I get so scared thinking that the “other shoe will drop.”  It comes in waves that I can’t stop whenever Rin is out by herself, when Joe (my SO) is late coming home, whenever anyone is late… It feels like unreasonable, yet reasonable, fear…

It goes something like this:

I send a message to Rin asking when she thinks she will be home.  I don’t get an immediate reply.  I wait as long as I can to check the time I sent my message – sometimes I can wait a whole minute.  There still is no reply.  I hear sirens in the distance, this is a small town, there’s probably an accident somewhere.  I check my phone again, still no reply.  The sirens are about Rin.  The police won’t contact me right away.  Which direction are the sirens coming from?  Would she be coming into town from the North, South, maybe she took a backroad and will come in from the East side.  Do I go find her?  Should I stay home?  Wait.  It may not be about her.  She is probably busy and can’t check her phone.  Maybe she’s hurt.  All this takes place in the span of a few minutes and I check my phone again.  This frenzy of fear circles in my mind like a cruel tape on repeat until I hear back from Rin.

I tell myself I’m being irrational and nothing will happen – but I am never quite sure.  Sometimes I can’t sleep.  I was waiting up for Roo to come home the night of the accident, but I fell asleep on the couch.  The doorbell woke me up at 4am.  It was the police.  It seems that I cannot let go, let loose, loose control or escape from the moment or something bad will happen.  I get jealous of those who can drink themselves into oblivion to escape reality for just a moment.  I get too scared that if I escape it will be that moment or that time that Rin will need me and I won’t be able to help her.

I call it “the tape.”  I have many of them that run at different times.  I have a tape that runs for Gem, the daughter I lost eleven years ago.  A tape for Jim, my step-dad that passed four years ago.  Now one that seems to run constant for my Roo.  Each tape is different, but they all include versions that revolve around their death – the moments leading up to it, what I was doing before and during, and what (if anything) I could have changed.

The tapes for Roo are triggered by just about anything – white Ford trucks, boys in cutoff tee-shirts and ball caps, the sound of big trucks going down the road, fresh tilled dirt, chocolate milk, pop can tabs, the Army, the Marines.  Face Book can be particularly hard – his friends moving on with their lives, posting pictures and moments of engagements, going mudding with their trucks…

I was diagnosed with PTSD following Gem’s death.  I started seeing a counselor after her death and have seen him off and on over the past eleven years.   My insurance doesn’t cover his visits anymore, but he cuts me a break to see him, but it doesn’t feel right to take up his time without adequate compensation.  I know it has been compounded with losing Jim and Roo.  I recognize some of the patterns with grief with each one – the tapes, regret, pain.  Although each is different they are also the same.  How many times can a heart be ripped in pieces and glued back together before it can no longer mend?  With so much glue can it even be called a heart anymore?  Each break results in pieces lost… I worry about worrying too much for Rin, but how can I not?  After I lost Gem I worried for ten years that something would happen to Roo and Rin – and it did.  Maybe my unreasonable fear is very reasonable…

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