Of Great Value

You know when you realize how important something is to you right? When you lose it.

You may think you know, you may believe that you understand and respect the importance of a thing but it’s my belief that it’s a failing of human culture to take things for granted until you no longer have that luxury.

I lost my best friend. In fact a lot of spectacularly shitty things have occurred since I wrote anything last. For fear of a negative diatribe that would be splattered all over social media I just restrained myself from venting. I mean hey, a few bitter status updates may have slipped out as I’m only human. But now I write because I lost my best friend.

So like I was saying, I could have gone on for hours before this happened about how I realized how important he was, how special I knew he was, but until today when he was 100% completely gone I had no clue that he possessed such a large piece of my heart. And that I would be so lost without him.

I’ve been through bad relationships, I’ve been through violence, I’ve been through hard work, poverty, and I’m raising kids which is it’s own special kind of hell and heaven mixed together. But I always had a best friend. That person I call at 2am. The person that can look at me and know that something is bothering me. The only one person in the world that can reach into my worst hysterical emotional panic attack and drag me back into my safe happy place. For god’s sake the man built my happy place.

Why did it end? It doesn’t really matter. Not my fault, not his fault. It just had to end and there was nothing I could do to change it.

I once went to a counselor after a very traumatizing break up. He drew a diagram of healthy relationship and unhealthy relationships. He drew two circles and in the first diagram he drew them side by side. He said, “Imagine the circles are you and your partner. This is a relationship where both people are so independent that they don’t need anything from one another, they exist as solitary creatures within a committed union. It requires very little communication, and this is unhealthy.”                                                                             He drew another two circles this time they intersected but almost so completely that they appeared to be one circle. ” This is a relationship were it is so dependant that you can not ascertain where one person ends and the other begins. There is almost no independence and tell me Shauna, what do you get if someone leaves this relationship?” He erased one circle. What remained was the other circle looking like a sliver of a moon. “One person is almost always left as a shell of who they used to be. They aren’t whole any longer and functionality is near impossible. They depended on their partner too much, to the point where they can’t function without them.”

As a person with deep-rooted abandonment issues, that overly dependent style was almost always the way my relationships look near the end. Even my friendships.

Image

 This is a healthy relationship. Where independence is maintained yet a balance of dependence is also rooted in the union.

 

Ok so you all know where this is leading right? I’m single with two kids and the only person in the entire world I had left is gone. You know the only option for me now right? I have to make friends with someone I really don’t like very much. Someone who is over emotional, clingy, blunt, insecure, a bad decision maker, desperate, a loner…. just an overall mess of a human being…..

Yep, that bitch.

How the hell am I supposed to make friends with someone I’ve lived with for 28 years and still can’t stand to be alone with?? Her only redeeming quality is she is the mother of my children…

SIGH

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Zack

Zack’s full name is Zachary Paul Williams. I met him in 2007 for the first time and he saved my life. Ever since then he’s been my personal hero. Zack lives on the street. If indeed he is still alive.

In 2007 I seemed to be at a fulfilling beautiful point in my life. Great career, great friends, was with a man I loved with a intense passion. But unbeknownst to me, I was in reality, still a fragile dark creature that was simply living in the sun for a moment. The man I loved left and I allowed everything to come crashing down. Looking back I can’t believe I had no fortitude to keep something…anything afloat but at the time I wasn’t strong enough alone to stop the threads of my life from fraying and unraveling.

So on an actual dark and stormy night I took off from my life and drove my car haphazardly down an empty highway, tears burning my eyes and streaming down my face. My mind racing I had no choices. My life was over and in my heart of hearts I felt abandoned for the last time. Drive off a cliff was the only thing that came to mind. I wasn’t thinking in words anymore, only in storyboards.

Drive off cliff. Pain ends. Heart won’t hurt so much.

But like anyone that can’t cope with an intense onslaught of emotions, I had fear first. Overwhelmed and hurting on a physical level, I pulled over at a closed gas station and fell on the ground sobbing. No solution, only pain.

Then Zack. A dirty homeless man on a bike looking for cans if I recall correctly. Much too emotional to be scared of this stranger in a terrible area of town, when he approached me I continued to sob uncontrollably.

“Are you ok?”

“No! My life is over.”

“What happened?”

“The man I love left me…he LEFT me… I can’t… I can’t….”

“I’m sorry to hear that. It’s not the end you know.”

“It is! He is the only one I had and now I have nothing and nobody. What am I going to do…”

“Get up every day.”

“I can’t! It hurts…you don’t understand!!!”

“I don’t? I beat an addiction, got a great job and had a wife and baby girl…. and I woke up one morning and they were gone. My wife took everything, and she took my daughter….. they had to lock me up I went insane it hurt so bad. I lost my job, I lost everything…. I’m using drugs again, my life is shit. Don’t tell me I don’t understand.”

Caught completely off guard.

“Sorry…”

“But you know what? I’m still here.”

“How are you… I mean didn’t you just wanna die?”

“Every single day”

“But then…”

“You just have to fake it until you make it.”

“What do you mean?”

“Wake up every day. Breathe in and out. Pretend you’re not in excruciating pain. Live a lie. And one day the pain will actually be less. It’s never going to go away. But it will get better. I promise.”

I can’t remember the rest of the conversation. Either that or it hurts too much to remember. This man who didn’t know me, who had NOTHING, gave me a chance at staying alive. I am fairly certain I was emotionally unstable enough to end my life that night. And his words, his completely sincere and compassionate nature….let me believe I had a chance. It was months, perhaps years until I healed from it, still hurts today, but he was right. It got better. And THAT night, he let me stay alive. Love him until the end of time. He’s a part of my soul and a part of my life for always. I wear his name in ink on my wrist along with the names of the most important people to touch my life. I defend his honor with the ferocity of a mother who has a threatened child.

I left that night with a spark of hope. Enough to sustain me until morning. Fake it til you make it.

I only saw Zack one more time after that…. but that dear friends is a story for another day.