The Bittersweet

I know I’ve talked about this before but I think I really just skimmed the surface.

While there are many advantages to living in such a small place, there are also disadvantages.

We interact with almost everyone on a daily basis.  When we run the only store in town, it’s inevitable.  When someone dies, chances are, we’ve just seen them or talked to them and at the minimum have gotten to know them at least a little.  I have to admit too, that most people we met, we’ve grown to really like.

The downside to that is when a person dies, it really affects you.   You miss that person, you’ve lost that person, it’s never going to be the same not seeing them again.

It’s happened four times now.  In less than four years.  Yesterday morning when I was crying over Val’s death, I told Howard that it’s just too traumatic and I wasn’t sure I could handle it anymore.  All this death;  at close  distances, with people we know and like.  I talked to Val everyday.  Sold her a Large Slush Puppy daily when she got off work and she and I would talk about what was going on in our lives.  There was a time when she opened up to me in the store after losing her temper with her boyfriend.  We talked a long time about depression and anxiety.  I wouldn’t say we were close friends by any means but we were always kind to each other and I’m sad that she’s dead.

I can’t get my last image of her out of my head.  Just like I can’t shake Roger’s, or James’, or Richard’s.  Everytime I saw them last, they were in the store.   I looked them in the eyes.  And we all parted on good terms.  I’m happy about that.

But I’m sad that I’m in a job that puts me in that position so much.

I also understand that when I’m nursing, I will face death everyday.  Howard, even while holding me and comforting me yesterday, asked how I was going to handle it when my patients died, if I couldn’t handle all the trauma of loss on a small scale.

I explained that it would be more anonymous thus affecting me less.  That’s not to say that I’m heartless and I won’t be affected when I lose a patient but I most of them, more than likely, I will have never met.  I won’t know if they like raspberry slush puppies, how they sound when they laugh, if they talk with a lisp when they say my name, or if they love their dog.  I won’t know that and it will allow me to be less traumatized by it all.

I guess I could try to put a positive spin on it and be grateful that I did know these people.  That I allowed them to touch my life and get into my heart.  I do recognize that without pain there would be no compassion.

I guess I should be happy that I am so affected.  But it doesn’t make it hurt any less.

2 Responses

  1. Jen Says:

    Chris,
    Always remember that you touch so many hearts with your kindness.
    Your friends and family in heaven are watching over you and Howard even if they can not be with you. I’m sure as I do that they will also cherish the time they spent with you.
    My AK friend, you are a keeper.
    Hugs from me to you.
    Jen

  2. Chris Says:

    And you my CO friend are a keeper too. My cup truly runneth over in friends like you. I love you!

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