by Lori Dwyer on December 1, 2011 · 9 comments

Things feel patently unfair.

It’s nothing, of course…. just a cold, I’m just a bit sick. The doctor says acute bronchitis, which may have developed into pneumonia if I hadn’t come in when I did.

In my life Before, being sick sucked. Because that’s just what it does. Being sick for over a week would have sucked more. But I think I would have managed OK. (I work not to romanticize things. My mother reminds me, succinctly, that even if Tony was here, he did not make a good nurse, could be impatient and frustrated when I was sick… crying that if he were here, he would take care of me, that smacks of rose colored glasses and wishing-things-were).

But now, in the After, everything, anything… it’s all feels disgustingly unfair.

I finally get to meet Mr Enigma, and it’s… such a relief. I stand on my front lawn and hold him, lips pressed into the skin of his neck, feeling my body relax for the first time in months. It feels like coming home.

Maybe that’s partly to blame for what came next. You know the feeling… you’ve been working so hard, looking forward to your holidays so much. As soon as your released from your mundane workplace duties your body revolts, protests, shuts down, collapses in a slump of illness and fever. All the germs, the illness, the exhaustion… everything your body has been pushing back so hard over the last few months comes simmering to the surface, and you find yourself sick. As sick as you’ve ever been.

The first week with Mr Enigma, time passes in a blur of sweating sleeps and fevers, green mucus and Ventolin inhalers. My body is racked with pain. Unable to take care of my kids, I call in the cavalry, and it is five night before I’m well enough to have them home again. (I want my mother. Of all the things he took from me, the five year old inside weeps for my mother most of all. Because now I need her in a different way- when I am sick, I don’t call her to comfort me, but to take my children, protect those most vulnerable first. I want my mother for me again, but time is scarce and what she has goes to my kids.)

And all through this, the Enigma, he stays. He brings me soup and cold facewashers for my head. He takes me to the doctors, rubs my shoulders, kisses my skin where it aches. He is amazing, and I start to wonder if this is why I am sick- that holiday relief, my body feeling safe and allowing itself to be vulnerable.

As I said, it’s patently unfair. I don’t want to begin a relationship this way. This isn’t how things are supposed to go. He is supposed to come and go, we should miss each other, be excited to see each other… it feels like me being so sick, him having to take care of me… that first week or so of sweetness has been lost. I hate being so needy, all the time. I hate crying, screaming, ranting at the universe…. and still nothing changes, I feel no better, and that chasm of need- physical, emotional, mental… it doesn’t close up any. As the months go by, and more and resources are thrown into, that chasm just gets bigger and wider and greedier, and it swallows more and more.

But that’s just grief, is it not? It exhausts you. Almost twelve months later the physical reaction to it is still enough to cripple me, bring me to my knees. It’s just grief. And the way it takes, and takes, and takes.

It’s nothing, after all. Just the flu, a cold… a grief sickness, still, a fever I just cannot shake.

Those of us left over by suicide… we’re a strange bunch. Strong and brave and beautiful, with an understanding of the world that few people want.
A reader of mine, named Liz… she wrote me an email recently. There was one line in it that grabbed me…

“I understand suicide.”

And she does. She understands, as well as I do, and she is doing something with that knowledge. Raising money, raising awareness, speaking out, being brave, and encouraging others to do the same.

And on top of all that, she is quite literally running marathons.

Please read this post, and support her if you can.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Livi December 13, 2011 at 6:47 am

Oh hun, there is no 'right' way to start a relationship so be vulnerable and let your body get rid of all that negative stuff however it needs to


Shellye December 5, 2011 at 7:46 pm

I'm so glad that Enigma took care of you, Lori. He must really care.

I hope you're on the mend now.


Oldie December 2, 2011 at 10:49 am

Not meaning to upset anyone…

I just read some figures last might from Qld about the number of deaths in the state of under 18 year olds. Out of the 465 kids in that list.. 21 commited suicide.. the majority of those were native australian children.

Today, I feel empty for all the families of the kids on that list.

Apart from raising awareness of the precursers.. what else can be done?


Melissa December 2, 2011 at 12:44 am

Ugh – so sorry you are sick. hope you are better soon. I know what you mean about wishing someone would take care of you – sounds like you've been given a lovely gift by Mr. Enigma, even tho it isn't exactly the gift you were hoping for – I hope you are better soon :)


Canadian in Glasgow December 2, 2011 at 12:38 am

Ugh…that is unfair. BUT….in 6 months maybe you'll look back and go…yeah…if it wasn't for that then…>insert something wonderful here<

Hope you feel magical again soon!


Natalie December 1, 2011 at 11:00 pm

Get well chick – he sounds pretty special xx


Amy xxoo December 1, 2011 at 8:23 pm

You're right on two things:
#1 Being sick absolutely sucks big ones.
#2 And being sick and needy is no way to start off a relationship.
However, if Mr Enigma is willing to kick things off like that, then maybe he's someone just a little bit special…


Sarah December 1, 2011 at 9:27 am

Hey chook if he can hold your hand & stick it out when you're sick then he's a pretty special guy. You will have your sweet times together, I know it xxx


Miss Pink December 1, 2011 at 8:45 am

Eww. I hope you are feeling better soon.
Maybe grief is an incurable disease of it's own? It affects you physically, and certainly mentally. It's not a short lived virus, but instead a deep long battle like cancer that eats away at you from in the inside.

I am happy that you've had Mr Enigma there caring for you. What a bloke to hang around through that huh?!


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