Life After (Almost) Death: A Coping Story



There’s been much lamentation of how awful 2016 has been for so many people. The year was swollen with loss, pain and disappointment. Of course, for some, we know it was just as any other year. For me, I entered this year with tremendous hope, tenacity and excitement. Unfortunately, that was all very short-lived. I absolutely did not expect perfection for this year, but I did enter in to it with the intention of taking it by the reigns.

Little did I know I’d be completely knocked off the horse, or nearly knocked out of this world.

Earlier this year I had a medical issue which put my life at risk; and although I was saved, I’ve been put in a position to attempt to rescue myself from dying in other ways. See, I learned a lot of ugly things about life after this experience and it resulted in many questions and doubts about everything I’d thought I knew. I was blindsided by my own ignorance to the true nature of my life. Everything I’d let slide or continue when I should not have, all came to ahead and I paid the price.

Then my heart broke.

I learned, if I did not know already, just who was truly in my corner and to whom I really mattered and whom not. I’d endured the pain of the transient nature of others who would abandon me in my darkest hour. All of this illuminated the sometime-y interaction of others solely based on their need of me, on their terms. I’d be lying if I said that didn’t hurt and I’d be disingenuous if I didn’t admit disappointment in myself for not realizing it sooner. Or, that I am at fault for having expectations from others that I should not have; just by virtue of they’re not showing their agreement to any expectations I could potentially have of them at all.

Maybe I am just foolish for never even considering that is how things really work?

When I became a mature adult, I’d learned to compartmentalize others based on what I knew I could expect from them. But even in that, I knew that there were just instances where that should not have even been necessary given the scope of the circumstances. I could not have been any more wrong.

Now comes the part where I try to re-establish and figure out all that I thought I knew. Between flashes of immense bouts of sadness and moments of seemingly unwarranted excitement, I navigate. This all requires a full re-examination of my life, where it may be headed, and the actors in it. It’s a daunting process of which I sway from active participation to outright denial. My process of reconciling this I find to be dubious and severely daunting. I have a hard time trusting it because, clearly, I’ve done a poor job at doing so in the past.

So, I’m taking a step back.

This means approaching a place where the small things are what line the path to happiness and joy. I take solace in my tea in the morning, a favorite song that comes on at the right time, a stress-free commute and a cute baby picture. This is where I’m at and what I will be relying on until I come to a place where I can release the anxiety I’ve developed in response to this experience and how I relate to others.

Then, there’s hope. Which I know is not a strategy, but sometimes it is all there is left and the only way to not give up on what you know to be right, true and the way things should ultimately be.

The acquisition of hopeful feelings can come from within or can be catalyzed through the actions of others. From others who truly care about you whether you knew it or not. From those who are in your corner, want to know that you are OK, and mean it. People who don’t believe you when you say you are OK, so they personally make sure. Those who continuously work to convince you that this is not the end all be all and that this, too, shall pass. They who value you and show it through the most endearing and practical ways, because it comes from the heart.

And from their hearts to mine, there’s healing.


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