The circle of guilt and indifference

Recently a terrible tragedy happened where I work. One of my co workers (overworked and exhausted) had a different start to his morning last Thursday. He was supposed to drop off his son at daycare before coming to work.

Exhausted as he was he tried to do it all. Work double shift after double shift, spend time with and support his four year old son from a previous relationship, keep his marriage a happy one, and be there for his youngest as much as possible.

On Thursday, all of us and the rest of Austin learned that you can’t spread yourself that thin. My co worker drove straight to the restaurant, forgot that his quiet infant was in the backseat, and clocked in for work leaving him in a hot car. 

The shift lasted seven hours. In those seven hours no one saw or heard the baby. No one noticed him alone in a 130 degree car. Every customer and employee unknowingly passed right by him, walked into an air conditioned restaurant and sat in shiny chairs and ate their breakfast plates and drank their ice cold beverages.

That baby passed away in that car.

I thank my lucky stars that I wasn’t there that day, because just hearing about it triggered my depression so intensely. 

I kept thinking, “why this poor defenseless unblemished child who didn’t have any desire to die? Why not someone who has tried to end their life? 

Why not me?”

Of course, in the real world the two instances are unrelated, but depression doesn’t give a shit about that. It made me feel guilty for being alive anyway. 

What happened to my co worker and his famiy, losing a child, living with that guilt every day, not to mention facing criminal charges… It will never be okay.

Nothing that I or anyone else could say will make that better. All I could think to do in the most depressing shift I have ever had to work was hit the feed button on the register, rip off the receipt paper, write the words “it should have been me”, fold it into an origami heart, and tuck it next to a teddy bear on his vigil.

Today I got a new job downtown as a server (I knew I needed a fresh start after that). I applied at 10am, got a call at 11:30, interviewed at 3, got the job at 3:15, and I start in 40 mns.

All in a day. Life is a deranged and beautiful experience.

I am a deranged and beautiful person.

Today, sitting here on a restaurant deck sipping a glass of merlot, I can’t help but think that there’s a reason I’m still here. 

Depression, today I won. Today, you lost.

See you again tomorrow.

-Jess

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