Years ago I spent quite of bit of time at the beach. Young and full of life, I had the freedom to make these road trips at least once a month. Once you have a routine, you begin to get to know the employees of different places you frequent. I was blessed to become friends with Karen.
Its been some time since I thought of Karen in a way where she consumed my thoughts. Karen is/was a wonderful person. She was quick to laugh and always had a smile and a warm greeting. She had moved to Florida a few years before we met. When she moved she had left her son with her parents so she could get on her feet and establish herself before having her son move to Florida with her. It was supposed to be just for a short time, a few months max, but time has a way of passing quickly, and months turned into a couple of years and she was still trying to establish herself. It weighed on her and made her lonesome for her son.
Karen met a man, Elliot, and she gave her heart to him. She loved him selflessly, giving up pieces of herself to make him happy, to make the relationship work, to have him love her. But Elliot didn’t want a long-term commitment, not really. He wanted the relationship without the strings that a commitment brings. He wanted her with him but didn’t want to share a home with her. He wanted her available to him but on his terms. He suggested “forever” but his actions didn’t match his words. He wanted her to play the role of mom to his children but didn’t welcome her son.
Karen accepted the unwritten rules because it was a gradual process. Little things changed. By the time she realized that the relationship was one-sided she felt hopeless and helpless. She loved him. She had invested 10 years into the relationship and this man. Unfortunately when she opened her eyes she felt she had let the best years of her life pass her by.
Karen was so full of life, always laughing and smiling, and a friend to those around her. She put on such a happy face that her pain wasn’t visible, even to those closest to her. We didn’t realize that while Karen was giving up pieces of herself to make her man happy and to make the relationship work, she was losing herself. Slowly, pieces of her were being chipped away. She was losing her self-esteem, losing confidence, losing herself.
She gave him an ultimatum. He didn’t budge. She realized she had missed the majority of her son’s life, not on purpose, but because she thought she was doing the right thing for him. She wanted to build a home for him. She didn’t realize that home was where she was, not a fancy house.
She felt like a failure. She was heartbroken and disappointed in herself.
Karen lost all hope. She tried to end her life. Tried, but the end result was much more devastating for her family.
Karen’s family moved her home; home…where her son lived, where her family was. It wasn’t the Karen that had left there years ago. It was the shell of her body.
We all missed the signs. We failed to see her depression. It was real. It was a part of her every day. And we missed it.
God bless, and be blessed.