It is easy to fall into the trap of feeling like we are above tragedy. On the other hand, it is easy to spend excessive energy awaiting tragedy, coming up with endless scenarios in your head. I tend to identify more with the former. Of course, I have worried about tragedy happening, thinking a headache is a tumor and such, but I usually dismiss the intrusive thoughts with a “that would never happen to me” kind of thing.
The scary truth is that these bizarre scenarios we often see on TV (Grey’s Anatomy comes to mind) could happen to any one. Tragedy disregards age, family situation, socioeconomic status, gender, etc. Death isn’t limited to the elderly, and cancer isn’t limited to the unhealthy. In Laura’s Blog, she mentions Track athlete Baily Gorman, who was diagnosed with cancer her senior year of high school. I actually went to school with Baily, and everyone was appalled at the news of her diagnosis. How could a young girl who ran every day, was widely loved, and lived such a healthy lifestyle get cancer? If she was able to get cancer, what was stopping a disease from coming after me? After this news, my mindset shifted from blowing off the intrusive thoughts to obsessing over them. Luckily, that passed, but like Laura, I was bewildered by “the commonality of such circumstances.” Unfortunately, the years between Baily’s diagnosis and where I am now have reinforced the idea that yeah, this really happens.
I mentioned earlier that Grey’s Anatomy comes to mind when thinking of these impossible misfortunes. I am a Grey’s feen, so I have seen countless inconceivable deaths. Obviously, these specific situations are fictional, which makes them easier to believe to be impossible. Nobody actually dies when they are supposed to have a simple procedure, they just tell you that’s a potential side effect as a CYA (as Dr. Easton would say). Well they cover their ass for a reason, because I can tell you that kind of thing is in fact possible.
Almost exactly a year ago, I was getting ready to leave for school when my mom came running down the stairs to me screaming. Her best friend, my honorary aunt, our next door neighbor for years, had literally collapsed. I didn’t realize at the time that she would never wake up. She was due to have a standard hysterectomy in a week, and there was a complication with her medication that set a blood clot free, cutting off oxygen to her brain. As a disclaimer, I am not sharing this for sympathy or to scare anyone; doctors even said this was very unusual. I am sharing this to illustrate that even when I thought I was above all that dramatized tragedy, I realized yeah, that really does happen, and it can happen to me.
As I am writing this blogpost, I realize that there are plenty of stories I could share about friends, or friends of friends, that would support “the commonality of such circumstances,” as Laura put it. Yet I still feel like said events should be part of the fictional category. Is this my brains defense mechanism to avoid the feeling of impending doom? Or is it pure ignorance? Perhaps it is something all together. Whatever it is, that discussion is not the purpose of this blog post, so I will save it for later. The point I am trying to make is that these “extenuating circumstances” are really not that unusual, so we need to open our minds. We never know what someone else could be going through, so we must treat them accordingly.