The first thing I did when I woke up this morning was to see if the ceiling fan was still spinning. It was and that is a good thing; it means the electricity has not yet been shut off. I am behind on all my utilities, I have called and pushed the bills in hope of somehow getting some money in so I can pay them. The gas bill is due on Monday, phones on the 19th, internet…I don’t remember, but any day now, I guess…I don’t even bother with the debt collector letters I get these days…

How I dream of a life that isn’t so unforgiving, so challenging, so harsh. I know I am better than this, but I feel like there is this core around me that I can’t really break out of.  We’ve struggled for so long now, my wife and I, that all we know now is the battle. Life as a beautiful journey is not available anymore and it hasn’t been for almost a decade now. It’s all struggle.

Recently, my wife and I were on a road trip and we were talking as we drove through the amazing landscape; that long straight stretch going from Buena Vista towards Alamosa; Moffat, Hooper, the great Sand Dunes…we were talking about life and how to appreciate life for what it is and enjoy the moments, the little things…you know; all those clichés…and then suddenly I realized something;

As long as I remember, I have been unable to really feel happy about things when things are going well. When I was a celebrated musician,  I never stopped to fully embrace the success as it was happening. Whenever I released an album and the positive reviews were pouring in,  all I could think of was; “How am I going to make the next album as good as this one…?” At concerts, when there were hundreds and sometimes thousands of people cheering and loving my music, I still couldn’t feel it, really feel it in my heart. I was always thinking that it would end, that I had to live up to and be even better…and then it dawned on me where this all came from;

When I was 23 my mother committed suicide. She was sick for many years before her days ended and during all that time, all of us; my brothers and my step father were always expecting the worst; that anytime life could change and she would be gone. I guess we were all walking around with that feeling in the back of our heads, but never before, until a couple of weeks ago, when my wife and I were driving on CO-17, that long never ending straight stretch, had I ever made the connection that maybe that’s where all that came from. Maybe my inability to feel happiness and enjoy the moment came from that constant uncertainty of never knowing when it all would end. As we were talking about it, it sort of just fell over me and it all made sense. Of course that’s what it is! How did I never realize that before?

After my mother passed, I started writing songs about her and I always felt that I cleared out all my ghosts in that process, but now I’m not so sure. Remnants linger from those days of uncertainty and they are mirrored in our current life now as my wife is struggling with an illness that just seem impossible to beat. Our daily struggle to make ends meet and to be able to pay our bills and buy all the medicines, supplements and probiotic my wife needs to get by is always looming over us.

A hundred dollars in and two hundred out.

One good thing and ten bad ones.

I struggle to keep up my creativity, I always said that the day I stop being creative, I will be really scared. I wonder if that day has come? I haven’t been doing any art in almost a month. I can’t focus on it when everything is falling apart around me.

I have a responsibility to provide for my wife and I fail every day.

I feel inadequate.

I feel that I have reached the end of my abilities and it is a scary, scary feeling.

Sometimes I fantasize about being the subject of a TV show rescue mission, you know; the fab 5 will storm into our lives and help us re shape, rebuild our self esteem and take control of our lives again… but of course that is all just a ridiculous fantasy, a desperate escape into something to take the edge of reality…but that’s where I am. I open my eyes in the morning to make sure the ceiling fan is still spinning, a sign that we are still here, not yet lost in the ocean of debt and stress that comes with this chronic illness. We are surfing the wake of a sinking ship and I can only dream of some divine intervention, because nobody is coming to save us. No friends around, no family, no social interactions, no dining out, no going to the movies, no buying new clothes, no nothing, just a never ending uphill climb. This is the tallest mountain and we have no gear and no oxygen, no tents and no chopper coming to bring us home when the storm gets too intense.



About David Fridlund

Born in Sweden 1974. Moved to Austin TX in 2009 w my wife.
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