Yeah, so last week? Sucked. Out loud. One of my top 10 worst weeks ever. I would say that it ranks up there with those weeks during law school where I thought I would never get a job. What occurred last week? Well, I’ll tell you.
First of all, my grandmother is not doing too well. She was diagnosed with colon cancer back in December and underwent surgery. The doctors think that they removed all of her tumor, and she was started on chemo (in pill form). For the first month or so, she did really well, but as the chemo built up in her system, she has become sick. As in throwing up all the time sick. Which I know everyone knows that is a side-effect of chemo, but when you are 87 years old being constantly nauseous and throwing up takes its toll. In addition, she became very weak and anemic, so her doctors now think she has internal bleeding. Which was the initial symptom of her cancer. So yeah, my grandmother is having some major health issues which has been a big source of stress for me since she and I are very close as she only lives 20 minutes from me.
On top of that, as everyone knows, on Monday were the VA Tech shootings (which I refuse to call the VA Tech Massacre as the media seems to delight in doing). I admit that the depth of my response to what happened shocked me. I was fortunate in that I did not know anyone who was injured or killed. But there are many factors that play into my shock and despair at what happened: my living in Virginia my entire life and attending a Virginia college, the large number or friends and family I have living in the Roanoke/Blacksburg area, the huge number of people I know that attended/ are attending VA Tech, and the three friends I have that were directly affected and themselves lost friends in last Monday’s tragedy. It’s difficult for people who aren’t living around here or know someone who was affected by the shootings to understand. Example: while talking to my brother on the phone this weekend (following a fight with my mother, see below), he questioned why I was “acting weird and freaking out.” I tried to explain everything that had happened during the week and when I arrived at VA Tech as a cause of my behavior, his response was, “VA Tech is over.” I am not relating this andicdote to accuse my brother of insensitivity (although he came this close to going to school there so I was surprised at his remark), but just to point out how living in Michigan and being separated from everyone here made it difficult for him to understand the impact of the events on campus. People grieve in different ways, and tragedies and loss affect us in different ways. For me, the events that occurred more than 6 hours away hit particularly close to home.
On Tuesday, following the news of my grandmother’s decline in health and the incidents at Tech, I pulled a muscle in my back. This may sound small, but as anyone who has ever pulled a muscle in your back knows, you spend the next week in pain. A lot of pain. And anyone who says pain is not stressful is a fool or has that weird disease like that girl on House last month whose nerve endings didn’t work so she didn’t know what pain was.
Finally, last week resulted in two (count ‘em, two) huge fights with me Mom. We are talking high school level fights. Where she basically made it clear to me that at that moment, she did not respect my request that she not share personal information concerning me and my family with strangers or that she take the time from cutting the freaking grass to listen as I discussed my sadness over the events earlier in the week. My problem with this, besides the obvious insensitivity it shows, is that I spend approximately 20% of discussions I have with my mom listening to her bitch about her job, how much she hates it, and how everyone there is mean to her. The one time, THE ONE TIME, I am emotionally freaked out and go to her for some sympathy, for a shoulder to cry on, I am dismissed out of hand and told to, I repeat, “get over it.” Her attitude was both surprising and disappointing. And I realize that my mother is a kind of strange person who always feels a need to fix things, who doesn’t understand that sometimes all I need is a friendly ear, blah blah excuses. But you know what? I am over it. I am over apologizing for other people’s faults and taking the high road. Because this time, I wanted her to listen. And she made it clear that was not something she could provide. And I don’t really care why. I am going to get mad at her and I am NOT going to feel guilty about it.
So there you go. The week from hell. But the weekend had some bright points, and so far this week has been better.