The Phoenix Zine

Pushing Through for Summertime

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I do not know how many times in my life I’ve said I am tired.  Over the years, I have come to realise the word tired is grossly inadequate to even begin to describe how I have felt and feel lately.

I’ve been drowsy, to the point where I can’t keep my eyes from closing.

I’ve felt faint and annoyed when I haven’t had something to eat in a while.

I’ve been run-down after a night of poor sleep.

I’ve been sick of being sick.

I’ve felt drained from parties where I’ve had to socialize for hours at a time.

I’ve been exasperated by a lack of answers about my medical condition.

And I’ve been broken-down to the point where I can’t even think anymore because my brain is spinning so much it won’t settle. 

There are many synonyms for tired, but the one I’ve been feeling lately is weary.  Saturday will mark the five month anniversary of my heart transplant, and at times I’ve been so weary I don’t know how I keep going.  The worst times are when the exhaustion I feel overwhelms me, and all I can do is cry from the stress and emotion of the past year.

I hold on tightly to my emotions, trying my best not to show weakness or faitigue or fear or need to anyone.  I struggle to be reliant only upon myself, to keep up the facade that I take everything in stride and always have a positive attitude.  When that facade cracks, I feel weak and fearful and out of control.

Because the truth is while transplants are joyful, wondrous and awe-inspiring, they are also painful, demanding and emotionally-draining.

But something I’ve learned is that the crying eventually stops on its own.  I haven’t completely accepted yet that it is okay and normal even to show weariness in front of my friends, and yet my friends are the ones who have helped me through those times when I have been weary.  Talking about how I feel and what is actually going on in my life makes me feel like I can breathe a bit easier.  Somehow the load of my grief is lessened in the sharing.

Another thing I’ve come to learn is allowing myself to feel bad when things are bad does not mean I’ve lost hope, it means I am human.  Letting the grief out doesn’t mean that’s all I’m going to feel for the rest of my life.  Instead, life is a mix of ups and downs, good moments, hard moments, sad moments, joyful moments – they tend to get all mixed in together.

It’s funny, because as I write this I’m listening to the Barenaked Ladies’ new cd, All in Good Time.  The song Summertime is playing, and the lyrics are perfect for what I am trying to express. 

So, bundle up
And hunker down
See you on the other side
Mercury falls so
How, how do we make it though the days?
How do we not cave in, and bottom out?
Well, you have to understand that
Soon enough we’ll wake up from such a daze,
thanks to all the many ways
We’re all pushing through, for Summertime

The Ladies are talking about our legendary Canadian winters, but the same can be said of grief and hope.  Except it is my experience that there is a Summertime in almost every day, no matter how short or small it may seem.  And that is what gets me through the times when my weariness closes over me.