I share this part of my journey in the effort to help you realize you are never, ever alone. If you feel alone, reach out and make friends. Make new friends and stay in contact with the old through FB, the telephone, Skype… however and in any way you can.
As I look back on my life, there has rarely been no one there. At times it has definitely felt as though no one was there. I still don’t know who all is there through thick and thin or who will not judge me after writing this blog. However, I still put myself out there. Friends will never abandon you unless you’re just not a good match.
When I was in my late teens, early 20s, my mom was there. We’d hang out, play board games, and I would share with her what was going on in my life.
I had a friend I stayed in contact with over the years whose daughter is now a close friend. I really miss her as she lives on the opposite side of the U.S. and stays super busy. He was a former engineering instructor who I took a class from then babysat for. Eventually he took me to musical events and plays. He’d always be there to chat.
When I needed a job and was still affiliated with the church I was raised, Maggie reached out and secured employment. The Visan family stuck up for me even though they suffered severe political backlash because of it – which I heard about much, much later.
When my mom died, and my dad weirded out, I fled to a couple’s house who housed me for the latter half of my ’98-99 stint at George Fox. He was welcoming. His wife was not happy. I’m thinking she was worried and scared for me and upset that I kept going back to my crazy life.
I guess I didn’t have anyone solid who was there for me during the ’98-99 school year. I did talk to whoever crossed my path in the effort to wrap my brain around what was going on. There was also a former student-friend from MHCC who would come and go in my life that year while I was at Fox. I was so lost and confused that I was pretty much drowning in my confusion.
After the ’98-99 school year, I went home. After my dad completely freaked me out, I went solo and disappeared from everyone I knew except my engineering instructor-friend I referred to earlier as he was not a part of that church system. At that time, I was scared out of my mind and was quite uncertain if there was anyone safe who I could contact. Anyone who reached out to me suffered political repercussions as I was unwittingly weaning myself away from an ultra-conservative church I was raised. I just didn’t know who to trust.
Eventually I did reach out to Mary who got me in touch with a wonderful family. They housed me until I found a job and immediately transferred me to an apartment. I was totally not ready for that. They told me to contact them if I needed anything, but I didn’t believe them nor did I reach out. I felt abandoned. However, they only had my best wishes in mind.
Then I met a guy who seemed to be there for me. He’d always show up and would feed me. He’d also listen. We were in a comfortable relationship – or so I thought – until he freaked out and went crazy.
Once again, I had nowhere to go. Those I reached out to could only house me for a very short period of time. The shelters were full. I had to make a phone call each week at a certain day during a certain time. My anxiety was so high I didn’t know what day was which or what time it was. I literally could barely function physically or mentally.
Another solution I was offered told me that I needed to sever all ties with my -ex forever. I wasn’t ready for that. I wanted to make sure I did everything I could resolve the situation which meant I needed to stay in contact with him. I was also uncertain as to what to do with my things. In the meantime, I desperately needed respite. I was totally exhausted. I didn’t know how long it would take to recoup. I estimated it would take about 6 months. Even then I wasn’t sure if I could find employment by then. What would I do if I ran out of time? A couple of friends offered two weeks. Two weeks max was just not long enough.
Thankfully I was accepted back to George Fox and Dwight was there. He spent hours and hours and hours with me. Eventually I made friends with students, but this took a long time as I didn’t know who to trust. Nor was I certain if they’d abandon me as well. Dwight was a mentor, surrogate father, spiritual counselor, and eventually became a wonderful friend. I was too chicken to call him my friend. I felt honored when he shared with me that he considers me to be his friend. I do not know what I would do without him. He’s the reason I made it through George Fox and financially made it possible for me to make it through Creighton. No one else that I know of would do 1/8 of what he did for me.
There was also a couple who from the summer of 2005 through the middle of my time in Misawa always had an open door. I would find refuge there in between jobs or when I needed a place to stay while visiting the area. In addition, Craig and Karen would listen to my stories. They gave a sense that they cared.
Then I landed at Creighton. That was the craziest year of my life. However, I made the best friends I could ask for. Amanda is still a very close friend. Then there is Hilary who I connect with from time to time. Mary Parsons is still a wonderful friend. She was so very, very kind to me at the last bit of my nursing learning endeavor while at Creighton. Her kindness made the intense year of craziness to be an great accomplishment. The reason why I reached out to people who have become life-long friends was through Beth Furlong. What I’d do without her, I do not know.
Beth always seems to know when to come into my life. She reached out to me even though I had no idea she was there. I vividly remember the afternoon where she took us all out to eat at an ethnic restaurant. While we were eating, she asked me if I had any friends. She strongly encouraged me to make friends. It was because of acting on her suggestion that I made the best friends I could ask for. Towards the end of the school year, when she learned I was going to Johns Hopkins hospital in Baltimore for my preceptorship, she hooked me up with a former student who is still a friend.
I will never forget Beth’s kindness. But even more so, her prayers. This winter I experienced the most significant time of my life symptom-wise. There have been dark times, but this time I reacted. I reacted more severely than when I escaped my dad’s mayhem – when the PTSD symptoms initially peaked. That was bad. This was even worse.
Whenever Beth would send positive energy my way, I would feel it. It was nothing like I had ever experienced. I would feel a burst of energy and clarity of mind just when I needed it. I felt healing in a way that only her healing energy would perform. It was mindboggling and absolutely wonderful. What I would have done without Beth, I have no idea.
Then, when I was feeling alone, she appeared in person and brought her family. I was amazed that she would go out of her way – during the holiday season – and make an effort to visit me in person while she was on vacation. This involved driving south from Seattle which takes at least an hour each way. What friend would do that??
The only other person who would go out of their way for me is Derek who drove at least two hours to visit me on my birthday – the only one who celebrated that milestone with me – and he couldn’t even afford the gas. He also drove a day’s trip each way to visit me in Republic then in Neah Bay.
When I needed someone to talk to over the phone to stay sane while freaking out about an exam, I would go through my contact list and many would be there. Miracles happened when Newberg Friends Church prayer group prayed on my behalf. I learned to contact NFC each time I had difficulties.
When I landed in Republic, then Neah Bay, Derek and Amanda were always there. We’d have long conversations over the phone. Derek and Amanda are true friends who have been with me through thick and thin. I am confident I will never have to worry about disappointing them, failing them, or their abandoning me. I’m very grateful.
While in Neah Bay, Tammie Ward reached out to me and always made sure I had what I needed – including that all-important fire that when I just couldn’t manage to start it on my own. She was always there to rescue me.
Then, when I was in Misawa, there were always coworkers from Family Advocacy and people from the MedGroup. When I was home, I’d spend hours and hours chatting with Brian over Skype. Alicia King also reached out. Gonzaga’s online Masters program also made life much less lonely.
Then I landed back stateside. Once again I felt alone. I’d frequently drive down to Newberg. Then the door was shut. I had to figure out another way to feel less lonely.
I figured out other options. My uncle has an open door policy. Dave Cundiff makes sure I attend Olympia Friends Meeting. Farrelli’s is always for a daily hug – especially when I am missing Howard Macy’s bear hugs. There are also favorite people I love to see in other local businesses. Now I’m making more friends through a drama class I took and a Toastmasters group at State Farm. I was even able to reunite with relatives I’ve never seen before who, the other day, have offered an open door policy as well. I feel very lucky.
Thus, I am rarely alone. I might feel alone. I might wonder if anyone is there. I might wonder if anyone cares. However, all I have to do is reach out.
I hope you are never alone. If you feel alone, reach out. Find someone, anyone. Go anywhere and do anything to find friends. If friends or family are unhealthy, make new ones. Reunite later if things change.
You are never alone. If you feel alone, it doesn’t have to last long. It’s tough not to feel lonely. However, you rarely have to be alone.