I remember experiencing this once when I was watching the birth episode of Jon and Kate Plus Eight, when the NICU alarms were going off. I was unprepared for the physical and emotional reaction that overtook me as I was thrown back to the nine weeks that my newborn daughter spent in the NICU. The fear. Sheer terror.
And now tonight. Granted, it has been an emotional day. I found out that my dearest friend from college is saying goodbye to his mother tomorrow as they disconnect the machines that have been keeping her alive since the beginning of August. My heart breaks for him, and it has made me very thoughtful.
But then the night went to a different place when I started watching a special on Valerie Harper and her battle with cancer. I have been thrown into another place, weeping and sobbing and reliving the cancer experience that I had with my ex-BF. Crying out the feelings that I suppressed during his illness and chemo and recovery because I could not face them and still do what I needed to do each day to care for all of us. The doubt. The fear. The absolute exhaustion, mental and emotional and physical and even spiritual.
And I feel sad. And angry that it had to happen to us. And exhausted, like a huge piece of me was taken away and has never returned. Disappointed that I cannot have any contact with him because it all became so unhealthy and dysfunctional. Wondering if things would have been different if that horrible hand had not been dealt to us less than a year into our relationship.
I think I need to feel this to really let go and move on. I will never know the answers to those questions. It will never end differently. This is what it is and this is where I am, like it or not.
But I don't like it. And yet I have no choice but to accept it.