In a fight, whether organized and in the confines of a ring or in an alley behind a bar, the outcome is usually determined by the person who connects with a blow unseen by their opponent.
In every facet of my life, I continuously prepare for such a blow, but I missed one eighteen months ago.
It caught me square on the jaw and jeopardized the well-being of my family. There were those around me that could have prepared me for what was about to happen, but they didn’t.
There were those above me that were looking for a reason to drop the bomb, but someone was running interference for me…until that day.
I was never really sure how it all went down until last Friday, when we were all thrust together to mourn a friends’ sudden, and tragic, loss. Despite being ostracized from he group that I had known for nearly eighteen years, someone reached out to inform me of what had happened. Not either of the people responsible for delivering my own personal body blow.
My initial reaction was not to attend the event because I didn’t want to distract anyone from the reason for being there, but my sadness and sense of obligation to a friend let me know that he needed my support. Just an acknowledgement of his sorrow, how sorry I was for his loss and a hug.
As I stepped out of the car, I was immediately greeted by former co-workers with open arms and it was very comforting to be in group of familiar people…almost friends. The service itself was easily the most gut-wrenching thing I had ever witnessed in my life.
To mourn the tragic loss of a child, no matter the age, is horrible for everyone. I sat there in the seat feeling guilty for having the fortune of a healthy, and complete, family while this friend sat there having been delivered the ultimate sucker punch.
There was nothing I could do. I cannot fathom how to cope with such a loss.
Although my childhood was filled with “angst” an d varying levels of abusive behavior by different trusted people, it gave me the valuable tool of being able to take a lot of pain and hide it deep inside for slow processing.
It also gave me the need to help those around me to deal with their issues…but I have nothing for this level of pain. I was floored.
I saw a lot of myself in this young man who ended his life. As I sat there I realized that I was one of two decisions from being right where he found himself on that tragic day. He spent his late teens and early twenties helping others to a fault. Person after person came up to the podium talking about how he had helped them.
My last experience with this young man were a couple of years ago as he was having his first child. He was a clueless nineteen year old being told by those around him that life, as he knew it, was over. I pulled him aside a few times and gave him a good rundown of the joys of fatherhood. I thought I had done a decent thing…we’ll never know.
As I was listening to others tell stories about this young man, who everyone depended on for strength, I knew what happened.
He didn’t know to get the help from others that he so easily gave.
This is not a common trait in society…and not a trait the two people who sent me packing possess.
As I approached each of them for the first time since they delivered a body blow to me eighteen months ago, I looked into their eyes as I offered my hand to them.
They had erased me from their mind.
Each of their reactions were the same.
1. Eyes opened wide.
2. Stammering greeting.
3. Hesitant offer of their hand.
4. Direct eye contact.
Each of them looked away with guilt and remorse. Later in the day, two of the three came to me offering some kind of reasoning for “how things happened.” But they were just doing the normal “posturing” that they were so good at.
Narcissism is a funny thing, because those who have it in the greatest quantities are clueless.
I came home that day drained.
But I held my family close, despite the feelings of guilt that raced through my body.