Come. You must.

I will be dropping off the grid for a few days later this week, and staying with friends. I'm not posting this publicly because I don't feel like broadcasting that the house is empty, but I'm disclosing to those with accounts on, and posting a redacted version on my friends-locked facebook account.

This trip was planned before Jeff's accident, but its purpose has changed. Previously, it was a lighthearted, casual trip; now it is a lifeline. I need time to grieve, mourn, be angry, be quiet ... whatever my heart needs, without the constant need for a Brave Public Face.

The harder part to admit is that I need to laugh, too.

I didn't die in the accident.
It only feels like I did.

The family drama has meant that for now, I'm hesitant to show any kind of laughter or enthusiasm for life. I've already been criticized once for not caring enough or being appropriately beaten down enough. It sounds unthinkable, but it isn't -- for me, this criticism comes complete with a name, a face, and a voice that are all known to me.

I keep coming back to that single statement, though: I didn't die in the accident. It only feels like I did.

I recognize that I have a choice: to let the events of December 2010 kill me by slow, brutal degrees -- or to seize on the moments of calmness and joy I still have, and magnify their effects in my life. So in this case it meant talking with nurses over a period of days, and ascertaining that it was safe for me to travel, as well as talking it over with friends who all -- to a one -- said, "Come. You must."

So we'll enact the trip, mostly as planned. I'll pick up Jacob at the airport. We have Cirque du Soleil tickets, and other nebulous plans. Perhaps we'll go look at quilt fabric, and perhaps we'll go to the High Museum for the Dali and Titian exhibits. For New Year's Eve, a hand-picked group of us will converge on the Geek Farm. For New Year's Eve, I'll call the hospital a few hours before midnight, make sure everything's holding steady, and then I'll have a drink or two. (My sum total of alcohol since the accident: a glass of sangria on the night of the first two-finger salute.)

I will be surrounded by people whose care and discretion I trust implicitly. For a few days, I will be free to both cry and laugh. These are people who want -- and expect -- both from me.

I'll come back on Sunday. I won't be magically better, or cured, but I'll have had a few days of a relatively normal life.


Amy, it occurs to me that the hardest thing you may have to do through all of this is be generous with others in their grief, while anticipating they may not be generous with you and your feelings.  I've seen this occasinally with hospice, the idea that there's a right way to express these big feelings. Combine that with stress and it's a recipe for poor reactions.  I'm so sorry, but I agree with lots of the other comments I've been seeing - you're doing enough, and taking care of yourself means you can hang in there when others need you. Have a good time.

Donna, you make an excellent point, and it's right on the money -- when my father was in the final days of his life, we saw the exact same thing from family members who were in shock, and grieving. They lashed out at anyone/everything they could find. It was ... jaw-dropping.

Luckily, I don't have to invite the person in question over to my house anytime soon!

I'm glad you are getting some time for healing. I don't know who this family member is who is causing drama, but I'm sorry they are. No two people deal with grief and hardship the same way, i wished they realized that instead of making you feel bad for doing what you need to do.

*hugs* Enjoy your trip. You need it.