The crazy uncle that I intended to let stay for a few weeks stayed for a year and injected and infected me in as many ways possible. He is now gone. Replaced by the Aunt, who isn't crazy yet, but could certainly obtain extreme crazed cat lady status if left unchecked.
My email inbox isn't always the fun zone. And over the past couple weeks, it has received a bunch of mail basically asking me if I'm ok. The truth? I'm really not.
If you have followed my writings (and if you haven't, well... get to it!), you know that last January, I made the decision to drop everything and become the caretaker for my mom, who was surely in her last days. Terminal illness isn't pretty. Not one bit. And in her case, the life thief came and left and came again and then vowed to stay away only to grimly reap in a final beautiful and frightfully ugly moment.
She left her body in May. And I was left with the task of cleaning up and finishing up the details of her life. And writing her Obituary. I was pretty good at first. Handling it. And then "it" started happening. As she often did during the nights when she was alive, she began calling to me in the night during my sleep. A dead person's voice seemed so alive. It became a constant. And so, I stopped sleeping and didn't tell anyone what was going on. I figured it would go away. It didn't. No matter what I tried on my own. Vices like food, drugs, alcohol, music, art. Nothing. And I was aimless. So I decided to commit suicide. And thank goodness I wasn't brave enough to do a really good job. Good. Onward. Whatever.
I tried to return to the life I left behind. But it wasn't within my grasp to handle it. Although I had been remotely working my responsibilities with Sierra Pacific Turf, the Director of Agronomy needed to be in the field. I tried. I really did. But I couldn't take the road. Couldn't understand the words coming out of people's mouths, as if they were speaking a strange alien language. Couldn't look Turfheads in the eye because I felt I let them down as well, just like I felt I let my mom and everyone else in my life down. Didn't even feel safe driving. Nothing worked. And I mean nothing at all made sense. I finally realized I was in trouble. Broken in ways that I couldn't count.
My physical health was declining. Rapidly. Bad news from my doctor. And I didn't care. So I finally reached out to someone who specializes in this kind of thing. As it turns out, I had a full blown case of PTSD. Wait, soldiers and airplane crash victims get this. Not guys who hold their mom's hand while she slowly quits breathing. That's supposed to be beautiful. But it wasn't. Because somehow, I had developed the notion that if I did everything right, my mom would live. Her death became a statement that I fouled up... that I failed. I didn't. But that's not what my brain said.
More bad stuff. Settling my Mom's estate became a challenge. Dealing with her home and her stuff and all the things she hadn't been able to be able to do was like climbing K2. I've never climbed K2, but that's the best unreachable thing I can explain. The sponsors of the blog you are reading, unhappy with my supposed lack of understanding of posting about agronomy took a hike, but Peter McCormick didn't pull the plug. We just don't have a sponsor. Pressure at work to perform during the Early Order Sales Monkey Season was extraordinary. At least that was my reality. A day riding with Dean Kinney, Sierra Pacific's sales and marketing manager made me see that I had no ability to do my job effectively and no desire to do it "their way". Body failing. Nightmares remaining. Employees and bosses upset. No bueno. Eff this.
So I resigned. Gave them a month's notice. I think that they thought that if they pushed hard enough I would return to the old me. But you can't uncook an egg. I took a relatively good paying gig and a benefit package and walked away and I guess if you are sane in golf's new economy you don't do that. Figured we all would be better off. I still don't know if that's true. But the truth is that I haven't heard a word from them since my last day, except for an email exchange about health insurance. So much for "relationships". In truth, I never really understood them and I don't think they understood me. At a certain point, if there is no common language there can't be any Fun Monkey Circus. I had to go. It was really killing me. I don't love how I was treated. I don"t think they loved how I treated them. Stalemate.
Two days after my last day, in early November, I boarded a flight to Asia. My goal, to let it all go by getting lost in Thailand. Yoga. Thai Massage. Fresh Local Organic Food. Herbal Healing. Spiritual Awakening. Laughing with the Locals. Shopping for Flip Flops. Learning Cooking. I invested deeply in me. And for the most part that paid off. And then I came home.
The nightmares began again. My body took another bad turn. The hustle of the holidays was too much. I felt lost and hopeless. The people in my world were trying to help. But I rejected much of it. Finally my PTSD therapist explained that I just can't rush this healing thing. That once again, I was laying my own value on being able to heal. This time, myself. So, my brain said, if I wasn't healing then I must be a failure.
Failure. It's a word that I have been examining a lot. I think I know that successful people in business (and in turfgrass) often learn only by failing. Yet, I couldn't see that in my supposed recent failures, there are incredible lessons.
I let the door hit 2014 in the ass on the way out while holding back a panic attack at an event on New Year's Eve. It just sucked. The specter of my first holiday season in 48 years without my mom pretty much had me in a grip of depressive hacky sack. And most of my personal relationships are completely in the toilet.
So now what? I have a little bit of money that will allow me to continue to heal for a few more months. When I'm ready, I'll find a way to make a living. That's never been hard for me. However it isn't lost on me that I'm near 50 years old. But earning that living in balance, without harming myself is the new deal. I can't not work forever. But I'll never do it like I had been doing. Can't. And so it goes, without destruction, there is no reconstruction.
January 2015 has been spent in the mountains of Colorado in my mom's old house which is now my old house. I'm writing again. I'm engaging my creative side by working molten glass. I'm seeing friends (even if I don't want to). I have therapy appointments via Skype or on the phone.
Now, why all this "Dave on Dave" stuff? Because I hope that if you read this and it resonates at all in any way that you reach out for help. If you have experienced loss, it is vitally important that you deal with it. Machismo won't work. If you are completely hopeless in your work, there is always another way. If your world seems like it closing in on you, don't be the proverbial frog in a pot. Don't. The planet, the world and I need you. There are many avenues to help. If you can't figure it out, find me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I have some relevant experience. And time.
As far as writing here goes, my return to "independent status" means that I can get some agronomy subjects in my teeth that I didn't dare touch before. This excites me. Like being able to breathe again.
May 2015 be better than 2014. For me, that's not going to be hard. As always, I appreciate your reading of my words.