Life in Possum Holler

Saline County, Arkansas, United States
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16 March 2004

What do you do?

What do you do. How do you keep your heart from beating out of your chest, the tears from raining down from your eyes, the pain thrusting again and again. Where do you go to escape it. In what place in your mind can you take refuge against the hurt and anguish. Think about something else. What? Where ever your mind wanders, it returns to the source of pain like an arrow to a target. You try to distract yourself, but you fail again and again. You try to carry on with your planned routine, but you find tears rolling down your cheeks as you try to concentrate on your tasks. How are you supposed to handle it. What do “normal” people do? What would you local mental health professional counsel? How do you keep your equilibrium so that you can deal with the painful issues. It’s not all about you; there are others involved. Others you care about and want to help. Others you want to be happy and content. Others you would do anything for. But sometimes they make choices and decisions that seem so wrong, so hurtful. Who are you weeping for—yourself or them. Maybe both. All of us. The whole world.

You’ve been here before and survived. That should be an uplifting thought but along with that thought comes the memories of wandering through the endless swamps of pain before. Remembering how much it will hurt before it eventually subsides. Memories of how much you’ll have to endure before a sliver of light breaks the horizon. Not minutes or hours or days or weeks or months, but years, eons.

I’ll swallow the lump and the tears. I’ll go take my shower and then check the next item on my to-do list for the day. I’ll carry on. I’ll keep going. I’ll remember there are always big chunks of happiness plopped down like hidden Easter eggs in the middle of all the vast pain of life. I’ll move through my life, one moment at a time, enduring, plodding, stumbling, trying. It’ll get better. It’ll get better. It’ll get better.

13 March 2004

The Tears Surprised Her

The tears surprised her. The surprise wasn’t that she was crying, it was that she felt them. It had been a lifetime ago, or so it felt, since anything had penetrated the numbness. Suddenly, another feeling—a stab of fear that the pain would engulf her again, waves and waves of unbearable pain, breaking against her body like physical waves from a wild stormy surf.

Convulsively she closed her eyes again and tried to will herself back to sleep, seeking the unconsciousness of the only altered state she could access. The blankets were comfortingly warm and she was still settled into the mold of the mattress her body had spent the night making. Just a few moments ago, she had lain clasped in the delicious grasp of sleep but now it fled, an elusive nirvana, lost to her for another endless stretch of time.