Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Negative Rep

To my son Tommy,

Last night was spent with Grandpa Leo at the ER for another seizure due to his brain cancer tumor. Last night I was close to breaking as we dealt with this. This is obvious when you read my social media status where I degraded into using a bad (albeit quite utilitarian word) to describe how I feel about all this. The slightly censored version would read  "F*@# brain cancer... F*@# seizures... F*@# hospitals" as I let the world know how I felt in a less than poetic way. Just a few hours before I was all laughs and jokes and now I was filled with anger and hate.

In my journey through the forty plus years of my life, I have found that sometimes you have to get mad to get through. It is easy to replace tears with piss and vinegar. Anger sometimes helps you push off dealing with all those "weak" emotions so you can get by and get things done that need to be done. They call them weak emotions but that really isn't true, as it shows more strength to cry and show your true feelings despite the stigma. But these emotions are very overwhelming and can sometimes hinder the task at hand, so if you replace them with something, you can cope better with what you have to do. You will still have to deal with all of it later, as this is simply a delaying tactic.

If you ever get into lifting weights, you will eventually learn about the negative rep. This is when you load up the bar (for say a bench press) with a high amount of weight and you lower it (which they call the negative part of the motion) as slowly as possible. At first it seems easy, and you begin to question if you put on enough weight. You think to yourself, "I can handle this!" Then as you continue lowering it slowly, your muscles begin to fatigue and burn. You would swear someone added weight to the bar without you seeing. You think to yourself, "I can still handle this. I got this." You continue further and further in the motion and the weight gets unbearable, and you switch from lowering the weight to trying to push it back up with every ounce of energy you have. You grunt, you groan, you sometimes even yell as you try to will the weight back up. You get angry at it and you pull from deep in your emotional well, but no matter how much you fight back, the weight still is coming down as if it is hell bent on crushing you. Then finally it touches your chest and hopefully your spotter helps you pick it back up to the starting the point. You look at him with this incredulous face as he says, "That was one. You ready to go again?" Do it again? Didn't he just see what you went through?

I have found anger as a way to get through. It is not the best way. It is not something to be proud of. It can hurt those around you. But unfortunately it is one of the only ways I know to get through this and get things done that need to be done without becoming a bucket of tears babbling to myself in the corner. I hope you don't follow my example and I hope you find a better way. Because for all that anger, all that screaming and yelling and cursing and fighting back, that weight is still coming down. It is only through the help of God and the help of others, our spotters in life, that we can return the weight back to the normal position. When life gets hard, find that way and rely on those around you for help, and more importantly, when life gets hard for people around you, be that way for them.

Sincerely with love from your dad,

P.S. Your Grandpa Leo is now home from the hospital and they made a slight adjustment (which is more a guess and that is why doctors call it a practice) to his meds, but unfortunately they also said we can pretty much expect more of this from time to time as things progress. As for me, I am at that point where I am looking tot he heavens at the ultimate spotter with that incredulous look on my face as He allows the weight to come down yet again.

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