i'd like to say that i haven't been alright because of the state of the country and the economy, how i've been feeling like i'm hanging onto my job by a thread, etc. but that wouldn't be totally true and i can't lie...anymore. for reasons too numerous to go through now, i can just simply say that i have not been alright for a while now.
things really started to unravel during the last few months of my grandmother's life. it was all so touch and go for almost a year. i'd tried to prepare myself but you're never really ready for the day. i watched the strongest, most active, independent and industrious woman, person i knew, decline to the point of being confined to a bed and unable to speak. my heart would break daily for her. when i was alone, i allowed myself time to grieve selfishly. my grandmother raised me. she loved me in her own way and taught me all she knew so i'd become strong and self-reliant. up until then, i thought i had been a good student but secretly i wondered if her lessons would be enough without her there. after she passed away, i held up and carried on my daily routines. i had to. but as time when on, what i realized as my facade started to crack. to the untrained eye, i was multi-tasking as usual. but i'd become unorganized and lost. i honestly don't know if it was pride or the bitter thought that no-one would or could be there for me, no matter how many times i had come through for them, but i kept everything to myself. it oozed out at times, creating waves in the otherwise calm with my boyfriend, straining an already tentative relationship with my son's father and causing me to withdraw from my family and friends. then at my lowest points, i eventually reached out for help but in most cases, it was what i feared. most people don't really know how to help the helper. so i went back to doing what i used to do best - managing with whatever i had, not allowing myself to want more or expect anything, making myself as small and unobtrusive as possible, hoping that drama would pass me by.
i continued to try to do as i had been raised but usually wound up doing whatever would get me by. i used most, if not all of my resources until i felt like i was running on fumes. i had been running on empty for so long that it didn't take much to throw me. i only managed to pull myself out long enough to go to work with a semblance of a smile and not scream on my staff. i took care of my son but often pulled away from him because i felt guilty that i couldn't do more for him. i engaged in a dangerous push-pull with my boyfriend, everyday wondering if this would be the day i succeeded in pushing him away.
i was a mess. i am a mess, alternating between spinning out of control and paralyzing myself with fear and doubt. but today, i was stopped by a smile. an older woman, dressed in all white and carrying a walking stick, told me that god told her to tell me that everything will be alright. she was not one of the people i regularly pass by my job. i don't recall riding the train or bus with her. she wasn't one of my former clients and i don't think she attends my agency's senior center. in fact, she said that she had never seen me before and probably wouldn't again but she wanted to let me know that she loved me and that everything would be ok. her name was rosalee. my grandmother's nickname was rose.