Saturday, November 2, 2013

Isolation vs. Community.

Today we went to a memorial service for a family friend. This young woman was 34 years old and died of cardiac arrest due to a recently diagnosed genetic defect. She was the mom of three young kids and 7 and a half months pregnant with baby number 4. It is tragic beyond comprehension. She was always vibrant, full of life, active, a runner, the mom who was jumping off the high dive with the kids, or swinging off the rope swing into the river below, with her beautiful long blonde hair flying out behind her.

The service today was filled with people who love she and her family. Hundreds and hundreds of people. Standing room only. The family are long time community and church members.

During the service the pastor said something, many things actually, but this is what I have been thinking about all afternoon. The pastor said, "We aren't created to be alone. We aren't meant to live in isolation....we are meant to be a part of a community, a family."

I started to think about this whole dynamic of isolating vs allowing hoards of people into our lives to see our frailties, to share our joys and our walk with us and us with them. I saw something beautiful today and we wondered who would surround us in our time of need? What have we created here? The dad assured me I would have loads of people around me. lol

We have had years in our lives where we were a part of a church community and it was wonderful, for the most part, until it wasn't anymore and we walked away from that life. When things began spiraling with our girl, we isolated further....because really, in all honesty, who wants to deal with all of the questions and pitying looks and worst of all, the judgements. So we hid. We did....I will admit it.We stuck to ourselves, we kept the lines open with a handful of close friends, but other than that, we let the rest go. For the most part, it was all I could do just to manage the necessities of my daily life most of the time. Forget "doing lunch" or gossiping or shopping or getting manis and pedis.
First of all, it felt too risky to let everyone see what we were going through.....I know....says the woman who blogs every gory detail of her life for the world to read. But you all, except for those of you who are also my real life friends and my FB friends...the rest of you are faceless, anonymous. Its one thing to share with people I don't know. Quite another to stand toe to toe and see the looks of disappointment, sorrow, or worse, have to listen to the well meaning advice.....uh yeah, don't you think I have already wondered about my discipline methods, or if I had been more "consistent" if all of this would have been, could have been... avoided?

Secondly, it made me think of all of you.....and the anonymous community you have given to me. Its been a safe place to connect anonymously...although my name really is Annette, so I am not very anonymous. But I thank you for reading here and for commenting and for telling me I'm not a bad mom and for letting me know that I am not alone.

Today I wondered if we made a mistake in stepping back and focusing on our own lives. I don't know that we were capable of anything else at that point...but what I do know is that, at least in our situation, isolation was a result of fear. Its just another symptom of a fear driven life. Afraid of rejection, afraid of being judged, afraid of being hurt more than we already were. However, in pulling back we also shut the door on all of the chances and the opportunities for something good to happen! Fear can be such a killer of great potential.

Obviously I can't change the past....but maybe today I can begin to make choices to let people in more, to be more community minded vs. holding at a distance.

What about all of you? Is isolating during crisis universal? I have a feeling it may be a common response.

Ok, I'm off to work, then tomorrow morning I am meeting some friends to do the Apple Hill run. A community effort to support Little Ones school. A good beginning! lol



beachteacher said...

I frequently relate to your posts anyway- as you know. But really- probably this one more than most any. I / we just totally cut off from everyone during our darkest days - including hardly taking phone calls from extended family (my brothers/ hubby's sister) -- and certainly dwindled down to zero friends - except for some very close old friends,..who, unfortunately, don't live near us. We're really just now starting to stick our heads up out of the hole & look around.

Lolly said...

Oh my gosh! This is so true for me also. I isolated myself and have lost all my friends but 1. We, as a couple, don't have any friends that we hang out with anymore. He is dry and sober and not a fun person to be around. I'm just now trying to reconnect with some old friends...I'm tired of being isolated and lonely. Thanks Annette. Great post...just what I needed to hear today @Beachteacher-"Starting to stick my head up out of that hole and look around"..Yes, Yes, Yes!

Sober Julie said...

In my recovery I had to address my tendency to isolate. I too blog about most every aspect of my life but this isn't actually the full connection which I achieve when I see the whites of another person's eyes. Oh how a person's body language can impact me emotionally, both in a positive and a negative way....

I've learned that by doing service work for another person, for seeking relationships with the right motivation always help me improve in the end...both virtually and in person.

Mrs. Dubose said...

I was very isolated. I do have good friends that were kept in the loop but at the end of the day, dealing with an addict in the family is a solo journey. Why the isolation? I think for me it was exhaustion. I had nothing to give. Also, I think I was trying to protect my daughter's reputation. AND mostly because I had no answers and neither did anyone else. It is a very, very lonely road and I don't wish it on anyone. I was so fearful, I had trouble breathing.

Trying to begin anew is a full time job in and of itself.

It's all just hard.

I know I am in a much better place than before, but I still have so much anxiety all the time.

Again, I can't tell you how much I relate to your posts. Thank you for sharing your heart.


dawn said...

I'm not sure when I first heard these words, but I too grabbed on tight and have found myself reciting this to many patients/clients over time. God NEVER intended on his children to be happy 24/7 (another misunderstood concept) nor was it his intention on us to white knuckle this life of ours even if we have to crawl into our beds and hide. No, we're God's gift to one another. Where there are two . . . . etc. Too tired to look up scripture, but you know where I'm going. This just isn't a "me" deal. Recovery, life, death (I'm truly sorry for your sudden loss), , its all a "we" thing and therein lies our comfort.

I have GOT to get over here and catch up with your girl. I'm so sorry - thing is , I see you on FB and your sweet daughter has been on my prayer list for quite some time - please know that as I have been so remiss with my blog sisters. talk soon!! hugs

Hattie Heaton said...

Annette, Because I'm married to a vet, I relate all things to animals, lol....But, I think it's a natural part of the process to go off and lick our wounds. It is natural to drag our sick family away from predators until we gain strength and perspective. With that being said, it is important to begin branching out again with safe people who love and support you. I guess things have happened for the both of us as they were intended. God will lead us in His time!

Signe said...

Isolation has been both a blessing and curse for me. A blessing because my 'secret life' stays secret. A curse because my 'secret life' stays secret. When I confide in the two close friends who know what has been going on and when I write it down here, I do feel 'lighter' inside. Like allowing a cut to heal, sharing is like cleaning and putting on a clean bandage. Living that double life always makes me feel sicker inside. The pastor was right...though I would qualify it by adding that you need to choose your friends wisely.

John Burns said...

Annette, it's a natural reaction for someone to pull back from those around them in fear of ridicule, or criticism- and it's mostly because we humans are social creatures, and others' opinions matter to us. But, by opening up, you never know what kind of support you might get- you might be pleasantly surprised. Right? Another thought-provoking post, indeed!

Syd said...

I am glad that you are so honest and post your fears here. I feel as if I know you. And that you are a friend. You have helped a lot of people by writing about your fears and your solutions.