They say things come in threes. I don’t know. I hope not, because I think I’ve reached my limit.
About a week ago, Max and I spent a late night and day at ER trying to figure out pain and shortness of breath that woke him from a deep sleep. I don’t know if there’s any more helpless feeling than to watch your child struggle to breathe, to see him in pain and not be able to take it away. If I could wish for a super power, that’d be it: the power to heal instantly. We’ve ruled out the usual suspects (which aren’t usual for teens) and he’s been feeling fine since, but follow up is needed.
And then. I’m fairly certain a good portion of the US is aware that Anchorage, Alaska, and surrounding areas were hit by a 7.0 earthquake this past Friday. Max and I and my family are all OK. In fact, Alaska came through this with relatively minimal destruction and no loss of life; which is amazing if you consider that other earthquakes in the world of the same magnitude carried devastating losses. It doesn’t minimize the emotional impact, though. I heard a co-worker, who I thought handled it pretty calmly, saying, “Oh. Wow. I thought I’d’ve handled that cooler.”
I think that’s a fairly standard feeling with a lot of my friends and family. It’s not that they / we freaked out, I think it’s just part and parcel of the Alaskan spirit. Sort of, “Get through it. Get it done. And do it without fuss.” Any expression of surprise at Mother Nature’s revision of the day’s plan is unwarranted. So. Life in Alaska brushes off the dust, moves forward, and gets to work on fixing buildings and infrastructure, even before the aftershocks finish. (One report noted over 1200 aftershocks so far.)
I had friends in, and from, other states reaching out to see if Max and I were OK, was there anything they could do to help? It’s amazing, really. Friends were trying to get through on every social media platform I regularly use, before I could even get to Max’s school to get him, to make sure we were OK. I love them.
While the past couple weeks have brought up so many emotions and fears, I’ve been astounded to find that hidden between everything is an underlying resentment of Sam that I’d thought I’d let go of a long time ago. I want to scream at him: Why do I have to handle all of this on my own? Why do I have to be the one tough enough to take care of it all on my own.
Why wasn’t he able to be the partner he promised to be when we started dating or got married?
The thing is (Do I say that a lot? “The thing is…” It feels like it.) The thing is, even if Sam hadn’t taken off to live 3,000+ miles away. Even if he was still in-state. Even if he’d managed to get supervised visits with Max back… He’s not the type of man to lend support, any kind of support. He hasn’t tried to check in on Max, but I apparently still need to remember that he had me drop him off for an imaginary chemo treatment for a non-existent cancer the day Max had surgery as a toddler rather than go with us to Max’s procedure.
No. Sam would’ve been absolutely no help at either the ER or in sorting out damage to my home from the earthquake. If I’m being brutally honest with the part of me that still hopes he’ll change and be an involved and supportive dad for Max (and partner), I’d admit that if Sam were still around, on top of everything else, I’d be worried about what measures Sam would be planning to take to move my attention back to him and trying to offset whatever failings he’d say were mine that caused either incident. (For what it’s worth, I’m completely aware that I have absolutely no power over Nature and caused neither issue. But, oh, I can still hear Sam’s voice as he tells me otherwise.)
I’m not sure if the realization that I still have a small, irrational, completely unfounded hope that Sam will become someone he isn’t would be so heavy if I wasn’t so tired. It is though; it’s heavy as hell. The desire to tell myself that I should be past this is overwhelming, but I know that won’t do any good either.
Now, though, my home is back in order, and I have running water again, Max is doing good, my family is safe, and I have one more day for home and family before I have to go back to the office. For now, I’ll acknowledge that hope and let it go again.