The Sweetness of Parting
(original post February 8, 2014)
This is my favorite time of the week to sit and put some of my thoughts on the computer screen. Saturday morning. Cup of coffee. Reflection on the long week behind me knowing that, today, the snow and ice that I see outside don't require anymore shoveling. Rest.
Last evening, most of my extended family and I met at my father-in-law's for pizza, salad, and just some good conversation. For years, I would sit in that same place with the same people and silently numb myself with a few Manhattans followed by several beers. Of course, the Klonopin I took “forever” certainly facilitated the speed and completeness of the numbing. Those days are long gone, and I can now actually enjoy the company in a way that the chemicals would never allow. I didn't know what I was missing all those years.  
Anyway, my daughter and grandson (Eli) were the first to leave last evening. So, I took some things out to her car as she carried Eli. Once she had him strapped into his seat, she turned and we hugged. We had hugged earlier in the house before going outside. As she started the car and pulled away, we waved to each other. It brought back so many thoughts and memories from the past concerning our ever-changing relationship and how my withdrawal from benzos affected that relationship and all my relationships. More specifically, as I was walking back to the house after she departed, I thought about “partings” and how they have changed because I have changed.
I have always been the type of person who wears his heart on his sleeve (at least when I was sober). As our kids got older and moved out (although neither moved very far away), it was often difficult for me when we would part after being together. If they came to see us, I would always go out onto the porch and wave to them as they drove away. It was my custom, and I would always have a type of “sadness.” It was the “empty nest” syndrome I suppose – certainly a normal reaction and nothing to be upset about. It has always reminded me of the line from Romeo and Juliet - “Parting is such sweet sorrow....” I knew I would see them again, but I knew I would miss them in the interim. If not taken to an extreme, it's probably a healthy thing.
Of course, last evening I was thinking about how it was when I was in withdrawal. Parting with others was completely different and extremely painful. It was very sorrowful – but for completely different reasons. When I was in withdrawal, my wife worked part time as an RN. When she would leave in the morning to go to work (or anywhere), I would stand at the front window and wave to her. I rarely went outside (too afraid). It was extremely painful. It was exceedingly sorrowful. I mourned – not because I would miss her but because I missed the person who used to hug her and go outside and wave goodbye to her with the “I will miss you” kind of healthy sorrow. I missed him desperately with a near hopelessness that he would ever return.
My son would drop by usually two or three times a week when I was in withdrawal to see how I was doing and to bolster his mother's spirit. I could not speak to him. It was all I could do to sit in the same room with him. I was a zombie. When he would leave, we would hug (more out of habit than anything), and I would stand at the window and wave. He has always been my best buddy. I missed his best buddy so very much (and so did he). I had no emotion except sorrow so extreme that I could cry no tears (as I am doing right now just thinking about how absent from him I was for two years).
My daughter rarely visited during my withdrawal. When she was young, we were very close. When my “illness” began way back in her teen years (when I was put on Klonopin and a host of other psych drugs for multiple disorders that never existed), a gap formed between us. She had not only lost the strongest person in her life, but that person became as weak as an infant. We became adversaries. It was ugly. She has never been good at dealing with sickness. So, during my withdrawal, she avoided me for the most part. There was no parting or waving simply because she rarely visited.
That is what prompted my thoughts last evening and made it so “special” for me. The person I missed for so very long had returned. He was right there last evening hugging his little girl. He had missed him for so long. She had missed him too. He was back...for good.
Parting now is completely different from the way it has ever been. There is a “sweetness” about it. I think the reason is pretty simple. For two years, I went on a journey into the depths of what for me was a type of hell. I was gone from others who thought that I would never return. I thought I would never return...although I always had a kernel of hope that existed somewhere deep inside my being. It was diametrically opposed to the lies my brain kept beating me with.
My family and everyone else who watched me crawl out of the abyss now know that the reason for my two-year absence was benzo withdrawal (something that nearly no one believed while I was suffering). They know I will never leave again. I know I will never leave again. It is over. Somehow that makes partings now sweeter than ever before because we know the partings are temporary. In particular for me, I am certain that there is no parting that could be nearly as painful for me as the one I've already endured.
This must be how Frodo and all his fellow Hobbits felt once the ring was destroyed and they returned to the Shire.  
Being together is wonderful, but parting is good too. The infinite darkness is no more. All is as it should be.
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