me a Random Act of Kindness and I burst into tears. Will you be ok, he asks with kindness in his voice? Yes, yes…I will be fine. I thank him and I mean it. I drive the rest of the way home, crying my eyes out. The trauma, the kindness, the wanting Carl, for just…everything. And so it begins again last night. My quiet little world fills with flashing lights and sirens. Again, my imagination takes me to the scene of that horrible night that I wasn’t there to see. Then it loops over on itself, back to the present. I begin to worry if I might know people where all these sirens are headed. Is it my dear friends next door? Where is this dire emergency that requires so much attention? What has happened? Is anyone hurt? Dear God, has someone lost their life?

Meanwhile, Carl’s sister is on her way to pick me up. She is seeing all the flashing lights and having a similar experience of anxiousness and worry. She doesn’t yet know if they’re going to my house or somewhere else or what is even happening. When she pulls up to my cabin, I get in the car, we exchange thoughts and, for a moment, I become grateful that I am not as crazy as I feel. I’m not the only one struggling with some of these startling ways that life keeps happening around us. I become extraordinarily grateful that we have something soulful and good planned together for the evening.

I question whether I should even write about this here. It is too raw. I would prefer to reach towards optimism and hope. I want to contribute something positive to this world. Instead, all I’m capable of this morning is worrying about the house down the road. It exploded, completely obliterated. There was a man who was injured. I don’t yet know who it was and I probably don’t know him, but I worry about him and his family, too. I worry about the blizzard out east and all of the good friends I have who live there. That storm is both beautiful and ugly. I worry about the homeless people. I worry about the elderly and the sick. What will they do if they need help and can’t get it?

I feel traumatized. Like I am disintegrating.

But my spirit won’t let me stop here. I attempt to lift myself out of this. And I am hoping that it will have the circular effect of helping to lift you up, too. Over and over and over…this is perhaps the best thing we will ever do for each other. We’ll take turns. Here is my hand.

I step off my downward spiral of worry, back onto solid, snowy ground.
I take a deep breath.
I realize that I am not alone.
And neither are you.

Suddenly, the path becomes a little bit easier again.

The horse photo? Well, that is just a little gift to you and to me. A reminder that all is well, even when it doesn’t feel like it.

I love you, Carl. You pull me thru…in ways that I sometimes don’t even realize.

{originally published Jan 27, 2015}

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