Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Bitter, Yet Oh So Sweet Day

Two years ago a dear friend of mine called me. She said she was driving through the town where we taught in Michigan. When I asked why she was in Michigan she told me her brother had commited suicide.

I told her I was sorry. But I had to go. I had a thing to get to.


I worked through some of the hardest, most shocking days of my teaching career with this woman. We met the week before our first day of teaching -- ever.

One day, very early on in our first year of teaching, I walked into her classroom and found her curled up next to one of her students, just talking to him. She calmly wiped the drool, gently blocked his spastic movements, laughed when he laughed, and I'm telling you right now -- they were having a full on conversation. I learned more in that one moment about teaching and loving children with severe mental impairments than I had in three classes and a five week practical.

Oh. And we dated the same boy. (And he was such a boy.) At the same time. Only at first we didn't know it.  And when I continued to date him ::head desk:: she didn't stop being my friend. Instead she helped me find an apartment in town and helped move me. We actually grew closer. I joined the same gym as her. We did aerobics together, went for long walks (oh sweet lord, those long walks with her long legs!), and after our marathon workouts we'd go to this great little ice cream hut and get a shake or cone. Totally makes sense.

When she was pregnant with her second, I was pregnant with John. When she was in early labor I was lucky enough to be on the phone with her. That right there is beyond awesome. John was born about two weeks after her second daughter.

So. Why did I say I had a 'thing' to get to?

Well, because I was at the height of my depression, and on my way into the hospital. I went to that 'thing,' only I remember very little about it. My friends, Mary, Kendall, and Carolyn tell me about that day every now and again. I honestly only remember bits and pieces.

I remember what I wore. (Because that's important.) And that I had to get Mary's house to borrow a Silpada ring. (Becasue, again, important.) I remember walking through Mary's house for the first time and having tunnel vision. I remember that I couldn't find my way there and it's two turns and five miles from my house.  I remember thinking, "I got this. Totally." Those friends now tell me they all thought, "What the fuck is wrong with Kim?" (That's word for word, all told to me without the knowldege of the other person. And these are all classy ladies, so don't go judging them for dropping the F-bomb. That's how messed up I was.)

That is so frightening. So very sad.

Mary actually tried to track me down, get me to go to lunch,  but I had gotten lost in the parking garage. For a half an hour.

On the way home I called my sister in law, Kerry and told her I was on the way home. Then I got in an accident. That I don't remember. NOT  because it was terrible and tramautic. It wasn't. It was just my van and the curb. I remember calling Kerry back and laughingly saying something like, "I won't be home! I just got in an accident!" And then thinking, "I don't know what to do." By the grace of God  a tow truck driver was following me. He knocked on my window and asked if I was OK. I do clearly remember looking at him and saying, "Yes. But I don't know what to do. I just don't  know. Should I call my husband?" And he must have walked me through what to do.

I don't remember anything else of that day.

The next morning my husband took me to the hospital.

Two months later I off handedly said, to my therapist, "And then I got into the accident. Wait. WHAT?"

I'd forgotten that I'd forgotten. How's that for messed up?

But today. Today is two years later. Today I will call my friend and tell her thank you. For still talking to me. For understanding. For giving me a second chance. For letting me explain why I didn't listen to her at the worst possible moment in her life. She, somehow, understands that I entering one of the worst possible moments in my life.

Today I will take care of my children. I will possibly paint, weed the garden and clean the kitchen.

Most importantly? I will remember this day.

And all the days that come after. I will remember the smiles and sighs, the laughs and cries. The 'I love you's' and 'How dare you's'.' I will remember the way John grabs our face and turns it towards him when wants something. I will remember the way Sarah screamed, "Today is the day! This is it!" When she got the news telling her she was going to be an angel in the Nutcracker this December. I will remember the way Violet beamed and said, "Thank you, Mom. I just love my nails and hair. I love you." After her spa and salon birthday party with her three best friends on Saturday. I will remember the way my husband makes chocolate appear every time I say, "I could go for some chocolate." and how I see love in his eyes when he looks at me. I will remember the amazing family and girlfriends I've surrounded myself with.

And now I have a phone call to make.