Sometimes I wish I could cry. Not just tear up at a sad movie or bad news...but a real full blown break-down cry. But I've built myself into this person that just doesn't do that. Years back, when I was working 32-40 hours with full time school and motherhood, I would break down every few months. I would just collapse with no reason and cry for 5, 10, 15 minutes and my husband would sit beside me on the floor and hold my hand or hug me until I was done. There was nothing WRONG to speak of but I just needed to get out the frustration of the weeks, the way a newborn cries at the end of a long day to get through all the stimulation. But since then?
I've built up to this person of "strength". People just expect me to carry on and not loose it. When Hannah was sick in the hospital I had (in my opinion) more right than anyone to fall apart...but I couldn't. I had to hold it together and find a job since I had just graduated. I was now a nurse so I had to be pulled together enough to talk to the doctors and make informed decisions. I had to sit by my daughter's bedside and hold her hand for 6 days straight because the only time I left for a few hours the whole world fell apart in that hospital room. I had to keep everyone informed and up to date, rather than just collapse at her bedside and shut out the world. (Side-note, none of this was because Zach WOULDN'T, it's just a standard I put on myself.)
When my dad got sick? Same thing all over again. I have to be the medical one and explain to everyone what every test and lab means. I have to be strong and understanding so that my little sister can fall apart each time something goes wrong and doesn't have to feel obligated to help at all. I have to keep a smile on every time I'm talking to him about these things so that Hannah doesn't see how much it breaks my heart...cause that would scare her too. I have to understand every word and every moment without emotionally reacting to all of it. Right after his surgery I fell apart once at a friend's house for about 5 min. His surgery was in Aug '09.
I have made myself (at no one else's fault) into this person that everyone always expects to see strength from. I'm the caregiver, not the person to be cared for. I make myself the person that people go to when things are really bad, and try not to put it back on them. I've been told by people that they admire how strong I can be when times are tough. That it's really a characteristic that is wonderful.
But what many people don't understand is that being strong isn't easy. Just because I don't break down and cry, doesn't mean that it doesn't hurt just as much. Just because I don't ask for a shoulder to cry on, doesn't mean I couldn't use one. Just because I say everything will be okay, doesn't mean I really think that. Just because I smile doesn't mean I'm not heartbroken inside. And just because I act "strong" doesn't mean I'm not just as scared and sad and angry as you.