First let me say that I am not Kate–I’m her brother, Chris filling in for a bit. Kate asked me to post something on her blog explaining where she is at currently. As of this moment, Kate is in Missouri at a center that offers a program to help her with her trauma. How long she will get to stay, and if she will have access to the things that can really help her when she returns home again, are still unknown. For those who might be unfamiliar with some of the more gritty details of Kate’s recovery this might seem like a setback, yet it is certainly not. The woman I hugged goodbye to (just for a bit) last night is miles away from the girl who returned home from Tulsa two summers ago: she knows when she is unable to do the things she must do, and she knows how to get help. Those two things are alone, amazing, and leave me somewhat choked up as I type this. I love my cat, I love my bicycle, I love my friends, but I love none of them like I love my sister.
She only asked me to explain that she would not be posting for a while (how long that is is determined by a combination of the bureaucracies of both the government and the insurance company), but I also am going to take this opportunity to explain exactly how someone who is involved in her treatment, but cannot experience what she is experiencing understands what is going on right now. Kate and I have some shared music tastes (see here for a humorous example), and I left her with a copy of The National’s album High Violet when I went back to school this summer. The title of this post comes from a line from one of my favorite songs, and I know she often uses music as a form of expression so when I heard this driving last night, things started to fall into place.
As a native Kansan, the ocean terrifies me a little. What lives in those depths, or could come up under me, I have only the vaguest (unrealistic) ideas of. Oceans are deep things, it goes without saying, but even their surfaces hold danger: storms sweep across them, or maybe worse if you’re trying to get somewhere, sometimes the wind won’t sweep across them. This, I think, must be like what Kate experiences sometimes. When things are going well in treatment, it’s ‘smooth sailing’ (or, more accurately, smoother sailing) than when she hits doldrums–times when it must seem like she is making no headway for days or weeks at a time. But worst of all are those occasional swells of trouble, huge waves of emotion and memory that send her struggling to stay afloat throughout. Now seems like one of those times.
But I have great faith that she will weather this storm, even if it requires the assistance of her family and her friends and takes a while to find the right help. I have faith because my sister is strong. Because, it does take an ocean not to break: an ocean’s worth of persistence. You can’t just drain an ocean in one try, anymore than the horrible, terrifying, times Kate must feel can break her. Kate is a survivor, at the center of a web of relationships of people (her family and friends, my own friends who have never met her but do so much more to help her than I could ever have asked of them) whose great love for her motivate them to take actions at great costs to themselves without hesitation because they love her. And so, Kate is going to struggle more than usual for a while, but then she’ll be back here posting again as an exemplar of endurance for everyone who will listen. I know this, because I believe in her.