January 19, 2015

Life Sucks.
And I'm Glad

For the first ten minutes after realizing that my car was not going to start last Friday night, I was eerily calm.

You see, my grandfather is dying. The doctors tell us that he doesn't have a lot of time left so I have been going home to Baltimore more often on the weekends to spend as much time with him as I still can.

And vital to that operation is having a car that, you know, does car things.

So after my slight breakdown over a change in the wind last Wednesday, you would have thought that sitting in a completely unresponsive car with a packed duffel bag on Friday night would have sent me into a full-fledged meltdown. My calmness as I got back out of the car and called my mom to tell her not to expect me would have seemed much too emotionally mature to be true.

And you would have been right.

I was fine as I hung up the phone, walked back up to my apartment, and sat down on my couch. I was even fine when I called Derrick, whom I had told I would call when I was on the highway. I was completely, stoically put together as I explained my situation, right up until he asked, "So what's your plan?"

And then things went from 0 to 60 pretty quickly. I didn't go through the whole progression of breaking voice, teary eyes, quiet sniffles, then a sob; I just went straight to explosive sob.

I didn't know what my plan was because I hadn't been planning on this. I hadn't planned on watching my grandfather die slowly but yet so painfully fast. I hadn't planned on being five years into an indefinite long distance relationship. And I certainly hadn't planned on my car refusing to start that evening.

After a few minutes of Derrick talking me back into a functional adult again, I decided to forget about the car for the night. I called my friend and we had crepes for dinner instead.

The next afternoon, after a six hour spectacle that finally resulted in my car being at the mechanic's, I decided to go for a run. Which, if you're a runner yourself, is a phrase people can use interchangably with "I decided to go see my shrink."

After about an hour with my eight-mile therapist, I felt a lot better. And it wasn't just the endorphins; the run, as they so often do, made a few things more clear to me.

Specifically, that as much as situations like this frankly, well, suck... they are also things I should not regret. The fact that the past nine months living away from Derrick, nine months that saw the lowest lows of our relationship, have been so hard means that I have opened myself up to someone enough that I've risked the overwhelming pain of heartbreak. These nine months mean that if we don't make it, it won't be because we didn't try. And the fact that my grandfather dying is so painful to me means that I have felt the type of love from him my entire life that makes me understand the enormity of what will soon be lost.

These things make life a lot more messy and painful (and, if you're me, a lot more soggy), but they're the price you pay for knowing love. And as much as it sucks, I'd pick risking this inevitable pain over never knowing this type of love every single time.

Unfortunately, this is real life and not a Hallmark movie, so I'm probably still going to lose it the next time the metro breaks down on my way to work. A girl doesn't just turn into a level 15 peace Power Ranger overnight, you know?

But I am going to try to remember what Dr. Eight-Miler told me over the next few weeks as best I can. Because life sucks sometimes but I've gotta believe that's part of what makes it so damn beautiful.