Messed Up Inside
I was recently having a conversation with a guy that was buying an old ’66 Chevy truck from me and he had asked me if I had any children. There was a time I hated when people asked me that question because I wasn’t sure how to answer it. However, now I just answer it head on, “I have two children and both have passed away.” Some people quickly respond with “I’m sorry” and move on uncomfortably in the conversation. I am never sure what they mean by “I’m sorry.” Are they really sorry about my loss or are they sorry they asked the question and now have to deal with awkwardness of the conversation. Maybe they mean both. However, there are those who will actually stop and acknowledge what was said and sincerely say “I’m sorry” and not allow you to change the discussion until you understand that they really are sorry.
Well, the guy who was buying my truck fell into the later crowd. I could tell he was sincere and he wasn’t afraid of discussing it. After a few minutes of telling my story and about how the book came to be, he blurts out “that would mess me up inside.” Without pause I turned to him and said “it messes everyone up inside, it’s just part of the deal.” I then said “don’t let the smile and my ability to stand here and bullshit about the truck fool you, I am messed up inside, in fact it really fucked me up for a long time.” His response, “I can’t even imagine.”
I have learned, like many bereaved parents, to continue living and enjoying life the best I can, but that doesn’t mean something hasn’t changed inside. Not all of its bad and not all of its good, just messed up. I’ve become more compassionate towards others but also less tolerant of others. I don’t take people’s bullshit anymore (never really did, but it’s gotten worse) and I have become more direct with my comments. I generally get to the point and not dance around stuff like I once did.
I have also changed my approach of living, mainly out of necessity. A fellow co-worker mentioned to me that he and his new girlfriend have a saying “we need to start living the KFL.” He then told me that it stood for “Kelly Farley Lifestyle.” I had to remind him that that lifestyle is a result of burying two children and the realization that life is too short. Both have corporate jobs and allow the companies to work them 60-70 hours per week. They are also convinced that the company will fail if they don’t work those hours. I on the other hand work my 40 hours a week and go home. My wife is a teacher and was off all summer so I decided to take every Friday off with her and enjoy our time together to enjoy the summer.
I use to work non-stop, concerned I was letting the company down but I learned after the loss of my children that I had been letting myself down. Life is not meant to spend at the office working long hours and weekends. I have found a balance and when things are off balance it’s generally in my favor, not the other way around. I’ve learned it’s about spending time with yourself and family doing what you love to do. I also learned quickly that the more you give, the more they will take. If you give less, they will find someone else who will do more.
So to get back to the point of this posting; yes, I am messed up inside and see things from a different perspective than I use too, but that’s just the way this thing goes. I could write another book just on this topic and all of the other things messed up inside of me, but I would rather open it up to all of you.
What is messed up inside of you (good or bad)?