Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Chasm of Distance

Many people would have the right at this moment in time to tell us, "I told you so."

There were people who thought we were basically running away from home when we came here.  Even some people who supported the move basically thought we were running away from our problems and cautioned that one always carries one's problems along with them.  But, for me, with Greg and Marissa both on board to moving, the pets currently all sleeping peacefully around me, and my favorite teams just a short drive away (even though one isn't playing and the other isn't playing well), there wasn't much risk other than financially, but even that worked out in the long run.  For Greg and Marissa there was a lot more at risk.  Marissa left a serious relationship behind, and it couldn't survive the distance.  While I came toward family, Greg left his behind.  So did Marissa.  She barely knew Mother's side of the family.  She doesn't know Dad's at all, so essentially she left everything and everyone she knew too.  It was inevitable that something would eventually happen that would test the decision to leave people who they are so closely bonded in both love and blood behind.  Therefore, when the call came Monday morning that Greg's brother had fallen, hit his head, gashed it, been knocked unconscious and was being admitted to ICU with concerns about bleeding in the brain, the borrowed time I think we all knew we were living on just came due.

I honestly don't know just a whole lot of details about the situation really - but he is now out of the ICU, but still in the hospital.  What I do know is what I see:  Greg's very torn that he is so far away.  He wants to be there to support his brother.  I assume he's out of danger or they wouldn't have moved him, but the fact that almost a week later he's still there at all in today's medical climate tells you something about the seriousness of the situation.  Greg, to the best of my knowledge, has not been able to talk to him.  To make matters more complicated, Greg doesn't have a traditional job where he can take some vacation days and run down to Texas.  Since he's a contractor, if he leaves, he loses his position.  He knew that when he took it, but he likes it because it entails limited interaction with others, and he doesn't seem ready to re-enter the regular workplace.  I am guessing, but I believe that he doesn't want to answer the inevitable "getting to know you" questions:  so, are you married?  How many kids do you have?  I think that's the thing he likes the most about being here actually, we don't know anyone, so he can avoid those uncomfortable conversations.  As political as he is, I tried to get him to do some volunteer work for the Presidential campaign.  At least to host a debate watching party (the campaign provides some material for it and does the inviting - it would be a good way to meet like-minded people), but his argument was logical - our house is too small - but the truth is, he's just not quite ready for all of that.  But, now, here we are:  between a rock and a hard place with the holidays fast approaching and gifts left to buy.  If he just goes ahead and leaves, we're in some serious hot water.

But, really, this isn't about us as much as this is my way of exploring an aspect of our path to recovering from grief that I hadn't talked about before, which is that distance solves some problems and creates some others.  And these are the things that anyone else who reads about our journey needs to take into account.  I think the rationalization is that in a world of high technology and social media, it is easy to keep in touch.  And we have proved that is true pretty much.  Greg was engaging in quite the text conversation with his best friend back in Texas all during the UT game last night.  Granted, for our generation anyway, it's not the same as spending face time with someone, but it does keep us in real time communication and bridge the miles to an extent.  Until something critical happens:  a birth or a wedding on the one side of the coin.  An illness or a death on the other.  You get some advance notice with a baby or a wedding.  Not so much the other.  These are things you have to think about when you take a giant leap like we did.  You have to understand that because you have endured one tragedy, you are not immune to anymore.  As a matter of fact, you now know that life is not a fairy tale and it's very likely that bad things will continue to happen.

On the other hand, I'm not sure any of us would have cared - or did care - at the time we decided to move.  We had a house whose whole upstairs was basically a storage area for us because we couldn't bear to go up there.  We were completely haunted by whole sections of the city where our daughter had been during her life.  The escape the ghosts, we had to run from family and friends.

I am not sure, sitting here at the moment, that I know the answers these tough questions.  For me, this was the right move.  Absolutely.  But, there was a very real and very deep cost to it that has nothing to do with dollars and cents.  I know that too.  Because Greg and his brother are paying for it right now.

Get well soon Randy.

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