“As I walk this land of broken dreams
I have visions of many things
But happiness is just an illusion
Filled with sadness and confusion
What becomes of the broken-hearted?”
~Jimmy Rufin~ “What Becomes of the Broken Hearted”
An unexpected text message or phone call can elicit a variety of emotions. It can bring a smile at the sight of a long lost friend reaching out. A reassuring feeling of a someone we care about remembering our birthday, anniversary, work anniversary etc. A stunned expression of wonderment why this person needs your attention. A jolt of a reminder of something you forgot. Empathy for a friend in distress or potential bad news. The thing about caller id is the elusiveness of who is on the other line no longer exists. When you save a contact in your phone it serves a purpose of bringing to your attention. Perhaps you don’t answer the electric company conducting surveys when you unexpectandly see their number pop up. You may reflect for a moment if it’s worth responding if it’s going to stir up emotions you have buried. If you were me and while getting ready for work saw the name “detective” flash on your screen while getting ready for work; your blood stops cold.
This is a contact I had saved in late October of last year was for the detective working on sexual assault case. The detective that I was in constant communication with up until they hit a wall in my case. I hadn’t heard from him in nearly five months. My heart soared, hands shook, and I immediately responded to his text. I stated I would make myself available at that very moment.
He politely asked how I was and got to the point that evidence had come back. I heard his words of bad news and it took me about a full minute to realize I was sobbing. I listened end to him and felt every ounce of hope I’d had been carrying around for months be completely shattered. I heard myself ask him to explain what he had just told me again (I didn’t comprehend at this time.) There was new information involving running my DNA I wasn’t aware of. The news wasn’t good. Due to inconclusive evidence my case was going to be closed. I asked for a courtesy call to those that had complied with the investigation. The poor detective kept asking me if I was going to be alright, if I had a support system, was I still with my new job, if I was alone (due to my reaction.) I sobbed and said I would be fine.
I dropped my phone into my bed and staggered down the stairs get in the shower. I stood numb and sobbing under the hot water trickling down on me. My reaction after this was 100% apathetic. I didn’t tell a soul. I put on my work clothes I had set out the evening prior, grabbed my coffee, and went through the motions. Even worse, I was scheduled to present more than once (on a new subject.) I felt my mind starting to tell me I needed to process this. I needed to go in the bathroom and cry, tell a coworker I trusted what had happened, text a friend, or do SOMETHING! I plugged through, not one tear, not one display of emotion. (Mind you my current job entails me to interact with staff at a consistent pace. No office to hide in or private desk to hide underneath.)
Even I was stunned by my reaction.
Further thoughts trickled through my mind when heading home for the day. Just as we never know when we are going to get a phone call/text that will completely change our world; we never truly know how we are going to react to a situation. We carry perceptions of how we are supposed to feel. How we are supposed to publically display emotion. I was completely heartbroken and yet showed no display of emotion other than my initial private meltdown. People judge reactions and how others grieve. For the first time I really understood it.
My heart was broken and every sinking hope that justice would be served was shredded by a single phone call. I think for the very first time in my entire life I truly understood grief and how others process on their own timeframe.
My grief and different emotions came in like a flood the next day.
Text messages and closed cases.
Apathy and heartbreak.
Grief and even as I write this, a small glimmer hope, and wonderment of what tomorrow’s emotions and roller coaster will be.