The nighttime drive I was dreading tonight turned out to be quite cathartic and soothing. It’s an easy drive, straight down I35, and it’s well lit, with hardly any traffic. I found myself just driving with the sunroof open and the radio off. I had intended to make a bunch of phone calls on my way down, but I decided I wasn’t really, truly in the mood to talk to anyone at that time. So it was just me and my thoughts for most of the hour drive.
I was thinking about how this journey to San Antonio mirrors the one I made 9 years ago, about this same time, for my Grandmother’s bypass surgery. Only that one didn’t turn out well. She had a stroke during the surgery and never woke up. I do not think that’s going to happen to my dad, but I can’t help but be triggered. I was thinking of how some things are different and some are the same. I am solo on this journey, sans husband. But really, I was also alone on the last journey, even though he was there in body. In fact, during the week of my Grandmother's surgery and death, I began shutting down to him. I didn’t even realize it at the time – or maybe I did? I do clearly remember sitting with my mom at the Black-eyed Pea on Walzem Road, and I was telling her something about how he was unsupportive. She seemed surprised because I had never before said anything to her about him that wasn’t positive. I remember I felt like I was babysitting during the whole ordeal, because my ex was being so irreverent and trying to make jokes, trying to lighten the mood – but it was not appropriate and he was pissing everybody off. (That was a common theme in our marriage, me being embarrassed by him and him laughing at me and telling me I was uptight.)
I was thinking about how I’ve never really had anyone there to support me during traumatic times. I have always taken it upon myself to be the “big sister”, which is fine, but I also sort of end up feeling like a parent. I go into this weird robo-mode of strength and numbness. I retreat there and help where I’m needed, and only feel it, really feel it, much later. I asked my friend Hope tonight what it felt like to have someone to lean on. I didn’t realize until it came out of my mouth that I really and truly don’t know. I cannot imagine truly leaning on someone. I have always had my friends, and they're awesome. But certainly not any of the men in my life. I really wonder if it’s a relief to have someone there to be strong for you – I mean it must be, right? I was starting to feel sorry for myself, oh poor Lisa, never had anybody, then something went “ding” in my brain – maybe I have never allowed anyone to support me. Maybe people have been there, offering support, but something stubborn in me will not trust or lean on anyone but myself. I’m not talking about the ex, he was NOT there. But like my sister, brother, friends – I never just sigh and totally lean into them and let them feel and shoulder some of my pain. I don’t know how. This was one of those moments of clarity I used to have with Julie after we’d worked hard on something for weeks, even months – suddenly the window would open up and I’d be like “wow.” Wow. What does this say about me, that I don’t trust any of the men I’ve been in relationships with? Maybe I don’t just pick losers, maybe some of them truly wanted to be there but I wouldn’t let them.
So I’m sitting here in my dad’s chair by the TV, laptop on lap (how about that), typing away – and I can hear my mom clicking away on her computer in the next room, sending emails to people about my dad. I am glad I’m here. Here, with my mom in this house, and here, at this point in my life.
Positive, happy thoughts and prayers.