If you ever have the opportunity to find or make a friend like Dave, I suggest you take it.
Yesterday is a really hard anniversary for me. My husband was away, visiting people in MO (score one for me for knowing I shouldn’t go and staying here!) and I would be alone. Three months ago, I hesitantly asked Dave if he would crash on my couch, so that I wouldn’t be alone, or stupid.
Usually I am pretty quiet about these anniversaries. But they almost never pass without incident.
The night before I told him it was fine and I didn’t need him and he went
And I said “seriously though, I’ll be fine” (aka I will come home, get drunk, clean furiously, and muscle my way through it)
And again, a hard “no.”
He made sure I ate without being pushy, by taking me for a work 1:1 over lunch. I told him I would stay in the car while he ran upstairs and he convinced me his girlfriend was worried and would want to see me for a bit, so I had company. We spent time seeing his new apartment and meeting with a flooring guy and he was asking me about tiles and I felt included in his life.
He always jokes with me about me being his sister, but this time he introduced me to three different people, including his neighbours, as his sister. “This is my sister, PD”.
I can’t tell you what that meant to me. I actually can’t put it into words. After not having a supportive family for so long… It meant the world.
He paid for dinner and we watched comedy and everytime I started to worry or get distant he would talk about the present or ask my opinion on something. We stayed sober. We then watched Magic Mike and he wouldn’t let me fall asleep because “c’mon, this isn’t a movie I can watch alone!”
But most importantly, at 4am when I had a panic attack and came into the living room and he made space for me on his couch and I sat down he was like “you know what to do. I know you know what to do.” And he refused to play rescuer. I was like “I can’t breathe” and he was like “yes you can, and you have the skills to get there, or you may pass out before then, and that’s okay, but regardless, I’m here”.
And he didn’t do it for me. He didn’t attempt to navigate it for me. He kept telling me I knew how, and that I have more skills and more power than I know, and kept talking about the present and asking me questions. With one hand on my leg, he was steady, and supportive, and empowering.
It was empowering to know that I do have these skills. That I don’t need a crisis to ask for help. That I am able and capable of calming myself down without assisted breathing. That given long enough in a supported space I’ll figure out how to calm myself down.
I don’t need to be hand held anymore.
And he will never know what a difference his determination to not coddle me made yesterday. His steady “I’m right here, you know how to do this, and I’m not doing it for you” was so incredibly empowering.
It was so different from every other time. And it was a friend, who chose to be there. Not someone I pay. Not my husband, who I’m convinced is crazy for loving me.
In his refusal to swoop in and rescue me and his determination to have me rescue myself, he taught me that maybe I don’t need to be rescued anymore.