Thursday, December 24, 2015

Holidays Gone Bad

"Searching....." - 5" x 5" mixed media on paper - $65 mounted in 10" x 8" mat
For many, the Holidays are filled with traditions, happy times and lots of cheer.  Spending time with friends and family make these weeks a memorable season for young and old alike.

However, for countless others, the Holidays are a dreaded time of year, filled with loneliness, misgivings and dark thoughts.  Some people attribute these emotions to SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), blaming the condition on shorter days and winter weather conditions.  But sometimes it's just the way someone is wired or ones memories of past events that cause these people to wish for a fast-forward button through the Holiday season. Sometimes life as we know it just got an atomic bomb dropped on top of it and the world we've been living in is going to change forever. 

And then again, sometimes it's because someone receives some really shitty news that blows their mind beyond imagination.

Last week, two of my friends were hit with gut-wrenching, life-changing, devastating news.  One friend was diagnosed with inoperable Stage IV cancer and given 12-18 months to live. My other friend was told she has a very rare and deadly blood disease and is at the Mayo Clinic right now trying to figure out what treatment options she has, if any. 

Bloody F-ing Hell.  Obviously, both of my friends are completely and thoroughly gutted at the news and their families, friends and my Self are numb.  What does a person say when this something like this happens?  I'm simply at a loss for words.  And for someone who used to write a weekly newspaper column for 12 years, I think it's just wrong that I just can't come up with the words to express my sorrow and pain for my friends; for their families and loved ones; for me; and for each and everyone affected by this horrendous news. 

I stopped writing professionally in 2000 and have struggled with my written words since then.  I never used to have a problem penning a quick missive about my thoughts, feelings or emotions, and was always succinct even though sometimes verbose.  People counted on me to write the "right thing" no matter what the occasion. 

But something shifted for me after 2000.  I can't put my finger on what or where or why, but the words no longer flow.  It's as if my Muse has left the building and been replaced with another Muse who creates visually vs. through the written word. 

So I'm stuck being a visual,  "bottom-line" type of gal.  It's how I've survived these past 15 years and it has given me a reputation for being blunt and sometimes uncaring.  It's like someone gave me an injection of truth serum and it's one of those 24/7/365 types of drugs.  I'm sure some people would pay big bucks for this "condition" but I am kind of embarrassed by it.  I developed a potty mouth.  I continually drop the "F" bomb instead of "using my words."  And I've paid a big price for being this way, and I'm not proud of it. 

So two weeks ago when I heard about my first friend (a beyond beautiful woman inside and out), I cried.  And I swore.  I hadn't cried in years, but this really hit me.  I swore even more and used the "F" word with so many phrases I blew the alliteration record off the charts.

Without getting too specific, here's the scoop on my one friend:  she's not even 50 - has a 6-year old son and a 27-year old daughter and a wonderful husband.  She's beautiful and she's smart and she's truly good - not catty or mean or hateful but kind, generous and caring.  How can something like cancer even get to her? 

And my other friend?  Another beautiful, compassionate Soul who counsels and helps other people day in and day out.  She has a wonderful family; lovely grandchildren and a quiet, Zen-like life. For awhile, she had been having some problems with her feet, and then nearly 1.5 years later, she finds out the cause is a very rare and possibly deadly blood disease?  Mon Dieu - the questions that must be running through her mind.....

So many questions, and so few answers.  Lots of questions and tons of waiting.  The waiting is what kills you......I know we all know people in this situation and I'm not whining or looking for sympathy.  I am however, asking the questions I think each and every single one of us ask when we hear this type of news, whether it be directed towards another family member; friend or even ourselves.....and those questions include:

WHAT?
WHERE?
WHO?
HOW?
WHEN? 
WHY?


I know a lot of people whose lives were derailed these past two weeks and it makes me emotional just thinking about it.  And this time instead of swearing, I think I just need to start saying lots of prayers and remain positive and upbeat, knowing life has a way of sometimes kicking our asses and making us stand up to pay attention. 

And trust me - I'm fully aware.  Sorry for the downer post - all of the social media posts are sharing adorable "Merry Christmas" photos and sentiments, but all I can think right  now is "Wow.  Merry F...ing Christmas."  I'm just not feeling it and quite frankly, it is what is is.

So instead, I'm painting.  And the painting above is what I made while thinking about this beyond crappy situation.  The words are there - and so is the house floating down the river......  It shows someone's world being dropped on its side and floating downstream.....and I'm praying with all my strength and might that the house(s) float downstream; right themselves (heal) and live a long and happy life ever after. 

Still - I want to wish each and every one of you a Happy Holiday and if you're experiencing anything like this, just know my heart aches for you too and my prayers and thoughts will be with you and your families.

Cheers,
JJ