A Family of Two

A Family of Two

Well, the proverbial shit hit the fan a couple weeks ago. I made one last attempt to reconcile with family and it blew up in my face.

It began when my sister reached out to me in her warm, fuzzy, superficial way. It gave me hope of mending the chasm that was left between us after my ex-husband almost killed me. When my direct questions regarding why she deserted me during the most traumatic time of my life were met with Geeyou draw pretty pictures! and Follow me on Facebook! type replies, I had a complete meltdown. I chastised her and the rest of my siblings for their lack of empathy. And of course, it was met with accusations and further alienation. Like a pack of Catholic wolves, they ate me alive, then ran off to celebrate themselves.

To make matters worse, I was also trying to reconnect with one of the most important people in my life after the Las Vegas shooting. Life is short and I realized I don’t ever want it to be too late to say I love you. I’ve had enough drama and I genuinely wanted to move beyond the pain and begin healing together the way a family should. Unfortunately, my attempt was met with misplaced anger and overwhelming bitterness.

I suddenly found myself falling into that black hole of despair once again. And it frightened me. The pain I felt can only be described as torture. My anxiety took complete control of every muscle in my body. My brain was on overdrive, reviewing the negativity over and over again. I drank, I took my Ativan, I ran, I did yoga. I sang, drew, painted, went to therapy. My doctor prescribed prazosin, a drug for veterans with PTSD. I was physically ill from the med changes, the stress and the grief. I could barely walk across a room without feeling like the world was tipping. I couldn’t look at a puppy, a child or even a flower without becoming an emotional wreck. I became dissociative as I muddled through each day.

Two weeks have passed and I’d like to report that I’m back on track and thriving. But I’ll be honest and say that each day that passes without tears or rage is a tiny triumph.  I’m processing the grief as if I lost my entire family in some tragic accident. By choosing to think of their betrayal differently, I have the power to move past it.

In this dangerous and hateful world, I am fortunate to have a loving and supportive partner and a home which is our safe haven, our slice of paradise. Our love is more than enough to sustain me. I’m reminded every day that although I was always alone in my big, loud Italian family, I’m never isolated or abandoned in my family of two. My partner holds me when I fall apart, listens as I tearfully release the pain, and shelters me from the harshness of life. That’s unconditional love.

I’ve turned a page. It’s wishful thinking to say I’ll never dwell on the past again, but the next stage of healing and LIVING has begun. BRING IT ON!

Lily Bell

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