As we all know, the Universe sometimes is a dick. Like, a Donald Trump kind of dick. In fact, Donald Trump’s very existence is PROOF that the Universe enjoys shitting on people for no good reason. Haphazard diarrhea, discharged over random people’s lives, at unforeseeable moments. Life is always a bit unfair, but sometimes the Universe really wants to make it very clear that life is nothing but a game of luck, and some people are just meant to drown in misery inflicted on them by the Universe’s twisted sense of humor.
Often, I think my mother was one of them. I mean, it was almost comical her unending list of painful, life-threatening diagnoses, from the age of 14 until her death, as though the Universe was trying to see just how much it would take to break her spirit and her will to live. The longer her spirit held out, the more cruel the diagnoses she’d receive. She never had a break, that one. Not once. There never was a woman less deserving of the fate the Universe gave her. After a life trying to break free of the confines of her crippled, painful, walking pharmacy lifestyle, the Universe just snapped its fingers and took her from us one night, with no warning.
The Universe was definitely a complete asshole, when it came to my mother’s life.
After her death, my therapist diagnosed me with mild PTSD caused by the stress of living with my mother’s health – the constant helplessness in the face of her health, the fear every time I’d see the caller ID flash at an unusual time, wondering if that would be the moment I got unspeakable news.
Well, one of my dearest friends, Porcupine, seems to have been designated as the newest lightning rod for the Universe’s bolts of utter bullshit. His is not my story to tell, but suffice it to say that at a youngish age (<35) he is on par, if not perhaps ahead of my mother, in the race of Absolutely Terrible Things Happening For No Goddamn Good Reason. I’m not talking about comically unfortunate things, like toasters that breakdown after 1 year’s usage, an abnormal number of parking tickets or perhaps plumbing issues resulting in a few insurance claims. I’m talking about out-of-the-blue betrayals – the kind of backstabbing that permanently changes the path of a career and leaves a significant financial burden; real racism – the kind that leaves scars; and other events that till I met him, I believed only happened in implausible, poorly scripted Hollywood generic movies.
As with my mother, I feel helpless, and heartbroken. Porcupine is a good man – sometimes prickly on the outside, as a reasonable evolutionary defense mechanism after all the Universe has thrown at him. But he is sweet, kind, and generous. I watch him fight with courage and perseverance against the injustices he is faced with, and I support and cheer him on, feeling irrelevant, and hoping I am not irritating him. I mourn when I see the scars forming in his spirit. When there are so few good people in this world, it boggles my mind that the Universe tries to wreck the ones that do bring sweetness and joy to others lives. Break Trump, why don’t ya? Leave Porcupine alone.
From a selfish point of view, I hate this. I hate not being able to help. I hate watching Porcupine, and my mother before him, suffer. I want to suffocate him with love, and am perpetually torn between the desire to shower him with affection, and the realization that really, that would only make ME feel better, and would probably irritate him, and be perceived as another burden – he’d have to reassure me, when really there are no reassurances for the stuff he is living through. Worse yet, I don’t want to give the impression I pity him – I don’t. So I sit back, give space, and hope that through his misery, my love and concern for him peep through – and if they don’t, I accept that really, that isn’t a big deal.
From a sentimental, superstitious point of view, I petition my mother to look out for him. Kinda like a Patronus Charm in Harry Potter, I hope she can shield him from the inferno of his life.
Life sucks. And my coping mechanisms (crying endlessly, like a watering pot) are inadequate.