This picture was taken in March 2010. It was 11 months after my husband left and my dad died (yes, he left when my dad was given a week to live because “there’s no really good time to leave” - except maybe there are a few better times). It was a difficult year for sure, but with the help of an unbelievably kind, generous and supportive group of friends, the kids and I were doing well. I felt hopeful and happy - things I hadn’t been in a long time. A half a year later, my life was turned upside down again in a way I haven’t been able to get out from under until recently.
Helping and caring are, to a large extent, my reason for being. I don’t say no, and I don’t make minimal effort. If you’re my best friend and your kid has cancer, I’ll raise $30,000 in a fundraiser I put together in six weeks to make sure your family is getting what it needs. If you are alone and need to feel loved and important, I’m going to be texting you every day to check in, and making plans for lunch or drinks or movies at least once a week. If your organization is helping children who need it in ways that break our hearts, I’m going to let my house be messy and spend the time getting help to those kids instead.
And if you’re drowning, beaten down and at the bottom of a pit that’s about to cost you your life, I’m going to hang off the edge and let you climb up me to get out.
I can do this, and meet every need and most wants of my three kids as a single parent, and maintain my friendships because it’s the right thing to do. And while coming out of it now, years later, I’m exhausted and worse for wear - physically, emotionally and financially - I’m also proud of my heart. I’m grateful for my capacity to give, and even more appreciative that even when I get burned, I’m not hardened in a way that would turn me away from others.
My exhaustion, my depletions, my weariness now - that’s all mine. I own those as the result of the choice I made every day to be a good human and to care. No one made me make those choices, and no one gets credit for them but me.
So yes, I’m depleted, but I’m ready to recharge. And I hope 11 months from now, I’m as light and bright as I am in this picture.