This morning followed a rough night for Ty and Kayla. Ty cancelled her 10 o’clock appointment and slept in until almost noon. Kayla called in sick and slept in also. We have been pushing hard and we’re all just out of gas. I take my 4.5 mile walk, but when I get back I’m just a zombie. I manage to slowly work down the mountain of paper on my desk, but I have never in my life felt so exhausted in the morning. This morning person is spent before 10 o’clock AM.
A friend calls. He wants to meet for coffee. I tell him I just can’t today. I am not the Brian he has known all these years. Today I am sad Brian, angry Brian, tired Brian, no patience to be polite Brian, no time to talk about trivial things or first world problems Brian. I just need to sit here and plow through this stuff and take care of my girls. Normally, if someone calls me up and asks me to do something, I just do it. Not today. I don’t feel like it and I’m not going to do it.
I get through the morning and it’s time for my counseling session. Today I’m seeing a professional counselor to make sure I am on the right track, my expectations are reasonable and to see if he has any suggestions to offer. I know there is no magic pill, there are no shortcuts, but I am going to utilize every resource available to me. The session goes well. We talk for almost an hour and a half. He mostly nods, interjecting every once in a while. I give him the backstory, where we are in our dealing with it and my concerns for myself, for Ty and for Kayla. It’s almost disappointing, but also reassuring when he tells me he thinks I am on the right path, that my expectations are reasonable and that there is nothing more I can be doing. Good to know I’m doing the “right” things, wishing there were something more because I still feel like crap. We discuss medication which my doctor and several people have suggested. We agree that medication is useful for if/when the pain becomes unbearable. I tell him it’s unbearable at times, but not for a whole day at a time. I’ve also learned no matter how sad you are, you can only cry so much. So, when the pain overwhelms me I stop what I’m doing, cry, get it out. Then, it’s back to it.
I tell him I think I’m still in shock, still grasping what has truly happened and that maybe is why I haven’t bottomed out yet. He asks me what the bottom will feel like. I don’t know. I’ve never been there. I just know I’m lower now than I was last week, so I can safely say last week wasn’t the bottom. Maybe this week is. I’ll only know once i push off and start to resurface. We schedule another appointment for two weeks. No point in meeting next week.
On the way home I pass White Castle. This is the first White Castle the girls ever went to. Ty was out of town and I decided to treat them to something they had never had. This is a happy story we reminisced about many times over the years. Shayna was 5. Kayla was 8. When we got out the car, they exclaimed “It’s a castle. It’s a big white castle.” I had been so jaded over the years I forgot the building actually looked like a castle. When we got the burgers, Shayna was so excited “I love these. They are just my size!” she said. I got 15 sliders because back in the day I ate 10. I figured the girls would split 5-7 and I’d get the rest. Nope. Each of the girls ate 5. Shayna was miserable. So, as I passed the White Castle, I smiled. “Ah, good times!” But, right next to the White Castle is a Taco Bell. Ty refuses to eat there. Kayla doesn’t really like it. So, Taco Bell was the place I would take Shayna as our little get away when it was just the two of us. She loved the drinks and the stupid Dorito flavored tacos. I just lost it. The memory was too fresh. That was our place now. We went there not that long ago. I cried all the way home. I’d never take her there again.
A friend calls on the way back home. We connect and we talk for about half an hour. He wants to schedule time to get together again next week.
Another good friend was coming back to Ohio for a family visit. Kevin flew his family into Cleveland, but he flew into Dayton just to see me. Kevin has been my rock during the course of this. He checks in with me every single day, often multiple times a day. I haven’t seen Kevin in person in years, but he is closer than a brother to me. Kevin patiently listened to me dump all of my troubles on him for 8 hours. We just talked, went to dinner, then came back and talked some more. No music on, no TV. Just two glasses of bourbon and straight talk between two good friends. This is better than any counseling I could pay for.
For dinner we went to a restaurant I had never been to before. Shayna had never been there. It’s a new Mexican place, styled after Chipotle, but locally owned. They had carne asada (pork). I flashed back to Shayna at Chipotle recently because they don’t have pork in most of them now and pork was her favorite. So, the triggers come from anywhere. Here is a place neither of us had ever been yet my mind found a way to tie it to Shayna.
After my intense session with Kevin, we call it a night. As I rise the next day I realize i had about 10 hours of total therapy yesterday. I don’t have to go to through the checklist of reminding myself that Shayna really isn’t here. I didn’t yesterday. Yesterday I skipped it because I felt I needed to live in denial in a while while Kayla and Ty were taking their easy day. Today it just wasn’t necessary. I knew as soon as I woke up. Maybe the reality is settling in. Maybe all that talking did some good.
I did my usual tears. I yelled at God for taking the wrong one. If the Grim Reaper was going to visit our house that night, he went down the wrong hallway. He should have taken me. I’m pissed. I moan and cry some more. I make it out of bed and downstairs to make breakfast. I decided to make waffles. My friend deserves a treat. But, waffles make me think about Shayna. Everything makes me think about Shayna. We have breakfast. Kevin and I embrace. i don’t want to let him go. I tell him I love him and he drives off to be with his family. Ty and I face a Saturday on our own.