Wednesday, May 9, 2012

For Tracey

Many people who read this blog found me through one of my best friends, but most likely it was Tracey's blog that brought you here.

So most of you know Tracey's story, and I don't really want to re-hash it, because we don't really like to re-live it.

If you don't know, I can tell you that a little over two years ago, I was holding Tracey in my arms at a 5K event as she fell apart. I had just become engaged two weeks prior and was at the happiest point in my life yet. I looked at Tracey huddled up in my arms, pale as a ghost, a completely raw and open wound of a human being after finding out that the two closest people in her life had betrayed her, that her reality for the past year or more had not been reality at all. I held her as she sobbed and I was so. fucking. scared. How do you get past that? How do I console her and reassure her that it would all be ok, because to be honest, I wasn't sure that it would be?

When my Dad was diagnosed with a brain tumor, we had lots of people come to us and say "I know so and so who survived a brain tumor, this way...". It gave us hope, it gave us a direction to look.

But when this happened to Tracey, everyone around her was basically like me, mouth agape, this just doesn't happen. I don't know the course to recovery because I don't know of anyone to go through this.

I did the best I could and told her that it *would* all be ok. I didn't go through anything like her situation, but at the time it was the worst thing I could think of and I did survive...not only survive but my life was so much better off now. I clung to that and that was my mantra to her over the next two years.

There was a man by her side at that time who supported Tracey and stood by her, even through the darkest times of anyone's life. When I first met him (and this is his FAVORITE story about me), I waved my finger in his face and told him to back off, let her heal, leave her alone. I underestimated them both.

M was exactly what Tracey needed. Had M backed off, I truly believe that Tracey never would have been able to trust another man again for the rest of her life. Her story was different from mine. She was able to heal and grow and learn and thrive again, but she also needed proof that there was still good in life...that there are men that can be trusted and value morals and honesty as much as she does. She needed M to heal; his unwavering devotion, his unwillingness to let go of what they have - he was living proof that not all human beings were capable of such hurtful actions.

Tracey and I like to use the hashtag #twinlives when we are texting about our situations. Like me, she is marrying a man with no biological children of his own, an independent bachelor who likes his space and alone time yet for some crazy reason is dead set on joining this nutty, chaotic life of three kids and a busy work schedule no matter how hard we tried to push them away. We had the same transitions, I usually about a year ahead of her. How many times have we sent texts to each other "HOW DID YOU HANDLE THIS"! I call her my Yoda, because even though I am already married, she has got this shit down. She knows how to focus on the good, process and release the bad, "bubble" herself and her family.

8 months ago on my own wedding day, I cried alone because I missed my friends so much. Tracey had written to me that she didn't think she could be any happier for me even if it were herself getting married. This week as we prepare for her wedding, I feel the exact same way.

Not many know what it is like to pick yourself up and rise from the rubble of a disaster with three young children by your side, looking to you for guidance when all you really want to do is lay down and give in to the pain. Then to have the courage to take the step forward, not having any idea where you are going, knowing that the three little faces at your side need for this to be the right direction. Then to one day, after much time has gone by, look up and realize that you somehow managed to not only find your way out, but you've made it to paradise. The way it should be, the way it was supposed to be but never was. To realize that there is now another hand holding onto the little ones, and they are beaming up at him with the same respect and trust they have for you. That you both know exactly where you are now headed, together.

If my wedding day wasn't the perfect metaphor for that feeling, I don't know what else could be. I was a witness to Tracey's own devastation, I watched her fall and get back up again with her babies in tow. I watched her analyze every situation with her children's best interest as her only factor of reasoning, their happiness the only factor of moving forward. And here they will all stand together this Saturday, together, happy, but just one step in the journey of the rest of their lives together. And I am so honored to be there to see the resolution, the happy "beginning".

I'm terrible with words, I am. There are really no words I could think of to describe the feeling and fulfillment of watching someone you love secure their own happiness after not knowing how they would get through, and also knowing firsthand how that feels. But I know that no words are needed, she is my best friend and she knows I know.

*Cheers*, to Tracey and M.