When I hear people’s stories, I think more often than not, our worst nightmare is a level of despair that will make all of our existence seem utterly meaningless. As Ms. Gilbert once put, when we come to the end of ourselves, we can begin anew. The sobering truth I’ve heard over and over again, is that a cliff like that does not always bode well. What if the end of ourselves makes us feel like, this is the end?
My worst nightmare not quite like that. In my heart, it is a vision of everyone I have ever loved taking themselves away from me, leaving me, by choice. The end of myself is a reality where my love, and my spirit, has made no difference. It is a scary future, and one that needs little encouragement. Between the severity of our traumas, the chaos of our mental and physical realities, and our addiction to spotlighting the lowest of our human potential, we are often consumed by nightmares rather than dreams.
I am a deeply hopeful individual. In my most natural state, I am practically puppy-like. It’s as annoying and adorable as it sounds. That said, it can take about 30 seconds after waking up to be knocked out of that state. But I have decided a while ago, that it is better to face my shadow, than to pretend it doesn’t exist.
I have thought long and hard about this. I have my thoughts about a person’s agency and freewill, particularly when healthcare and healing feels so battered and self-serving in this world. In the end, I am not you. I would be there for you, show you how meaningful you are to my world, but I know I have not walked in your shoes.
Instead, I have come to this. I will hold onto my reasons for why you should hang on for the both of us. But if you decide to leave me, tell me why I should stay. Maybe you have thought of it already, and I just don’t know. Give that to me and I promise to use it to do good work, and love more deeply. It does seem like a selfish ask, to say, you have been through so much, now go beyond yourself. It might not even matter whether I stay or go. That is okay! But, if you want to cheer me on, give this to me before you ask we part ways. That gives me hope and oxygen to believe our time together, was not an accident.
Last year, I was angry and overwhelmed. I experienced suicidal ideation for the first time in my life. They came at pivotal and deeply vulnerable moments of uncertainty. Through counseling and self-care, I reckoned with the origin of those moments, even if some were beyond my control. In my darkest moments, I thought of you for reassurance and replenishment.
There is another path out there somewhere, which is for us all to try being with each other for another day, and another, and another. I can try that too. But I will not forget you either way. I can handle it. I will end with this. Even now, I can tell you one reason why your life means something. It has made me a better person. Thank you.