Wednesday, October 23, 2013
You know the feeling you get when you wake up from a truly horrible nightmare and thank God you were only dreaming? I guess you might call that relief, maybe euphoria, maybe joy. I'm not sure what the term is for when you open your eyes and the nightmare keeps going.
I can remember the nurse screaming.
"Do you know what year it is?"
"Twenty-twelve," I answered. "Twenty-thirteen."
"Do you know who's president?"
"Do you know your name?"
I remember that fifth glass of wine, the frantic confession to the priest over the phone, my brother telling me to stay awake even as I started to fall into a coma.
"You can't stop me! I already took the pills!"
I was crying and laughing at the same time. I was so happy. I was so sad. I was so unburdened.
I'm so sorry.
And I mean that, as much as I have ever meant anything, because in pulling out of a 14-hour coma and being restored to life the only thing I can think about is all the people I betrayed. Thomas, who was my erstwhile companion. Powell, who was still my brother even with all his faults. Pie, who looked up to me. God, who gave me all my gifts and many of my flaws. You, my readers, who rooted for me over the years. And myself.
One thing I keep returning to is the BB I used to be, the one who threw blackened away and decided to see life for all the good it contained.
I don't understand how I went from being that 21-year-old boy, the one with the future standing as an endless sunlit vault before him; to the 25-year-old young man who saw no future at all. I don't understand how I went from striding a summit to collapsing on my bedroom floor. Every time I think about it it makes me cry.
There are no easy answers for me as I return from the psychiatric hospital to the home where I almost died. There are many things I'll need to do, and one of them is to grieve. I'm giving myself time for that, but not too much time. The other element in moving forward is reconstruction, and that means that I can be fragile and vulnerable, can withdraw into myself, for only so long. Eventually some heavy lifting has to take place. I'll let you know when, with the help of doctors and my family, I figure out what that is. I already have some ideas.
I know you all expected more from me. I expected more from myself. And I really hope one day I can achieve that.