Friday, June 15, 2012

Why Doesn't the World Stop?

The first funeral I remember attending was for a baby. I was fourteen. It was my cousin's baby. I hadn't met the baby and wasn't close to this cousin. But that funeral has stuck with me.

Before the funeral started there was a family prayer in another room. I was there. I heard them pray for the parents and family. I heard them pray for the babysitter, who had found the baby in the crib. Not breathing. Crib death. And I remember the sound my cousin made when they closed the coffin. A tiny gasp escaped her. The sound of her heart breaking.

I cried throughout the funeral. Not because I would miss this baby; I probably wouldn't have seen her more than once or twice in her lifetime. I cried because of the overwhelming pain in the room. So many people. So devastated.

I'd missed school to attend the funeral. My mom offered to let me skip the rest of the day, but I had classes that I shouldn't miss. So I went back to school.

And I didn't understand.

Why was everyone walking around like there was nothing wrong? Did they not understand that a tragedy had occurred? It seemed so irreverent. How could they be so heartless? People giggling, are you kidding me? Nothing in the rest of the world had changed.

Why? Why didn't the world stop? Something so horrific had happened. A tiny, innocent child had died and no one cared. The world didn't care. It was difficult for me to process.

And later that day I noticed myself talking with friends and laughing. I felt horrible! How could I just move on? How could I feel better when my cousin was so terribly sad? What a horrible person I was.

Fast forward twenty years. My marriage is in shambles. My health is failing. I am in therapy, borderline suicidal. I am self-injuring and taking sedatives just to make it through each day. And my boss, who is one of my best friends and a therapist, keeps giving me more work. I am dying inside. My heart is breaking. I can barely get out of bed. He knows this. Why won't he give me a break? Doesn't he understand that I just want to rest? I just want to stop. I just want to not exist for a while.

Yes, he understands all of that. And he knows me. He knows that isn't healthy for me. He tells me that he knows he's giving me more and it's hard, but he worries that if he doesn't I will disconnect from the world. I will sink so far into a depression that I might not come out. He is doing this to help me. Because he loves me and worries about me. It's his way of trying to protect me.

That happened about seven years ago. It was the worst time of my life. But I got through it. The world kept spinning and I had to go on. My friend was right. There is power in continuing. I had time to heal, but I also had something to keep me connected to the world.  To keep me moving forward.

The world doesn't stop. Everything just keeps on going. And I have come to believe that's an incredible gift. It is unhealthy for us to just give up and quit. Take a break and take time to mourn, of course. I am not saying that's not important. But we must keep going or we die. Maybe not our bodies, but our hearts and souls.

If we stop at the point of the most intense pain then that is where we will live. We will be forever in a hell of our own making. We didn't chose the tragedy, but we choose whether or not to sit and stare at it for the rest of our lives. And if the world didn't keep going on around us, if we didn't still have obligations to meet and people to take care of, it would be too easy to just sit in our pain. Forever.

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Blogger Heather Jo said...

I had that feeling, when I lost my first little boy. I was angry. My life had always been filled with horrible things happening to me, and then God went and took my baby from me, and he had the audacity to allow others to continue their lives in ignorant bliss. It took me about a year to feel that I could, indeed, go on, but it was years before I could forgive my Heavenly Father, and trust that he knew what he was doing. Now, I'm struggling though repressed memories that are causing me horrendous pain. I blame mother's day for it. That stupid day always reminds me of my mother and that's when memories of her start to flood my conscious and unconscious mind. This year it came with horrible realization that my own mother knew what was going on in her house, and allowed me to be sacrificed for her own needs. I feel betrayed, hated, unwanted, and more anger. I have been having an awful time getting up in the morning, but do, because I have little ones who need me. Going to church is a chore, and most of the time I allow my family to skip sacrament because I don't want to be seen. I just want to go hide in the nursery with the sweet little ones entrusted to me, and mostly be left alone. I'm ready for therapy but scared at the same time, and also stuck in my inability to get up and get dressed, and just do things! Most of the time, I don't even remember what I've done all day, and more often than not, it's because I didn't do anything. I just sat and stared. Sorry about this long comment. I guess I just wanted you to know you aren't alone.

June 15, 2012 at 1:47 PM  
Blogger Rubye Jack said...

As you know, I've gone through my share of pain also trying to live through BPD. Somehow it has gotten so very much better for me. Where life used to be almost intolerable it is now quite tolerable and I'm even happy inside at times. I think what I want to say is that you are so right to not give up hope, to know that the world doesn't stop, and that things often do get better. I think a lot of relief comes with age if that is of any comfort. Regardless, you have been such a great comfort to me over the last year Robin. I want you to know that.

June 15, 2012 at 1:57 PM  
Blogger Mama Sadie Bell said...

Thank you so much for sharing this. What a great post! I think so many times when we experience tragedy we just want the world to stop. We get angry at others for going on. Thank you for a great post.

June 15, 2012 at 3:48 PM  
Anonymous AgingGal said...

Wow, Robin, great post. I haven't had much death in my life, though my middle sister did commit suicide over 10 years ago. That, plus a recent breakup, kept me from sleeping and eating and eventually led me to anti-depressants which saved me. Anti-depressants and being forced to work (since I was no longer financially taken care of by my partner). I had always thought this "double whammy" is what did me in -- the suicide plus the breakup. But, looking at it in the light you present, maybe the breakup forced me to stay among the living and therefore helped me heal from my sister's death. You got me to think; I like it!

June 15, 2012 at 5:38 PM  
Blogger Bonnie Atkinson said...

Reading your post made me think of that scene in The Burning Within (about the woman who survived a plane crash that left her with 3rd degree burns across 70% of her body) in which she is walking down the mountain. She's in horrible pain and her husband keeps walking ahead of her with only his hands burnt. She asks him why he has no compassion and he explains that every time he stops to commiserate with her, she sits down. They had to walk 5 miles. He couldn't carry her. So he couldn't sympathize with her until they reached their destination or she would have been stuck back there where nobody could help her. I read that at a time when nobody could help me. It energized me to keep walking until I was in a better place. Sometimes we just keep walking. Great post.

June 15, 2012 at 6:18 PM  
Blogger mom2kmjx2 said...

Depression Sucks. I have it and I am on something but there are days like today where I feel like my emotions are up and down. I hate it. I have just started reading your blog but I cried A funeral for a child it shouldn't happen. Our children shouldnt go before us.

June 15, 2012 at 8:45 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

We had a daughter that died from a genetic disorder and I suffered through terrible depression years later because of it. My kids kept me going...I wanted to just stay in bed and disappear! So glad you got through that tough time and you shared it. Others will find comfort!

June 16, 2012 at 6:00 AM  
Blogger Savvy Working Gal said...

I remember feeling like this. Walking outside in early morning numb and sleep deprived. Feeling the sunshine on my back and realizing yes the sun does still come up every morning. Life does go on.

Thanks for this beautiful heartfelt post.

June 16, 2012 at 7:07 AM  
Blogger Amarie said...

I find, sometimes, that I let my worries and fears prevent me from living life - things like going on a plane to take a vacation, long road trips, even public transportation - because I've become consumed by those fears. My best comfort is in knowing that whatever will be will be, and that a life lived in fear is not really a life at all.

Visiting via SITS. :)

June 16, 2012 at 7:12 AM  
Blogger Melissa said...

You make a very good point when you say: "We didn't chose the tragedy, but we choose whether or not to sit and stare at it for the rest of our lives." Something I have to remind myself over and over again is that I don't control what happens but I do have some control over my reaction to it! Thanks for sharing this part of you! (Stopping by from SITS)

June 16, 2012 at 7:17 AM  
Anonymous Mothering From Scratch said...

{Melinda} This is such a raw and honest post. Thank you for that. I'd admire you for pushing past the hurt and embracing life again. I have had some key moments in my life when I just wanted to give up. Quit. Wallow in my misery. Every time, God reminded me that with Him, there is always hope. And HE would give me the strength to start engaging in life again ... my feelings would follow.

I also visited your Faith blog. I couldn't comment on it because I can only comment on Blogger blogs using Name/URL. Not sure why. Anyway, loved your post about Spiritual Experiences ... Here's the comment about it that I tried to leave over there!

Beautiful post, Robin. Yes, the enemy wants us to be silent. But as God proves Himself more and more real in our lives, we can't keep it to ourselves. I'm so grateful for God pursues us even before we have any sense of Who He really is or how much we need Him.

June 16, 2012 at 7:46 AM  
Anonymous Angie said...

Even if things seem totally out of control, you are in control of your reactions and what you are putting back out into the world in response to your circumstances.

Even blogging is a reaction you control. It appears from the comments that you are not only helping yourself, you are also helping a lot of others by sharing your experience. Keep up the great work.

June 16, 2012 at 7:50 AM  
Blogger agapewoman said...

I attended my first funeral for a baby in 2001, a co-worker's baby. I recommended the sitter where the baby died if SIDS. It was the worst experience in my life and I'm sure for my co-worker. I had to go to the house where we couldn't go inside because it was a possible crime scene. I just sat there, waiting for my baby to be brought out and crying for my friend at the same time. I cried for days and now as I bring back the memory of that time. Malik would have been 11 last week, Happy Birthday our little angel. Great post Robin.

June 16, 2012 at 7:51 AM  
Anonymous Rachael~ tutus and tantrums said...

Such a poweful post and No, the world does not stop and even in all of our times of pain there is purpose for all of us...keep going, keep fighting, keep pushing on, it will get better!

June 16, 2012 at 9:43 AM  
Blogger Debby@Just Breathe said...

MissRobin, Thank you for stopping over at my blog from SITS. I looked at all of your blogs. This post is amazing at hit home for me.
I'm glad I came here today. I am so sorry for the experience you had as a child and what you went through 7 years ago but obviously God has a plan for us. I saw this on a post today and I feel the need to share it with you.
"Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear" Ambrose Redmoon
Anyway on my other blog I actually mail out handkerchiefs to woman who have lost a baby/child. It is so incredibly sad, something no one should never have to experience. ((HUGS)) Debby

June 16, 2012 at 11:26 AM  
Anonymous Sharon said...

I sometimes think about how when someone loses a loved one to death the world will continue in it's day to day and only the person who lost that loved one will be stuck in time . . . at that moment forever. It seems unfair.
But, I guess that is how we survive . . .we continue.

June 16, 2012 at 12:01 PM  
Blogger doseofreality said...

Such a raw, beautiful, honest post. As always. I am always better after I read your writing. Your boss seems to know what he is doing. And you seem to know what you are doing, despite the fact that it is hard to be doing it.

June 16, 2012 at 12:10 PM  
Blogger Sela Toki said...

You're a rock Robin. By that I mean your foundation. That you've been through fiery trials of your faith and your fair share of hardship and you survive it and have kept on going. Not only that but you help others along the way to be able to withstand all the hardships coming our ways. Whether they be mental, physical, emotional or spiritual. Thank you and thanks for dropping by my blog leaving a heartwarming comment.

June 16, 2012 at 12:18 PM  
Blogger JDaniel4's Mom said...

It so easy to put our lives in glass case and close the door. Thank you for the reminder that it is important to live our lives.

Stopping from SITS!

June 16, 2012 at 1:12 PM  
Blogger Laura Wells said...

GReat conclusion. But it is weird after a loss or a in the midst of major trauma how the world keeps going.

June 16, 2012 at 2:02 PM  
Blogger said...

I wish I had something profound to say or some word of helpful advice. Hang in there.

June 16, 2012 at 4:49 PM  
Blogger Shari Lynne @ said...

Awww what a wonderful post! It is sooo true..after many tragic things in my life..I would wonder also WHY DOESN'T LIFE JUST I can catch my breath and grieve and yet if it had I would be swallowed up in my grief..never to move forward and learn to live again.
I love your heart :) Thanks for stopping by my blog..many blessings!

June 16, 2012 at 6:35 PM  
Anonymous Libby said...

When my closest friend's father passed away a few years ago I remember wondering how she could go on. I was also very close to him and I tried to put myself in her shoes. How could you laugh? How could you wake every morning? These were such strange thoughts. When my mother passed away last year I finally understood the how. I just had to move forward. Would she have wanted me to stop? No. So each week when I go to meditation I get to pause and it usually makes me cry but I think that's healthy. Thank you Miss Robin for your insightful post.

June 17, 2012 at 4:39 AM  
Blogger Sorta Southern Single Mom said...

Excellent perspective and wise boss. This reminds me of the day of my grandfather's funeral. Our house was full of people for the reception following the burial and I went out on the porch for something and noticed the mail had come. I was momentarily stunned, realizing that while we had stopped, the rest of the world was business as usual!

June 18, 2012 at 6:11 AM  
Anonymous Motherhood on the Rocks said...

Very well said! Very well!

June 18, 2012 at 12:16 PM  
Blogger Blond Duck said...

We always fight another day.

June 18, 2012 at 2:06 PM  
Blogger Anne said...

Pain is pain and it will always be there unless we decide to deal with it, learn from it and hopefully use it to live our lives better.

This was a most sensitive piece, Robin. Whatever you're going through, I hope you realize that the pain doesn't last forever unless you make it so.

June 20, 2012 at 4:20 AM  
Blogger Tiffany said...

The Weepies have a song called, "The World Spins Madly On." I often think that. In the midst of great tragedy, life continues to move. It doesn't stop or wait for us. It's almost God's way of ensuring that, as you said, we don't stay in that place of horrible, soul-crushing despair forever.

June 20, 2012 at 12:32 PM  
Blogger Blond Duck said...

Have a wonderful Friday.

June 22, 2012 at 11:08 AM  
Anonymous Victoria Hamel said...

lovely post.

June 23, 2012 at 8:19 PM  
Blogger Nicole {WonkyWonderful} said...

This is the truth. Years back I too had a pain that seemed to consume me entirely. I almost gave up and probably would've died or became a shell of a person. Thankfully I was able to just keep moving forward. Slowly I shed that pain and now the person I was back then seems foreign to me. Great post and an excellent description of those feelings.

June 23, 2012 at 10:24 PM  
Blogger Christine Bryant said...

Miss Robin...powerful...powerful...powerful...The will to go one is a powerful thing...but I believe the decision to move on and the "why" or your reason to move on is even greater...I think that's why so many people get stuck in that hard give hope to those who are not ready to take that leap of faith...Go 'head Miss Robin!!

June 23, 2012 at 11:56 PM  
Blogger BlondeMomBlog (Jamie) said...

But we must keep going or we die. Maybe not our bodies, but our hearts and souls.

So true...powerful words!

June 24, 2012 at 7:55 AM  
Blogger Susan in the Boonies said...

Well said, Misssrobin.

When I feel overcome, and even paralyzed by grief and pain, I am reminded of the best piece of advice I ever heard for such times:

Just do the next thing.

June 24, 2012 at 9:23 AM  
Anonymous Aruna - Young Yoga Masters said...

wonderful writing. I just found your blog so this is the first post I've read and you've got a gift.

I'm glad you're keeping up with the blogging "work" too : )

June 24, 2012 at 9:29 AM  
Anonymous karissa said...

So much wisdom in this post. I agree with this so much. After I had a stroke it was surprising to me that not everyone's life was as deeply impacted as mine. Their lives got to go one as normal even if mine didn't

June 24, 2012 at 9:37 PM  
Blogger Elena said...

Hi! I'm a new follower from SITS.
Thanks so much for sharing your experiences with grief and personal trials. You're right, it's so easy to give up, but if we keep pushing we can persevere.

June 25, 2012 at 11:10 AM  
Anonymous Classic NYer said...

On some level, I hate that the world never stops for me. On another level, I'm glad that it doesn't. I used to be suicidal as well, so I know exactly what you're talking about.

June 25, 2012 at 11:14 AM  
Anonymous Shalu Sharma said...

Sometimes people do feel that way specially at funerals. Sometimes when I walk around, I have this feeling that all of us is going to die one day so what's the point of all this anyway. Its a hard life but then we must make the most of it. Take care.

June 25, 2012 at 2:42 PM  
Anonymous Stesha said...

Powerful words. After a doctor's visit the other day I had similar thoughts. How does the world continue while someone somewhere is being dealt a hard blow? It's both a simple and crushing answer: It has to.

Hugs and Mocha,

June 25, 2012 at 4:28 PM  
Anonymous Cam | Bibs and Baubles said...

I've often thought of this too.It's hard to believe that the world just keeps turning as people endure their personal hell. It's the way life goes though. Sometimes we need to see the normal day to day stuff in order to keep us moving. It's not easy but it's necessary.

June 25, 2012 at 5:17 PM  
Anonymous another jennifer said...

This is a beautiful post. One that many can relate to. I remember feeling this way when my uncle died 15 years ago. He was 50, and it was sudden. It didn't seem fair. But we all have to move on. Otherwise, we're not truly living.

June 25, 2012 at 7:15 PM  
Blogger Colleen said...

It's so hard when you're going through it, but getting through proves just how strong you are. You're right that the world doesn't stop and if we don't work through the bad times we're guaranteed to never have good times again.

Thanks for checking out my blog today.

June 25, 2012 at 9:52 PM  
Blogger Suz said...

Thank you!
Your perseverance amazes me.
I still want get together, it would be nice if everything stopped so we could.
Still struggling to help and understand.


June 25, 2012 at 11:26 PM  
Anonymous tori said...

Powerful and poignant.My mother always told me to do the "next right thing" growing up. I'm sure, on a parenting level, she just wanted me to slow and think things through, make good choices, and maybe not come home from college with a nose ring. What I took from that though, was that if I can just take one step, do the next thing, life will work itself out, a lot of times because it has to!

June 26, 2012 at 6:24 AM  
Blogger Blond Duck said...

I hope you're having a wonderful Monday!

June 26, 2012 at 4:41 PM  
Anonymous Evanthia of merelymothers said...

Wow! You're so accurate in your description of that feeling when tragedy strikes, that EVERYTHING and EVERYONE should be as devastated as you, and pause to reflect on that pain.

I had that feeling several years ago when my grandmother died, a woman that lived in Greece and whom I had only met a few times in my life. But when she died, the impact on me was tremendous, and it brought about a sort of existential crisis that led me to go back to school and change my career and my life.

I think reflecting on the tragedy helped me put my own life into perspective. Thanks for reminding me of that lesson!


June 28, 2012 at 12:47 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Reading this reminded me of my first experience with death, my grandmother who I was very close to. And I remember my mom hanging clothes on the line the day of the funeral and wondering how life could just go on? I find myself now years later doing the same things when dealing with deaths and hospitalizations. Doing laundry seems to have a calming effect. It's hard to fathom at those times that life still goes on.

June 28, 2012 at 7:05 PM  
Anonymous OneMommy said...

I have been there, at that low.
And the word does indeed keep spinning -
Hope you have found peace and I'm glad you had someone who recognized your pain and tried to help in the only way they knew how at the time.

June 30, 2012 at 12:55 PM  
Blogger Leigh Powell Hines (Hines-Sight Blog) said...

You are an excellent writer. I've only been able to read a couple of posts, but you certainly have a way with putting words on paper...even though isn't paper, but you know what I mean.

July 1, 2012 at 7:15 PM  

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