I’ll start by saying I don’t know how to take care of myself. Mentally and physically I’ve been a wreck for a few
solid years. It’s taken a toll on me that I did not realize until I felt it was too late. I’m not to the point of self harm but I was there at one point in my life that I’ve never shared. What I will tell you today is a bit of an origin story. This story I’ve never shared publicly in full detail. Only 3 people have heard details that I’ve kept secret until now. It’s a story I’ve needed to tell but never been brave enough to.
I grew up different. I was adopted at the age of two by an elderly couple who allowed me to be raised by their son who had a young family as his own. I was in foster care with this family since I was two months old so it was all I’d ever known. The man I called Dad was by law my brother and the woman I called mom was my sister in law. I know it’s confusing so I’ll stop there. Long story short, they got divorced and I moved in with my legal guardians which I called my grandparents at which point I was told I was adopted and this is how things were. Fast forward about 6 years and my grandma was terminally ill. This was the woman that had over 300 foster children in her home over her life time and chose to adopt me. You could say she is a special person. News of this broke my heart like I could have never imagined.
At the time I didn’t realize that I was helping people. I just did what I felt needed to be done. I stayed up with my grandma and talked about life and death and everything in between. We talked about why my dad had moved away and wouldn’t come back to see her on her death bed. About what she was going to say to her younger brother that passed before she did when she saw him again. We talked about me and what I was going to do with my life. A 19 year old kid talking about the death of the woman who loved him the most with her while she was dying. It’s moments and memories I will carry with me forever. For better or worse.
Upon her death I was lost. I couldn’t possibly begin to process what I was feeling. It felt like I was feeling the weight of the world and I felt nothing at all. I was sad but crying didn’t help. All I could feel is this unbelievable emptiness inside that I didn’t know could exist. I could still feel the cold crisp air of the morning she passed on my skin. I couldn’t get the image of her being put in the hearse out of my head. It was at that point I decided I couldn’t live like this. A sobbing mess, I picked up the shotgun my grandpa gave to me on my birthday and put it under my chin. I sat on my floor with the hammer cocked and my finger on the trigger, praying I had the strength to pull the trigger. It felt as though I was pulling the trigger but nothing happened. After a few seconds I put the gun down and I cried. I cried and I cried like I never had before. It didn’t feel like I was crying tears, it felt like pain leaving my body. It was the closest thing to a religious experience I’ve ever had.
I tell you this story because I know what it’s like to feel broken. I know what it’s like to feel hopeless. I know what it’s like to feel like there isn’t one person on this earth that could ever love you again. So when I reach out to someone, I reach to save. I don’t want to just tell you nice things I want to put you on my back and carry you out of that sadness because I know what it’s like to be there. I don’t want to help brighten your day I want to hoist you up on my shoulders and hand you a pair of sunglasses because your life is so bright. I want to carry the torch to warm the hearts that never got to feel my grandmas. I know these are not realistic expectations and I pay the price for them. I get so invested that before I know it their problems are now mine and I have to solve both of our problems. Time and time again I’m hurt by doing this but I don’t know how to stop it. And I don’t know that I ever will.