I was the first person to be called when his parents split up. I still remember it clearly, like it was yesterday, “shit has hit the fan, mum’s leaving dad”. You could easily tell from his voice that he was crying, shaking uncontrollably and just trying to wrap his head around what is happening now and more importantly what was going to happen next.
I didn’t know what I could possibly do to help, I consider myself one of the few lucky people out there who had a family stick together. Sure, my parents fought, I don’t delude myself by thinking otherwise it just never went nuclear. So I did what I knew I could do, I listened.
We all have alliances with friends, family and co-workers. These alliances create pillars that support our lives throughout our adventures. Things will change, the foundations will shift and people come and go from your life.
I’ve been very lucky in life. I have a circle of friends that have been around since I was about thirteen and we are still just as tight as we were. So last night when a friend came to me with a major problem, I really started stressing. Not out of anything selfish, but weaknesses in the structure will have a flow-on affect to the rest of the building.
I don’t like seeing people hurting, especially the mainstay people in my life who I talk to almost daily and share things that maybe I don’t share to some other people. After this late-night gut spill I tried to go to sleep, I couldn’t. I started worrying. Is he really OK? Will he be able to handle this? Of course he can! Is there more I can do to help? Should I go down and visit him? Do I find something to help take his mind off it? Things like this rattled around in my head for a few hours until I finally blinked out for the night.
I’ve always tried to separate myself from other people’s problems. I’ve always found that while I can help where needed, it’s not something I can afford to obsess over, as it would take focus from something I can be in control of. I don’t like losing sleep over my own issues and would get irritable if someone expected me to lose sleep over theirs. This time it wasn’t the case.
I know him well enough to know how strong he can be when he needs it. He effectively became the man of the house after his parents split, he fought depression off a few times and has taken plenty of life’s obstacles head-on. He’s a grown-up who can look after himself. But this knowledge didn’t help last night.
I know he hates to think that his problems have passed onto someone else; he isn’t the sort of person who likes that contagious, drama-infected life. I honestly wouldn’t have even expected this to affect me as strongly as it has. It’s not like he’s dumped this pile of shit on me and then said “deal with this for me, will ya?” I know he came to me for advice, reassurance. I tried to not use that old adage “if you need someone to talk to, I’m here”. He already knew that, which is what sparked the conversation in the first place, he knows I have his back.
I know if it all gets too much, he’ll come home to be closer with his family, that’s what he does when life has thrown too many lemons at him. And he knows if he needs my help, I’ll drop everything to go to help him out without any hesitation.
I guess the thing I’ve learned today is just how easily a slight crack in one of your pillars can make you rush around in a panic trying to find a way to fix it.
Get well, real soon, buddy.