Collateral Damage

Warning: The following is not pretty, and contains strong language. Those with weak constitutions or a penchant for judgment might want to go outside and play instead.

As Sidalee’s mama said, I dropped my basket last night. Going on seventeen months of joblessness, like an overstretched rubber band, I snapped. As with most things dropped, it wasn’t pretty. There are shards of my self-respect and pride still scattered about, and I tiptoe around, carefully placing my feet as I look for splinters worth salvaging.

There was yelling. And crying. And lots of tears. And a lamp that might never work right again, since lamps aren’t really meant to be used for batting practice. It was a full-on fit. I’m glad my children were not awake to see mama lose her shit.

The odd thing is, there was really nothing in particular that caused me to break. It just… happened. After the kids were all bathed, jammied and tucked in, I fell into a heap on the bed, and I must have dozed off for a bit. David came in, and not realizing I was asleep, turned on the light and began to go through the mail. That was it. That was my scene of domestic terror. Bad, huh? Yup. The light was on. And evidently that light was a red matador’s cape to my sleep-addled and stressed-out brain.

I started crying and picked up the lamp and threw it at the wall. To turn it off. Go big or go home, isn’t that what the hip kids say?

My poor husband had no idea why his usually somewhat normal wife was suddenly throwing things and crying like a banshee. Honestly, neither did I, but I was suddenly filled, absolutely filled  with anger, rage, sadness and fear. Like a firehose with the nozzle wide open, I couldn’t stop it, and it all just exploded.

My fears and frustrations roared out amid torrents of tears. What if this is the new normal? What if one of us gets sick, and we have no insurance? What if David never finds a job? What if I have to put my children in day-care and get a paying job myself? What will happen with Beanie’s therapy if that happens? What are we going to do now that our savings is completely, utterly gone? What can we sell? I am SO mad at you! How will we pay the mortgage in May? What else can we cut out? I am SO angry! What if I can’t hold all this together anymore? What if this hell never ends? What if I run away? What if we lose our home? What if… what if… what if…

Messy, powerful stuff, those emotions.

David and I spent the rest of the evening sorting through the emotional wreckage. Tears like that leave you spent and exhausted, tender and raw. Eventually I fell into a deep, dreamless sleep.

Today, I am spent. My eyes are swollen and my face is pale and tired. I hugged the kids tightly, kissed their fat pink cheeks and sent them on to their happy school days. David and I, both shell-shocked, are giving each other a lot of latitude and room today. The house is quiet, and except for a night-table lamp that may or may not work again, there is little visible collateral damage.

So, we pick up the pieces and carry on. Another day… and another and another… and someday, one way or another, this will all be over. I just wish I could tell if the light at the end of the tunnel is sunshine or an oncoming train.

21 thoughts on “Collateral Damage

  1. I don’t exactly know how, but somehow in situations like this, like you said, you just carry on. Tracy, my heart and soul ache for you and your family. I wish I had a way to make it all end. Alas, all I can offer are (((hugs))) which aren’t even as good as the real life ones I’d give you if I could. I’m so sorry.

  2. You may not know this, but I still read you every day. And every time I see a new blog post, I pray in my heart that is one filled with joy that there’s a job! There’s money! There’s hope! And every time there’s not I cry with you.

    I’m glad you and David have the kind of relationshp where you can throw lamps and it sparks intense and emotional conversation. I think that right there says you’re gonna make it through all of this…and here’s hoping and praying it’s sunshine and not a train!

  3. For the first few years of Mike’s life with us, J worked days and I worked swing shift. No daycare, just two different schedules working together. My job required weekend work, so I would usually have one day off during the week and J’s job was weekdays only so he was home during that time. It wasn’t perfect, but life isn’t either, and it worked.

    You are one of my best friends and I love you to death and to see you in this pain makes my heart hurt, but I think you should take a good hard look at that light because the tunnel that you see is just in your vision. It is the one thing you are focusing on rather than looking at the bigger picture. You may have to get a job at Walmart for a couple of years to pull you and your family through, but you will pull through. God has given you every capability to do this and the amount of people you have next to you rooting you on is solid!

    You have written about trust in David. You have written about trust in Bean’s teachers. You have written about trust in God and the Church. Where is the post writing about the trust you have in yourself? If the hundreds of people who read your blog daily have trust in you, don’t you think you could give it a try too?

    Just to reiterate, I love you!!

  4. I’m glad you told us about dropping your basket. I love that you know Sidalee and her mama, I know them too 🙂

    Am I of no help at all if I say I don’t know? I know people are more imporant than things and that God will make the stuff for people to keep going. Good thoughts coming from all the way across the country for you.

    As for that lamp- it can go to hell.

  5. Here are some words you might not expect: Good. It’s about time. Have you ever had a kid insist on doing something themselves, and you KNOW they can’t do it, but you just sit back and watch them try as hard as they can? Then, when they finally lose it, you step-in and help them. Not do it FOR them, but help them. Would they have learned how to do it completely if you’d have stepped-in earlier? Would they have been willing to listen and take your advice? Chances are, no. It’s been my experience that that’s the way our Heavenly Father works sometimes. He’s pleased we’re trying to make it on our own, and knows full well we can’t, but He lets us try anyway. We go about our attempt, telling people “I’m fine, I can handle this.” But when we finally reach our breaking point and have learned all we need to or can possibly learn from a situation, then turn to Him, he can step-in like a loving parent and show us how. Sometimes, the falling apart, the humility, finally letting go of our pride – is what we were supposed to learn in the first place.

    When we stare down our fears and come to accept the possibility that they may become a reality, we can then (and only then) conquer them and move forward. Matthew 16:25. My prediction: big things are on the horizon for you guys.

  6. I don’t know what to say Tracy, but I can’t not say anything either.
    I expect 2Xaday is on to something with her comment on the light fixation…. but I’m glad she said it and not me.
    It’s hard to gauge when I’m not in your real-life-ness.

  7. Tracy, I owe you an apology. I had an impression last night to share something with you, but I ignored it and dropped the ball. I am doing so now, and I hope it will help somehow.

    In the October 2006 General Conference, Elder Wirthlin said the following in his talk:

    “Each of us will have our own Fridays–those days when the universe itself seems shattered and the shards of our world lie littered about us in pieces. We all will experience those broken times when it seems we can never be put together again. We will all have our Fridays.

    “But I testify to you in the name of the One who conquered death–Sunday will come. In the darkness of our sorrow, Sunday will come.

    “No matter our desperation, no matter our grief, Sunday will come. In this life or in the next, Sunday will come.”

    Joseph B. Wirthlin, “Sunday Will Come,” Ensign, Nov. 2006, page 30

    The link to the video is on my blog at the end of this morning’s post, if you want to watch the entire thing.

    God bless you, m’lady.

  8. Frankly, I’m impressed you only broke one lamp. If it had been me, I probably would have chucked three or four. And I probably would have done it months ago.

    I hope it felt good when it shattered. Wait, did it actually shatter? Or did it just give you an unsatisfying ‘thunk’?

  9. I’ve had similar breakdowns. The aftermath was hard with the guilt and all that crud that had to be dealt with since it was out in the open. Healing comes though, sometimes sooner because the wound got lanced. Wish I had something to say to make it all better. Sending my love and prayers.

  10. Nothing wrong with a breakdown…I think they are healthy…you can’t keep all that crap inside or your will REALLY breakdown and not be able to get back up.

    Big hugs for your and your family.

  11. “shards of my self-respect and pride still scattered about” That’s how I feel too when Mom loses her shit. Sounds like it all needed to come out and was just waiting for the moment when you’d let it. I’m so sorry for what you’re going through.

  12. You go, girl. Let ‘er rip!

    We all face these moments. After throwing our own versions of a lamp, the shock and relief of such definitive action punch a lot of holes in our carefully constructed facades. No matter how strong, resilient, and independent one is – there is always a breaking point. It is often the result of little things – the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back.

    DH and I have had our own times of sorting through this type of emotional wreckage. It releases a lot of pent-up rage and helplessness. What we have discovered is that clearing the air and talking through these issues actually brings us closer, though it is painful at the time. We know we can be at our worst and let it all out – and we will still be there for each other. Facing challenges together, and talking through the emotional fall-out, has ended up uniting us in ways that nothing else ever has.

    It takes a LOT of love and trust to let go like this and talk through these painful feelings and issues. You and David have weathered a lot of storms. Though it is excruciating, you will eventually make it through this one, as well.

    Praying for sunshine for you both!

  13. I’ve been reading your blog for a while, but this is the first time I’ve commented. I just wanted you to know that another person “out there” is rooting for you. Sometimes a good cry (or freak out) is what we need to just get it all out before we can keep going. I’m wishing good things your way.

  14. Thank you all for your kind words and for not deserting me for using choice words. Sometimes shit is just the only word that works. 😉

    Janell, thanks for de-lurking. I love hearing from new people. I know there must be a lot of you out there, and it’s nice to have a name to go with a random number. I appreciate your words.

    Cheryl, I had no idea you were still around here. Glad to see you.

    There are so many blogs I still read regularly, but with rss feed, I don’t comment nearly as often as I should.

    Again, thank you all for your love and prayers and support. It means a tremendous amount to me. It really, really does.

  15. “There are so many blogs I still read regularly, but with rss feed, I don’t comment nearly as often as I should.”

    Exactly. That’s why it looks like I’ve been gone. 🙂

  16. Tracy I have been reading here for a while and love your blog. It is amazing how despite having never met you, I still feel my heart break for you and weep as I would with my closest friends. So much good has been said. I have broken my fair share of lamps, most over far less than what you have been through. Somehow, despite how painful and embarrassing it is, it is so cleansing and healing too. I really do pray for that sunshine for you, or at least that you are able to somehow make your own sunshine, even if it continues to rain cats and dogs on you!!!

  17. We don’t have medical insurance right now, and we just got a $10,000 hospital bill for something my daughter had to be treated for. We have no more savings, my husband just got a pay cut and may not have a job in a month, etc, etc. It doesn’t phase me anymore, we’ve been through it all before and worse. You do what you have to do and it works out eventually. But sometimes lamps have to get broken in the process. 🙂

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