All my life, I have been sensitive. I have cried when I've been physically hurt. I have crumbled inside when I have been emotionally run over. I have ached for others' bad or sad situations. I have reached my arms out to many people over the years, trying to help. That's just what I do; I help.
When I worked at CPS (Child Protective Services, for those of you not in Texas; each state calls it something different), I gave and gave and gave. AND GAVE. Of myself, my love, my attention, my hope. I was determined to build something positive out of the train wreck of these people's lives. And I did, sometimes. Not always in the ways I wanted, or as often as I would have liked, but I know I planted the seed.
I left CPS for many reasons, but the big one was this: I could no longer carry the weight of despair. Not only did it sit heavy on my shoulders, but it was like lead in my heart. I found that even the largest positive ending to a case did not ease the load. I had spent too many years making others' pain my own, others' problems my own. I had to get out from under all of it before it destroyed me.
I thought leaving CPS would be the key. And to an extent, it has been. But, I find that I still empathize to an alarming degree, to the point of caregiver fatigue. I still swallow others' disasters. They lay claim to a tiny piece of my soul. I know all the ways, the techniques, to avoid this, yet I still do it. It's automatic. It's just me.
That being said, I found two blogs last summer that have really been heart wrenching for me: Bring the Rain and matt, liz, & madeline . Both deal with death, and the loss of someone you love with every fiber of your being. I cannot make it through one of matt's posts without tearing up, and subsequently sitting in held-breath silence, staring off into space. His pain is palpable.
I started from the beginning on Angie's blog, and I can't make it through without becoming a basket case. Sometimes, when I see new posts on Matt's blog pop up on my google reader, I just avoid them. I.just.can't.
I spend a substantial amount of time mulling over these people after reading the posts. I try to imagine being in their shoes-the anguish, anger, fear, rage, the unyielding feeling of being alone. I just cannot imagine that I would be as strong as they are.
However, I strongly suggest reading these blogs. First, it helps me to know that others swallow these stories whole. But also, the strength, hope, and faith they both possess is to be admired. While they do hurt me, they also remind me just how lucky I am, how blessed I have been in my life. How you can build a new life out of wreckage.
I have a dear bloggy friend who is going through something serious, something so indescribably painful and heartbreaking that I cannot even explain it, even if it was my story to tell. But. It is not my story to tell. All I can say is that I am thinking of her, and wishing that we were IRL friends, so I could hold her, cry with her, rage for her, and somehow make it better. I lie up at night, praying for the miracle that is meant to happen for her and her family. I ask Why, Why, WHY? over and over, knowing that no one can give me an answer that will satisfy. I am swallowing her pain whole, and I am trying to avoid it.
Check out the badge on the rightside of my blog. It's a wonderful foundation set up in memory of matt's wife, Liz. I am so glad someone came up with the idea!