The Emotional Life

I went on COBRA last week because I no longer get my health insurance through my employer. I read all the paper work carefully and submitted it, but I didn’t pay the premium because I thought I had time. Big mistake.

My daughter called.

“Why is there no coverage?”

She was at the pharmacy. I went into a mild panic. I couldn’t put two sentences together. I was short of breath for a few minutes, My hands were clammy. I was alone at the time and thought how would I get my magic pill? I can’t afford to pay for it. I gathered myself and made more calls and got it all straightened out. I sat back and made some tea. I felt exhausted. Once again everything had been taken care of for me, but the guilt remained.

I hadn’t felt guilty for a long time. Guilty that I’m in this situation. That I’ve compromised my family financially. That I’ve caused them to worry. You wouldn’t imagine that this is an emotion that frequents me, but it does. I also know there is a close connect between guilt and ego – it being the other side of pride, but this, too, I can’t untangle.

Emotions visit me, uninvited, whether I like them or not. They can be welcome guests. Happiness and gratitude…come on in! Or they can be loathsome characters. Fear and guilt there’s the door! I suppose being human is a kind of endurance test in which we persevere despite our emotional life which is untrustworthy, but influential, when defining ourselves.

That night Dee came home. I made breakfast for dinner. Dee stabbed at her eggs. I lifted a pancake into my mouth and after we were done we started the dreaded project of cleaning out an old closet. It was full of photos, stationary items, kid’s arts projects, trophies. I get tasks done at home, but this is the type of undertaking you can’t do alone after 26 years of marriage.

We kept some items. We threw away most of it. We laughed a lot. My favorite discovery was a photo of the kids in front of our Plymouth Voyager, circa 2001, that was missing a hub cap. I think we were on our way camping. We had seven minivans at various times. One I got free from a junk yard that the kids said “we could hear it before we could see it.”

I looked at the photo and imagined what people thought when they saw us pulling up to their driveway years ago, “oh no it’s the Daly’s!“ Still, we’d all pile out for a visit and like emotions, I suppose, we were wanted or unwanted.

I’ve found that the best cure when feeling blue, or upset, or stressed is to do something for someone else as quickly as possible. I had a friend in Santa Barbara and he told me that every time he felt insecure about money he’d take someone out to lunch.

I know I’m not my cancer, but I’m happy to be linked to it in a way. I like that people call me or message me or text me. They tell me about themselves. They even tell me they have cancer, and I like that I can offer something other than those negative emotions that wait just around the corner.


8 thoughts on “The Emotional Life

  1. Your post….and generosity in sharing your inner life is for me a gift. I had a rough weekend emotionally and was trying to understand ‘the male brain’. I enlisted the advice of two close and trusted male friends. I was feeling pretty rough around the edges. Your suggestion to do something for someone else making you feel the best is exactly how I became an RN after my parents both being diagnosed at age 50. I couldn’t cure them, but maybe with sensitivity borne of that experience had something to add for someone else’s family member. That has been a gift in my Life. I wish you many beautiful moments and gifts in yours. Apart from my Gratitude, which is constant for being here and in good health (which I never expected ) and having had a boyfriend and sharing a passion and dreams which I also would never have expected and whose presence is not promised for tomorrow….thus my rough weekend,I am going out to meet this day. I am grateful you have a devoted and committed and loving family. Her is something I learned that may be helpful, I don’t know: Be aware of your ‘guilt’ but understand it is not a valid ’emotion’….It IS , as you recognize, borne of Fear. Fear is the opposite of Love. Love is trust. Trust that your family loves you and needs to be there for you and needs to feel they have been able to show that love for you. My Mom couldn’t let me as a 20 yr old give her personal care when she needed help (not saying this is yr situation). She felt she was a ‘mom’ and could not get beyond her role to do for me. It would have been a gift had she been able to allow this. I do not blame her. I have done my best to give what she could not allow to others.II am not sure if any of this will make sense to anyopne….but sending you Love and wishes for Beautiful Moments.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sean, you have always handled stress and whatever life throws at us well. Keep doing what you’re doing, thanks for the writing. Awesome photo! I wonder if making breakfast for dinner is an Irish thing?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Once again you’ve brightened up my day with your enlightening words. You have a special gift, the ability to share your inner thoughts, your dreams and your fears, which is amazing. I’m proud that your my brother. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

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