The Palindrome

“[E]ach one who enters imagines himself to be the first to enter whereas he is always the last term of a preceding series even if the first term of a succeeding one, each imagining himself to be first, last, only and alone, whereas he is neither first nor last nor only nor alone in a series originating in and repeated to infinity.”  –James Joyce Ulysses

I would not be the last, nor the first to comment on the similarities between the unvarnished, unfiltered truths, the abilities and disabilities of those entering onto the the world, and those exiting it, but there are so many similarities that individuals in the middle often comment on the idea that endings begat beginnings as often as beginnings begat endings.

Life is a palindrome, in other words, in the same manner some words (like race car, dad, and mom) begin as they end.  I learned, when I was too young to know, that life begins anew in the ashes of death, as it does in the harvesting practices on farms.  I learned, when I was too young to know, that the routine of life is part of the process, and it gives a life comfort that is not to be recognized until the realizations of death are learned.  I also learned, before I was old enough to know the power contained in the mind to forget, and the power inured in the importance of moving on.

A preteen is mercifully oblivious to life’s complexities.  Their concerns are so immediate and selfish that they are susceptible to distraction.

“I do believe you boys have set a record,” a nurse informed me during a hospital stay.  “We’ve never seen one room, in our hospital, receive so many visitors.”

The distraction activated a trip wire to my obsession: records.  I read about records, and I fantasized about one day setting my own.  My copy of the The Guinness Book of World Records was, at that point, a ratty collection of pages.  The binding was cracked in so many places that the title was no longer legible.  The cover had long since been excused of duty, and so many pages had either been smudged or dirtied in some other way that a new reader would ask for another copy.  The more I learned about records, the more I learned that records were made to be broken, the more I wanted to be the one involved in breaking them.

“Is this hospital’s record determined through a total number of visits, or individual visitors?” I asked in a preteen’s vocabulary.  “And if it’s the latter, is that based out over a number of days of a person’s stay, or is it just a total?”  In the face of her confusion, I furthered, “Because it would be unfair to judge the total number of visitors, or visits, of a person that has been housed over a four-day period versus one of a thirty-day stay.”  The nurse’s facial expression suggested to me that she hadn’t thought this whole idea through.  “Is there someone else I can ask?” I asked after she made it obvious that she didn’t know how to answer my questions.  “Someone who is in charge of keeping the books on these records?”

I now know, of course, that the nurse was but a qualified one that had an excellent bedside manner.  I imagine that she had been provided numerous chances at finding the perfect thing a young man –dealing with the aftermath of a horrific automobile accident– needed to hear for distraction.

Her ploy worked beyond her wildest dreams, as it fed into my obsession for the manner in which records were tabulated, and I probably complicated that idea with my persistent questions.

The fact that this nurse couldn’t answer my questions, coupled with her inability to provide me with an in-house expert, led me to believe that there might be some loopholes in the hospital’s record tabulations.  I thought that if I could get more people to visit me more often, I could shatter whatever record had stood in the hospital prior to my stay.  I thought that by the end of my stay, all of the various nurses, and hospital personnel, would be talking about the two boys that had a hospital stay some time ago that saw more visitors than anyone had ever imagined possible.

My brother and I had a crowded room, at one point, and I made an effort to greet each guest in our room with a little extra vigor in reaction to this nurse’s notification.  I wanted their stay in my room to not only be pleasant, but something they would never forget.  I wanted them vying for a return to my room.  I wanted them to tell their friends that they needed to visit me.  ‘Even if you don’t know them,’ I fantasized them saying to others.  ‘You simply have to visit that room.  It’s a blast!’

I told my closer friends to try to convince their parents to bring them back as often as humanly possible.  This prompted odd reactions, so I confided my goal to them, “I’m trying to set a record here.”  When these people told me that they would visit again, I wondered if the nurses would remember the names and faces of those individuals.  I wondered how these tabulations were made, and if those individuals that left for lunch and returned would be counted as two visitors.  I thought of this and various other ways to cheat the system.

In lieu of what I’d just been through, many of my guests were probably surprised by my upbeat attitude.  In lieu of what had happened, they may have learned that my happiness, my little game, was born of ignorance if had they bothered to properly question me.

Blissful ignorance led me to believe that to get the most visitors possible, I would have to be an amiable host.  Nobody wants to see a sad, little boy, I reasoned.  They want a host that thanks them for their visit, that provides them a reasonably good time –or as pleasant a time as one can have in a hospital– and they want a game show host type of personality that makes them laugh.  I made it a point to greet every guest, as if they were a guest in my home.  I asked them if they wanted to watch something particular on the TV.  I told them jokes, and I offered them refreshments, if I had any available.  This was a competitive war that I was waging, and I was going to win it.

With all that swirling in my mind, I was not at all concerned that in one of my dad’s visits he was accompanied by his nephew and a priest.  I simply saw them as three visitors to add to the grand total, and I was glad that my dad felt the need to be accompanied.  He didn’t often indulge my obsessive pursuits, however, and he didn’t this time either … knowingly.

“Sean, Bryan, this is Father Johnston” my dad said. 

I forget the exact name of the priest now, which is unfortunate, but not detrimental, to the story.  I greeted him with the same degree of warmness I was greeting all comers to my hospital room.

“Father,” I said smiling, shaking his hand.  He did not return that smile.  He returned a smile, but it was pleasant, and polite, and perfunctory.  I was, of course, not schooled in studying smiles, but I knew a dismissive, perfunctory, smile when I saw one.

My standard operating procedure was broken by that smile.  Smiles are always silent in the literal sense, but most smiles are often busy with expression and sounds.  This smile was silent.  This smile suggested that the priest would smile, but his smiles were but part of the procedure.  I couldn’t take my eyes off of it.  Even when my dad introduced his nephew to the priest, and his introduction involved a “thank you” to the nephew for helping him through this trying time.  I remained fixated on that priest’s silent, non-smile smile.

I’d met quiet men before, but they were largely not of my purview.  I didn’t deal well with them.  My grandfather was a quiet man, and I considered his silence to be claustrophobic at times.  I was much more comfortable with loud, boisterous men that weren’t afraid to have their opinions known.  Quiet men made me feel uncomfortable, because I couldn’t understand how they could just sit there, do nothing, and make no sound.  I was used to men doing something, or having a solid excuse for their silence.

Even in my limited experience with silence, I’d never experienced the severity of silence before.  This silence was weighted.  It was foreboding.  I wasn’t sure if it was borne of confidence, or if the man wasn’t well-schooled in his delivery, but he appeared to want to get to the point, and all of these perfunctory greetings appeared to be little more than mindless chatter to him.

“Sean, you and your brother, and your Aunt Mary Louise were in an awful accident,” the priest finally said. 

I cracked a joke right here, something smart alecky, something I can’t remember.  It may have been something like, “No dor,” to which I waited for my brother to reply, “No window!”  The “no dor” reply was that era’s equivalent to the “No duh” we now use.  It wasn’t funny, but it was a kid thing, a ritual joke my brother and I had developed into a short comedic routine.  I looked over at my brother, he didn’t provide his end of the joke.  He remained fixated on the priest.

None of them would look me in the face.  I thought that either my joke had bombed, or it was deemed inappropriate and disrespectful.  Whatever the case was, I felt uncomfortable for having issued it, even though my goal was to maintain the amiable host persona that attracted visitors.  No one wants to see a sad, little boy.

“Sean, Bryan,” the priest continued.  “I want you to know that you have many people who love you a great deal.  The nurses, here, told me that you two have had the most visitors this hospital has ever seen.”

I smiled at the unlocked achievement, terminology those that are familiar with computer games know stands for the revelation of an accomplishment.  I wasn’t sure if this was validation, or if it was mindless chatter the priest had picked up from the nurses.  I chose to believe it was the former.  I chose to believe that my brother and I had conquered an entire hospital.

“You two are very loved,” the priest added.  “I want you to know that God loves you, and He always will.  Your father also loves you more than he can say.”  At this point, my dad broke down.

I’m not sure if I saw my dad cry prior to this setting, but if I had they were never these all-hope-is-lost tears.  Those tears caused a flash back.  It caused me to think of the moment when I spotted the stretcher that carried my mother.  I caught the ankle portion of my mother’s stretch pants, as they wheeled her across the emergency room floor.  I was so focused on my own pain, in my own emergency room, that I didn’t pay it too much attention to her condition.  I saw my dad trailing the cart she was on, and I saw him crying those tears.  Now that I was no longer in pain, and my dad was crying again, I flashed back to that memory.

I also flashed to a news program that I caught the night before.  I caught the tail end of that news program.  I caught the female anchor saying that, “The woman was survived by two sons, and a husband.”  When I write “the woman” it should be noted that the anchor mentioned my mother’s name, and then she mentioned all of our names preceded by the words: “survived by”.  I had no idea what survived by meant at that point in my life.

I turned to my brother, “We’re on the news!” I said.  I smiled.  I felt victorious.  I thought that this was great publicity.  I thought that those that hadn’t learned what happened to us, via word of mouth, would now know thanks to this broadcast.  I flirted with the notion that people that didn’t even know us might visit, just to get a look at the two boys that were on the news.  I thought our record was a foregone conclusion at that point.

“What do you think survived by means?” I asked my brother.

“I don’t know, my brother said, “but I think it means Mom died,”

“No it doesn’t,” I said.  We argued back and forth for a spell, and though he put up a substantial argument, I chose to believe that he was mistaken.  “We would’ve been told by now,” I said.

“Maybe they’re waiting for the right time.”

Those of us that have been involved in tragedies, great and small, learn that one does not speak of a desire to be in the news.  It’s deemed peculiar and unseemly, for one to enjoy the limited fame, and recognition, that develops after being covered by the local news.  Especially when that limited fame and recognition pales in comparison to the tragedy one has just endured, but for some reason that coverage doesn’t just soothe us, it validates our tragedy.  It becomes an event of note to know we were covered.  This is made most apparent by those that haven’t been covered, that compare their tragedies to those that were, and the indignant feelings one has when they are deemed not newsworthy.

Preoccupied by these flashbacks, I’m not sure if the priest was speaking throughout them, or if he had been sitting in silence throughout, but whatever the case was, my attention was brought to the fore by the next sentence:

“Your mother, on the other hand, did not survive.”

“What do you mean?” I asked. 

He remained silent.  He allowed me to work through this in my own manner.  This may have been the way that a messenger delivers such a message, but I was in no mood for that way, or his silence.  I wanted replies.  I wanted direct replies.  I wanted straight cold facts.  The priest said nothing, recognizing my display for what it was.  I pressed him, “What are you saying?!”

“In that horrible car accident you were involved in, your mother passed away,” he said. 

No one looked at me.  I was the focus of this exchange, as I badgered the priest to put it three to four different ways, but no one lifted their heads to look at me.  The priest stared off into the distance, my dad collapsed into the arms of his nephew, and I’m not sure what my brother was doing, but none of the players in this scene would even look at me.

Eight years later, while medicated on morphine for an unrelated ailment, I relived the automobile accident that took the life of my mother.  I saw the truck driver as clear as I had that day.  I saw his cowboy hat.  I saw his impenetrable sunglasses.  I saw that he was wearing a beige shirt.

While medicated on morphine, I remembered trying to get this truck driver to honk his horn so clearly that I was there, in the backseat, pumping my fists.  After repeated attempts, I turned to my brother and said, “Huh, he must be asleep.”  I couldn’t know that for sure, due to the sunglasses, but his total ambivalence to us led me to believe that this was a reasonable assumption, and I didn’t gauge the ramifications of him being asleep at the wheel in the manner I may have three to four years later.  I simply shrugged it off as a reasonable assumption, and I moved to get a piece of Freshen Up gum that my mom was offering us.  I leaned over the car seat for a piece, a simple act that police reports state saved my life.

An “Uh!” escaped me at the point of contact.  I remembered that “Uh” so clearly, while on morphine, that I probably said it in my sleep, in the hospital that day, eight years later.  I remembered hearing my Mom’s screams, I remembered hitting the dome light as we went into our first roll, and I remembered watching the world spin.  I remembered smiling moments before I hit the dome light.

For the most part, we don’t know when we’re asleep.  We often don’t know that we’re in our comfortable beds when we dream.  We believe it’s all happening in real time, and that fantastical nature of dreams is what the brain needs to balance out the stresses of reality, say some psychologists.  If we knew all of our dreams were dreams, in other words, they wouldn’t be as relaxing to the brain as they are.

The reason I write what seems such an obvious fact is that I’ve known I was asleep, in my bed, in the course of a dream.  I did it before that day.  When I did it, I had full awareness of my being.  I knew I was in bed, I felt the covers on my chest, I felt the pillow beneath my head.  It was such a novelty that I smiled in fascination, and I did not want to wake to confirm my suspicions.  I carried this knowledge into my first dream on this afternoon, in a small town in Iowa, and I drifted through that dreamworld with the knowledge that I could do whatever I wanted in this dream, with the knowledge that it was just a dream.

The smile on my face that occurred moments before hitting the dome light was one borne of the belief that I did it again.  I thought this moment was horrific and chaotic, and just before the nature of the incident tapped into core of the horror of full realization, I smiled with the belief that it was all a dream.

I smiled with the knowledge that a whole mess of people were going to find this moment hilarious, interesting, or horrific when I awoke and told it to them.  The smile I issued that day was borne of some sort of gratitude for whomever, or whatever, had placed this wild ride in my dream world, but it also told that dream creator that I wasn’t falling for it.  I knew this was a dream.

That smile I issued also said that I know there’s nothing to truly fear here, for I know that I will soon wake to a room festooned with Atlanta Falcons banners, Looney Tunes covers, and Star Wars drapes.  I’m soon going to be able to tell my family members how vivid this dream was, and how I almost fell for it.  “It was that surreal,” I pictured myself saying when I awoke.

Something broke when I awoke.  There was no audible snap, or any kind of discernible crossover into reality, but the voices that had all played roles in my dreams became the voices of reality, surrounding me.  Everything prior to the moment I crossed into total consciousness, occurred in slow-motion, and all the sounds were muffled.

There was a scene in the movie Saving Private Ryan that horrified me on a level that I considered walking out on.  The unprecedented aspect of this was that even as a pre-teen, I was a horror freak.  My favorite movies took me to an uncomfortable place and unnerved me there.  Even as a preteen, I said that I would be willing to pay top dollar to any movie that could take me out of my comfort zone and make me grateful that I wasn’t the character experiencing that type of horror.  “It’s that type of experience that everyone should demand of their movie makers,” I said.

The Saving Private Ryan scene horrified everyone.  It was a scene that many have claimed was one of the greatest anti-war statements ever made, because it was one of the most realistic and vivid.  If you don’t remember the scene as vividly as I do, it involved about five minutes of slow-motion, muffled horror, as bullets pierced through cotton, arms, lungs, brains, and every other essential organ and limb.  It involved muffled screams of terror, grenades exploding, and gunfire.  The scene may not have occurred in slow-motion, but that’s the way I remember it.  I lived through this scene, as it was occurring.  I was there, living this moment with the characters involved, in a manner I can’t recall ever being so affected by.  This may have been a result of the efforts of a brilliant director capturing an historic moment, or it may have had something to do with a scene of my life that proved to be so similar that I brought my own definition of horror to it.

As happened in the movie, I progressed through the muffled horror, and the slow-motion, into real time.  There were no audible snaps, or visual cues, that brought me through the various levels of consciousness.  I was smiling one moment, screaming the next, with a few confusing progressions in between.

The progression culminated in a moment I initially believed to be that waking moment of the dream world when, after falling off a cliff, you gratefully wake just before you hit the ground; that moment when you’ve neared unimaginably close to an alligator, and it turns on you with mouth agape; and that moment when someone, in reality, touches your arm.  I wasn’t sure why I couldn’t wake up during this moment when someone had touched my arm, as I always had before when that moment arrives, but I immediately considered it a fault in the dream world process.

There were a number of men touching my arm, trying to grab me.  I have exaggerated the number of attempts they made to grab my arm in my memory of this particular moment, but it was likely only one of two.  I stubbornly clung to the dream world, and the car seat before me, believing that aliens were attempting to pull me from my bed for the purpose of abduction, and that I was irrationally trapped in that dream.

As dreams go, I was drifting from the tight narrative that I had established for what had happened.  I was a participant in an awful car accident in one dream.  In another, that I can only presume was an adjustment that my mind made to being touched, I was the victim of an alien abduction, and in another dream –presumably based on the external stimuli of seeing a number of men, perhaps three, looking into the car at me– I was an exhibit in a zoo.  The numerous flash dreams, I experienced, were a method my mind was using to help ease me into the reality of what was before me.

I pulled away from the hands touching me, that were trying to grab hold, and I shook my head to wake from this vividly detailed dream.  I remember hearing them argue about how best to extract me from the car without hurting me, and I think one of them said, “He’s fighting us.”  I thought I was trapped in that familiar zone between dream and reality where all dreams seem even more surreal.  I would later learn this is called the hypnagogic state.  I remember finding that definition and staring at it, and how learning that there was an actual name for this state gave this particular moment in my life more weight.

I don’t know how many times I shook my head, but there did come a time when I grew frustrated with my inability to wake in a world of Looney Tunes bedspread, a Star Wars curtain, and an Atlanta Falcons banner on the wall.  I was waiting to wake with that confused, but happy smile that laughs at how foolish I could be to believe all of this in real time.  I shook my head again, when it was apparent that all the other shakes wouldn’t wake me.  I wasn’t sure if I had dreamed the previous head shakes or not, so I kept shaking, but that last time made me think I had some weight on my forehead.  It felt like I had a low lying hat on my head.  I shook my head harder after that, and I tried to take that something off.  That one hurt.  That pain brought me closer to the reality of the situation, and I allowed the good men, standing outside the car, to pull me free.

“GOD!” I screamed when the sense of these people touching me became so surreal that it was finally clear to me that this was a real moment.  I’ve also considered the fact that I had so successfully incorporated the people touching me into my dream world that it was the heat of the day, on my skin, that broke the delusions.  Blood began pooling in my face and head, and I began hyperventilating and screaming as I looked around me at all of the horror and chaos that lay about in my immediate surroundings.  I reached a point in all of these extremes, that I simply went numb.  Then, I heard my brother begin crying, and I was soothed by that.  He was alive, I thought.  Everyone was alive.

“OH MY GOD!” I screamed attempting to thrash out of the arms that continued to hold me.  The men that held me were too strong for me to mount much of a defense.  I spotted my mom in those few seconds it took them to extract me from the car.  She was lying in a somewhat awkward position, her feet lying across the centerpiece floorboard.  All I remember seeing was her lower body, and the entire scene scared me into hysterics.  I don’t know how many times I screamed “OH MY GOD!” but I’m sure the spectators wished I could’ve found another way of expressing my shock at some point.

I was on the ground moments later.  A young kid was holding an ice pack to my head, “Is anyone dead?” I asked him about four to five times, before he finally gave me an answer.

“We’re not sure,” was what he said, after consulting with the adults that surrounded us.

Oh, my NFL Preview Guide is in the car,” I said switching concerns, “Let me grab it real quick.”

“We’ll get it,” one of the men said.

“It has Franco Harris on the cover,” I called out to the person that volunteered to perform a search.  When they couldn’t find it, I began either telling them where it should be, or trying to convince them to let me have a look.  When one of the men repeated that it couldn’t be found, I allowed that to be the final answer.

“Never been able to hold onto one of those things,” I told the young boy.  “I always lose them.”

“I’m sure they’ll get you one at the hospital,” he said with a wink that spoke volumes. 

Even though the kid was my senior by perhaps a year, his reassurance meant the world to me.  It was the big kid, on the playground, telling me that I was all right.  I didn’t know how cool he was, but being older provides a great deal of latitude in the arena of childish determinations.

As tattered and torn as my Guinness Book of World Records was, my annual NFL Preview Guides could be found just as tattered and torn by the start of an NFL season.  I not only knew stats, and the records or promise of records they held, I knew backup players, and the colleges those players attended.  The number on their jerseys were so imprinted in my mind, that if I saw a number I immediately associated that number with the player that had it on his jersey.  If general records, tracked by Guinness, were an obsession of mine, the NFL was my life.

I considered it my duty, as a fan, to hold onto these magazines through the season, and late into the post-season to read up on the players in the games, and to see how the experts had fared in their predictions.  I never could.  It never failed.  I either lost them, or my mom threw them away, I never knew which.  Whatever the case was, it provided me great consternation to learn that I had lost yet another NFL Preview Guide on the day of the accident.

TV broadcasters have generated some interest, of late, in the psychological study of a group of people called hoarders.  The fascination stems from the fact that we all have some hoarding tendencies in us, but these people have a mindset that borders on a psychosis that many of them have trouble explaining.  I became a hoarder the day I discovered that not only was all this random chaos occurring around me, but that I had lost another one of these NFL Preview Guides.

In the days, and years, that followed, I would learn the harsh reality of chaos, and my inability to control the events of my life, but I found unconscious solace in the belief that if I could just hold onto one of these magazines, into the NFL postseason and beyond, I might be able to stave off the feelings of loss that I experienced that day.

For the next twenty years, not only did I manage to save all subsequent NFL Preview Guides, but music magazines, and any other magazine I could find.  I was proud of the fact that I now had so many magazines, at one point in my life, that I could fill an entire closet with them.  There was some shame attached to it, shame I couldn’t explain, that led me to house them in a closet prying eyes would never see.

I rarely read any of these magazines a second time, but I did collate them by date, genre, and importance.  When I would purchase a new magazine, I would place that magazine with the others, in its select place to achieve a degree of order in my life that momentarily kept chaos at bay.

We’ve all seen desperation occur in these characters when friends and family pose the notion that, at least, some of the items these characters regard as precious must be discarded, and that these precious items should be deemed inconsequential, and even unhealthy clutter.  The initial reaction, of these hoarders is shock that their loved ones would characterize these precious items as clutter.  The next reaction, if they eventually achieve some sort of acceptance, is to desperately cling to some, too many, of the objects.  These hoarders aren’t ready to discard some of the items that they’ve become oddly attached to, even though the rest of us see these attachments as so unhealthy it could be termed a psychosis on their part. We don’t understand it.  They aren’t ready, I tell the person watching this show with me.  I understand it, because for many years I wasn’t ready either.

There was no such thing as the show Hoarders when I collected all of my magazines in trash bags.  I was slightly embarrassed by the total number of magazines I owned, but I never considered anything unhealthy about keeping them.  Should I have considered the idea of a grown man, holding a Dynamite magazine with Shaun Cassidy on the cover, at least a little unhealthy?  Perhaps, but it reminded me of those days I danced with my seven-year-old girlfriend to Do Run Run, and I wasn’t ready to let go of that memory of my happy youth for decades.

The magazines were in tall, green trash bags for transportation, as I was moving from one apartment to another.  I had no intention of throwing any of them away.  When I sat among them, however, I made a switch from the question of “should I throw these away” to “why can’t I?”  That latter question, though still not focused in mental health arenas, led me to believe that I had to throw these things away … just to do it.

I may have just pared this internal argument down to simple constructs for the reader, but it was not easy.  It was not another trash day, but I determined –without truly weighing it in the terms I am now– that I was ready to release the comfortable hold the magazines had on me.  Although, I would not know the term hoarder for decades, I would no longer be one from that day forward.

I cussed at Father Johnson that day in our hospital room, when he informed us that our mother “didn’t survive the accident”.  I can’t remember the exact word I used, but I know I cussed at him.  He appeared slapped, initially, and his lips trembled a little when the extreme nature of my shock subsided, and I apologized for doing it.

The trembling lips weren’t pronounced, but I later wondered how often he had had such a visceral reaction in a moment like that one.  He was the hospital priest, and I’m quite sure he had had these moments, with so many families, so often that he couldn’t help but consider most of them routine.  I’m also sure he had been cussed at before, I’m sure that he had had so many people that had reacted so poorly to his presence that he was somewhat used to it.  People blame the messenger, for the message.  They can’t help it.  What was, perhaps, different about this occasion was that a young boy had lost his mind, but that he was also a good boy that eventually came to his senses and realized that you don’t cuss as priests no matter what’s going on.

I never forgot the fact that my mom had died in those initial days, weeks, months, and years that followed the accident, as that fact reared its ugly head in my life on hundreds, if not thousands of occasions, but I did choose to misremember some of the horrific details of the incident that caused her death.  I did not forget the drama of losing a mother, but I did forget the trauma of it, and the painful return to routine that followed.  I chose to forget, without making a decision to do so, and this decision allowed me the stability I apparently needed to make it to the day I was medicated on morphine eight years later.

There is a mechanism in the brain that psychologists are just now starting to appreciate: The power to forget.  This renewed appreciation for the mind to reject memories that are not conducive to a person’s progress is similar, in some ways, to the liver ridding the body of impurities that will inhibit anatomical progress.  This renewed appreciation also goes against the importance of remembering that psychologists –dating back Sigmund Freud–believed to be of paramount interest to their patient.  They’re finding out that those patients that complained that not everything has to be remembered, and focused on, and worked through, are right.  Some of the times, it’s healthier to simply forget.

I wasn’t there, is the best description of the process I went through.  I didn’t choose to not be there, just like I didn’t engage in any sort of psychological process of dealing with it, but I did begin to fade out.  I began to become another person that knew how to deal with the normal traumas and drama that crippled most young boys.  I became a person that knew how to deal with matters of consequence, but I didn’t think that it was as vital as everyone was telling me that I should be the one doing it.

I got mad at my dad for wanting me to focus on our current situation so often, because I was trying to become someone that didn’t have to.  I wanted to become a person that had a different, better grasp on all this, but when people would ask me about it, I would simply say: “I don’t want to talk about it.”

Any psychologist of note would tell you that if I was trying to get healthy, I chose all of the wrong tools to get there, and I would pay dearly for that later.  I can tell you, however, that the mind is every bit the marvel the body is at mending itself and allowing the person to persevere.  The body’s ability to recover simply gets better press.

A palindrome is a word that begins as it ends, as it does with the words race car, dad and mom, but life could be said to be a palindrome in the same manner in that if we were able to truly cross timelines and see the lives we may have lived if we were unaffected by the specific tragedy that crippled out lives, we probably wouldn’t end up in a place much better than the one we’re in now.  Some are given to the belief that they would be happier, healthier adults if their childhood had been different.  They believe that if they could start all over, and their parents had more money; and their parents had been better parents; and if the negative events hadn’t occurred in the manner they did, they would be a lot happier.  While it’s undeniably true that we would be different, we would also undeniably have different events, and different psychoses that result from those events, until we ended up, like the palindrome, in a place that’s not that much different from the place we’re in right now.

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