My whole life, I’ve always been the rock, the one people count on. But what happens when I need someone to count on?
My parents got divorced when I was 12. My brother and sister, who are both older than me, took it very hard. I, being the young, naive, Cathleen, was oh so lightheartedly trying to boost their spirits every chance I got. That was when my sister and I got close.
My friends always come to me with their problems. It is so nice to know that I am who they think of when they go through a break up or have their own family troubles. But who has been single for 3 years? Me. Whose family life is rather messed up? Mine. Am I qualified to give good advice? Not particularly but I try my hardest.
When my mom told us she was remarrying, my brother, being a 20 year old male, was whatever about it. My sister hated my mom and I did too at the time. It was hardly a year after she and my dad had been divorced. So, I was my sister’s venting mechanism. My dad was tore up. He thought my mom was going to move away and take me with. He would tell me he would scared he would never see me again. So here goes Cathleen, carefully reassuring my dad that wouldn’t happen, trying to make sure he didn’t become a complete basket-case.
Now, when my dad got sick, stage 4 lung cancer, I was bound and determined I would be one of those people that others praise. Positive, reassuring, and never waivering in my feelings. I didn’t want to let my family know how much trouble I was having emotionally. My dad told everyone I was his rock, his reason to fight. That is a helluva lot of pressure to put on a 16 year old.
My mom majored in psychology in college, but ended up being a journalist. She started to recognize signs of depression in me. Uh-oh. Someone knows I’m not a rock solid, emotionless mass. When I was at my mom’s house, -which was very rare in the time my dad was sick, for I was the only one who lived with him and I had to make sure he was okay- I slept non stop. I was very irritable and unpredictable. I told my mom I felt like the situation would never end. At one point, I honestly felt that suicide would be the only way I could relieve what I was feeling.
My dad’s sisters were emotional messes. Tears every time I spoke to them about my dad. My sister felt like I was putting all this pressure upon myself. My brother told me I was being selfish. My grandmother would just tell me I was okay. My friends didn’t understand.
So, who was there when I needed someone? Myself. Funny how that works.