When is life no longer worth living? At what point is it ok to give it all up already?
Is it when you realize that you are now officially a senior citizen and that all the hopes and dreams you had as a young woman are simply gone?
Is it when you realize your chronic health condition will never disappear and will likely only get worse?
Is it when you hate working so much that you start crying as soon as you get in the car in the morning, but you can’t quit because you need the health insurance?
Is it when it’s become apparent that while you’ve always taken care of everyone around you, no one is willing to take care of you?
Or – is it when all the badness hits at the same time and you become so upset that you tell a family member you’re ready to jump off a 35-story building, and said family member … an adult child … heart of your heart, blood of your blood … replies “Go for it.” .… and you know she means it?
A lot has been written about the effects of depression, and we all know those individuals who are chronically depressed. For those people, there are programs, there are hotlines, there are compassionate helpers.
But what about those who, for their entire lives, have been the rock for others, and for a short period of time suffer an emotional breakdown? Don’t “strong” people occasionally need support and understanding, too?
I recently received notice that the local medical school is done – or about to be done – with my mother’s remains and will be holding a memorial service in June. It’s been three years since my mother’s death.
I’ve accepted the fact that my mother – the only person I could lean on in troubled times – is no longer around. This reminder has hit me harder than it should, perhaps because everything else in my life is going downhill.
While I fully supported my mother’s decision to donate her body to science, and will do the same when my time comes, the thought of medical students cutting into her at this late stage is playing havoc with my emotions. I keep envisioning her rising up from the table and shouting, “I didn’t mean it!”
There will be speeches by the medical students during the memorial service. I’ve read some of the prior speeches on the medical school’s website. They’re meant to be uplifting and to give thanks to those individuals and their heirs who have been willing to make this contribution to medical science.
I’d like to skip the ceremony, but I won’t. I owe it to my mother to be there. My mother was the strong one when I was growing up, and I’m pretty sure I never returned the love as well as I should have.
I’m pretty sure I’ll want to cry during the ceremony. But I won’t. Because family members will be there who expect me to be the strong one.
Life sucks. And then it ends.
In between, the strong ones take care of the weaker ones and hope they never become weak themselves.
Praise be to wine. And puppies. Neither cares whether people are weak or strong.
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Image by Cordelia’s Mom