“There’s a club. The Dead Dads Club. And you can’t be in it until you’re in it. You can try to understand; you can sympathize. But until you feel that loss…”
Admittedly, I’ve been watching Grey’s Anatomy in excess lately. Despite that, and despite the fact that I said I’d probably never watch the show (let alone LIKE IT), there’s some damn good writing that goes on. And there have been a lot of things one or more of the characters have said that resonate with me. The statement above? One of the biggest.
I think it’s because my pain feels unbearable and lonely more often than not. I have few friends that can understand what I’m feeling on a personal level. I don’t even need one full hand to count them. Yes, I have friends that have watched friends and parents go through what I’m going through. It’s awful and painful, but as with so many things, you can’t truly understand until you’ve been there yourself. Frankly, it’s a crappy club to be in, but I’m grateful I’m not in the club alone.
I don’t know if everyone feels the same way I do about these clubs. I have a friend who sustained a pretty grim injury last year that left her more than a little debilitated for a long time. I’ve been fortunate enough to never have broken anything more than a fingernail so there was really no way for me to understand what she was going through. Not the pain, not the inability to do the easiest things, none of it. All any of us could do was make an effort to empathize and try to be there as much as we could (and I’ll be the first to admit, I did a pretty crappy job of “being there”…I could have done a lot better, frankly).
It’s hard being on one side or the other. Because I’ve never had a major injury, it’s hard for me to understand how, or even why, it takes so long to recover. But I assure you, the last thing anyone wants to be told is to “get over it.” I’ve had people say that to me and I want to punch them in the face repeatedly. There’s no hard and fast rule for “getting over” an injury, be it physical or emotional. We can read books or go to therapy or talk to our friends, but at the end of the day, once you’re in the Club, you’re in it and I just think people should be a little more understanding, especially if they’re not in the Club.
So if you’re in the Club of Whatever, welcome…and I’m sorry you’re here. But there are lots of us and there are lots of Clubs. So do what you gotta do. And if you’re not in the Club, please just be there. The Club members could use a drink or some company or even just a friendly text reminding us that we’re not forgotten and we’re not societal lepers.