Well, getting lost around here is not such a good idea. The desert is quite unforgiving. And it’s very large so you’d have to go a long way to lose yourself, in which case you might not come back! So instead I offer the last time I was emotionally lost, in a big way. This is a photo of Joy sitting on the Spanish Steps in Rome last September. We were on our way to Tuscany and spending a night in Rome before we took the train up there.
We have 4 daughters between us. They’re all grown and doing well, except for my oldest, who has had severe emotional problems since 18. She’s 40 now so it’s been a long haul. She lives in NYC, and refuses to move anywhere else. Just before we left on this trip she lost her apartment (which I was paying for) because according to the other tenants she was a nuisance. Basically she was thrown out. Not the first time!
So I was desperately trying to find her a place to live while we were preparing to leave. I was forced to choose between expensive hotels and the streets for her. Getting an apartment takes weeks. So it was hotels. Every day we’d look for as reasonable a hotel as possible while searching for an apartment as the departure date fast approached.
We weren’t going to cancel our long planned trip to Italy so we took off into the unknown, hoping she’d be able to stay off the streets while we were gone. We set her up in a hotel that should have worked fine for the time we were gone. But When we arrived in Rome we discovered she’d been evicted from that hotel.
So here we were in Rome, exhausted from an overnight flight, wanting to just sleep for a couple of hours, hungry, and faced with a daughter who had no place to stay and no money. On top of that it was difficult to reach her from there. I fell into a complete state of emotional collapse. I was lost for sure and had no idea what to do. Jumping out the window actually seemed like a pretty good idea. But of course I held myself together with an enormous amount of support from Joy.
So we put all the drama aside, rested for awhile, got lunch, and then figured out a way to get her a place to stay until we returned. But that feeling of being completely, utterly lost emotionally was just under the surface the whole time. I can still feel it if I let myself.
We eventually found an apartment when we got back and she’s ok until the lease is up. She promised to get a job and pay the rent – this time. But of course she hasn’t. What we’ll do then – I have to be on the lease, she has a 300 FICO score, have you ever heard of one so low? – I have no idea. We’ve tried everything, believe me.
What I do know is I’ll be much more careful with my emotions next time. I won’t let myself get that lost again. It was a horrible experience and I don’t want to repeat it. It’s one thing to feel uncomfortable and quite another to be driven to the edge. One needs to know the difference and use self-care as the touchstone.