Parker and Bill. He lounges a while before getting up.
I hit a snag and had to delete the original posting of this piece. Here it is in its entirety.
I’ve had a tough year. And the last 4 months have been hell. (You can read what part of it has been like here: Life…Interrupted. You can read the rest of it here: Ashes, Ashes, We All Fall Down.”)
However, it hasn’t been as tough as it is for some people in the world. I get that. Life isn’t fair. Overall, in the big picture, it has been pretty good to me. I have had a great career flying. I’ve been to places and seen things that the “Suburbia Set” will never see. I gave up a lot to do it, but it was what I chose.
I didn’t want to do what everyone else did. I know I keep beating up this thought, but I am so mystified that my peers accepted the status quo and didn’t think beyond the picket fence.
We all make choices. I certainly did. My flying career cemented some habits that still live with me. I had two appointments today and I was ten minutes early for both. I also noticed that they were both ten minutes late. Perhaps I’m obsessive. But that’s just my way.
I’ve had an awful year full of death, a concussion, sickness, and insecurity. And while I tried to remain strong and keep going, it finally got to me. Something had to give and it did. The dam finally broke and I had to deal with what I had been through. When my primary care physician heard the litany of crap that happened to me, he said, “Well, the CPR event would have thrown you under the bus alone, never mind the rest of the shit you went through.”
And despite all of the heartache, pain, despair, depression, and bullshit I went through, there was one thing that got me going in the morning, One thing I got out of bed for: My flock of three Greys. I got out of bed for them every morning. I prepared their dishes every day for them. I cleaned their cages, washed the floor and spent time with them.
They kept me going. Why? Because they meant something to me. I was responsible for them. Despite the LeBrea Tar Pit, I was mentally stuck in, I rolled out of bed in the morning and took care of my flock. I had to.
A close friend who deals with depression and has for years helped me tremendously. She understood not only what I was going through, she understood the pain and ache in my chest and the “shattered glass” feeling in my throat.
She told me, “Thank God for my birds. Sometimes it was the only thing that kept me going.” Spoken like a true expert. She’s been in those trenches of the Tar Pit. Despite everything, I made it back into the sunshine. It took some time and a lot of energy, but I began making sense of everything and slowly, but surely came out of the tar pit.
Many of you might wonder what happened that helped me turn the corner. Well, it was a lightning bolt of sorts. I finally, emotionally accepted something that I intellectually got, but couldn’t wrap my brain around:
It’s not my fault.
None of it was my fault. None of it. Once I got that, the clouds went away and things became shiny again. I understood that I was not responsible for those deaths, I couldn’t have done CPR any better because my friend, Kent made it to the hospital alive and lived 2 more days. I couldn’t have prevented my brother’s passing, Silvia’s passing, my cousin’s passing and I certainly couldn’t have done anything about the myriad of other events that occurred this last year. They simply happened. And many of them happened to me. I didn’t cause them, I couldn’t control them and sure as hell couldn’t cure them. It’s just the way things go down sometimes. And so it goes. I can’t say I am better for the experience. But I sure as hell learned a lot. And one of the things I learned is that when you do something you love and you have good friends, you can damn near get through anything.
Photo: Courtesy of Janet Holt Hilton
May 15, 2014 at 2:49 pm
May 15, 2014 at 9:12 pm
Patricia, I have checked your blog site periodically over these past few months and have been concerned when I found nothing posted. I figured you were going through a hard time and have thought about you and hoped and prayed the best for you. I am so glad things are looking up for you. I just want you to know that people you have never met care about you and are rooting for you. I am so glad you have had the support you have needed. God bless you and your greys! PS. Love the picture of Parker on his back! Too sweet!
May 15, 2014 at 9:15 pm
Thank you Kate. I’m Okay and getting better by the minute. I so appreciate your concern. Thank you so much.
May 16, 2014 at 1:56 am
Patricia, I do not have man words for you , except to let you know “I understand”. Our life moves along smoothly for a long time [almost as if on automatic pilot and very few of us are ever prepared for that time when all of a sudden the bottom falls out and we are catapulted into a freefall without a parachute 😦 Very few of us are prepared and we literally crash land in a place where we do not see an out of that dark place.
But then all of a sudden [maybe at the instant when we realize that we are not to blame [as you mentioned] we start seeing a ray of sunshine again trying to light the way for us……..if we reach for it -and then see the second ray and we acknowledge it , soon we see the entire sun again….it is a slow process with baby steps [but every day gets a little bit brighter and we come back out on top [hopefully having learned something] ………and accepting that we all are a part of the Universe, and the Universe is forever shifting and evolving as are we, but we have to accept that we also will have been changed and hopefully gotten stronger by acknowledging and letting ourselves feel our vulnerability and weaknesses. Wishing you continued healing 🙂
June 3, 2015 at 1:46 pm
Thank you for being brave enough to post this. I’ve wrestled with anxiety and depression for most of my life too, and it helps to know that there are others out there, doing really cool things, who deal with this too.
September 14, 2016 at 3:04 am
Patricia, I can’t say that we have a one on one relationship, but I do want to say that I am happy to see you coming out of that black hole and that I understand how you got there. I am in the process of sort of working my way back to the light as well. Reading this article of yours might even turn out to be another “stepping stone”for me. May you dance again [alone or have your 3 grey feather butts join in. I wish you “IT”