I Feel Bad Because I Don't Feel Bad...


...actually I'm not feeling much at all.  The final lyric of the song "Nothing" from A Chorus Line captures me right now:  "And I dug right down to the bottom of my soul.  And cried ’cause I felt nothing."

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day.  I am and have been a supporter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention for years.  This fall my family and I will be walking in support of this organization and should you care to donate to our cause:  https://supporting.afsp.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.participant&participantID=2421617.  

Sadly, I've lost several friends and relatives to suicide.  The loss has always brought on a host of emotions.  Which is why what I'm about to say is unsettling to me.  A friend of my husband's, who was also a guest at our wedding (25 years ago this coming Monday) committed suicide on Wednesday. I’m not proud of the way I feel because I feel nothing...

D was a friend of my husband's before the two of us even met.  When we did meet, she wasn't overtly friendly.  For a while I thought it was me.  Maybe I was infringing on their friendship?  I tried to be warm, but I didn't get much in return.  Then I figured out it wasn't me.  She just wasn't a friendly person.  

She wasn't a very happy person.  I don't think I ever saw her smile. I'm completely serious.  If I ever brought up our wedding, the only memory she had was having to share a motel room with two other friend and one snored so loudly that she had to sleep in the bathtub.  That could have been an amusing antidote, but she didn't tell it that way.

I'm pretty sure she didn't have an easy life, but I'd also like to say that she didn't make life easy.  Tennessee William's had Blanche Dubois say:  “I have always depended on the kindness of strangers" in A Streetcar Named Desire.  D did not depend on the kindness of a strangers or friends, she demanded it.  I don't say that lightly.  She expected friends and even relative strangers to bow to her wants and needs.   She expected thing to go her way and if they didn't she would turn bitter and angry.  Or perhaps I should say even more bitter and angry because that was her persona.  It made it difficult to want to be around her and is why I rarely spoke with her.

An example, she needed a computer.  I had a mini laptop that no longer fit my needs.  My husband offered it to her and even cleaned it up and personalized it for her use.  She took the bus out from New York to get it, unhappy that she had to come all the way out to us.  My husband worked with her on it and we even bought her lunch.  She left that afternoon...and never even uttered a thank you.  Perhaps I am the one who is bitter because that happened 10 years ago and I still harbor a slight grudge.

Maybe I do feel something...but it's not what I want or think I should feel.  I feel shame that I don't feel sorry.  I am embarrassed that I am not grief stricken. Am I a bad person for not  wondering  what I could have done to prevent this?   (The answer would have been nothing...)  Instead I feel frustrated and angry.  I don't want to feel that way...it feels wrong, but...

I'm frustrated that she didn't get help.  I'm frustrated that I couldn't be her friend.  (I wanted to, but it was just too exhausting.)  I could not take her constant negativity and that being around her drained me and put me in a space that I was not comfortable with.

I'm angry that she did this.  I'm angry because I feel that she was selfish.  That's she's taking up resources (a ventilator, a hospital bed, the time of healthcare workers).  I'm angry that she put her friends in a difficult situation.  I'm angry because as I write this (as far as I know) she is not dead, but neither is she alive

I'm simply angry and frustrated.  I don't like that.  I feel that her bitterness is being transferred to me and that's a "gift" that I don't want to accept.

So what CAN I accept?  What CAN I learn from this woman?  I truly know now that being bitter and angry is not how you should live your life.  (That's not to say that there aren't times when you won't be either, but you cannot LIVE with it 24/7.)  Letting it consume you will only isolate you from others. When I AM angry and/or bitter, I need to remember to take a step back.  I need to allow myself some time for those emotions, but then I need to move on.  We all need to move on.

I will do my best NOT to live my life as D did. To be grateful for what I have and accepting of what I do not.  And while I cannot change someone’s life or mindset, I can (and will) offer words of encouragement.

Finally, I will continue to walk to support the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.  When we walk this October 10th, we will carry D’s memory with us along with those others who we have lost.  While I cannot change the past, I can walk and pray for a better future.


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