Friday, February 24, 2012

Dealing with Dark Waters

Hello Friends:

I mentioned in my last post that I had a whole dang list of things to write about and what with one thing and another, I hadn't manged to get my act together.  Far be it from me to suggest my act is actually coalescing, yet here is a post.

One of the reasons this winter has been so tough is something that happened early on, in December.  I'm feeling a little better about it, now, having had some time and some tdoc sessions to deal with it.  But I still feel a touch haunted, literally and figuratively.

We went on a cruise for the holidays, and overall it was a great experience.  We left on Christmas Eve, had dinner, did some partying, then went to bed.  We were not asleep.  I remember the moment when I felt something shift in the movement of the ship.  It was just after midnight, Christmas Day.  Then we heard an announcement in the hall using some kind of code.  The feeling was like a tingle of static energy, subtle, but my hands felt cold.  My feet numb.  Part of my mind recognized it immediately as a shock or panic reaction.  The other part said, clearly, to the rest of my mind, "Someone is overboard."

About ten minutes later, there was another announcement in the hall.  I know now that people who were asleep at the time didn't hear it at all.  But we were awake.  I was wide awake, in fact.  This announcement said clearly that there was a "man overboard situation" and the ship had moved into a search pattern.

We got up.  I went out onto the balcony, not because I thought I could see anything from ten stories up in a massive cruise ship at night.  I went out because I felt compelled.  The sea wasn't high, but neither was it calm.  We could see the lights of the coast maybe fifteen miles off, and another cruise ship searching in a wide circle, as we were.  It was hard to get your mind around.  Inside my head it said, "Someone is in that water."  I felt in my heart that the person had jumped intentionally.  It would have happened just at midnight.  The ship was not lurching.  I didn't think they had fallen by accident, although I had no proof or evidence either way.

I was so, so sad.  Am sad.  No matter how suicidal I have ever been, jumping into the sea has never been one of my options for offing myself.  Incredibly despairing and sad, to see a dark, yawning ocean and wonder at the mind of someone who leaped right into it.  I was in pain for that person, and for myself, knowing that feeling of empty grief.  All night long, the ship moved in a large circle.  It made the boat sway in a fashion I had not yet felt on a ship.  For the rest of the cruise, whenever the boat turned, it brought the feelings back up in an instant.

Nine hours later, there was another announcement.  It was at breakfast, and this was how most people learned that someone had gone over.  The Captain claimed that a staff member jumped overboard, and after nine hours, the Coast Guard had released the cruise ships from the search.  You could see helicopters still circling, but the ships were now moving away.  The Captain said that three orange life rings had been thrown over, and all three had been recovered.  But not the person in question.  And that was about it.

The way the incident was ignored on board for the rest of the trip was disturbing.  I was more disturbed by how hard it was to learn anything about it at all, even after we got back.  I ended up on some cruise watchdog sites before I even found the press releases about the incident.  I also found posts from family members of the woman who was lost.  Her family was absolutely certain she would not have jumped - she had a one year old child, was married, her husband was also a staff member on the same ship, they had just been shopping for presents, etc.  Her family was outraged at the 'accusation' that the woman had jumped.  The company was saying they had an 'eye witness.'  But no witness had come forth, and the company was apparently not releasing the tapes they have of everything that goes on everywhere on a ship.  I'm pretty convinced they must have caught it on tape.  The company would want it to be a suicide, since that would absolve them of any responsibility.  The family would want it to be an accident, for a million reasons, of course.

This was the point at which I was finally able to get together with my tdoc (recall I was really sick with a combined ear/sinus infection for weeks).  I still do not know what has come of this situation.  My tdoc helped me to see that obsessing over it, when it was unlikely to ever come to a resolution, was not a really good use of my time, or of my sanity.  But I remain distressed.  First, by the idea that a person drowned on Christmas Day.  Second, and more tangled, is this idea that justice has not been done.  Or found.  Or achieved.  Or something.  Why can't the family get some kind of closure from the cruise company, one way or another?  Why can't I?  How frustrating.

Frustrating that the chance we will ever know what happened is about zero.  And still haunting, that sight of an ocean - dark, abyssal, open caverns of arching waves.  It's another in so many kinds of incidents that ask me to accept and move on.  No answers.  No formula.  No meaning or reason. 

I am really tired of these sorts of lessons.

Your Hostess With Neuroses

Image credit/info: Waves by Mados on Flikr via Creative Commons, CC 2.0


Kat said...

That is so sad and so difficult for everyone involved, no matter how they're involved. I feel for the woman's family, the cruise company, and the ship's employees, and all the passengers, including you. : (

71 & Sunny said...

That is very sad. I can certainly understand your difficulty with it. I would find it very upsetting as well. I often wonder if those of us w/anxiety issues tend to "feel" more. While this can bring difficulties to our lives it can help us to put ourselves in the shoes of others more easily. But it also helps us to feel the pain of others more acutely as well.

I don't know if you are a person who prays. If you are, perhaps one way you can help the family now is to pray for them. That may help you to feel like you are actively doing something for them, while allowing yourself to move on and live your own day to day life. Anyway, just a thought. I'm sorry. I hope you feel better about this soon.

Tina Fariss Barbour said...

That is such a sad incident. I understand your thinking about it a lot. I do that sort of thing too. It's hard for me to let go of even other people's tragedies.

I can understand your frustration,too, about a possible lack of justice.

It's easier said than done, I know, but the ruminating and obsessing about it won't change the outcome or bring resolution. I know you know this. It's hard to do.

I will be thinking about you!

Elizabeth said...

I read this a few days ago and have been trying to think of a way to respond.

This is such a terrible situation.

You are in my thoughts,

The Blue Morpho said...

Thanks so much for reading and responding to my post! It helps, first having written it and then knowing that other people know and understand. Thank you.

Agatha K, The Fun Money Nerd said...

Don't mean to be a broken record, but this is such a sad incident indeed. Wishing you only the best!

Karin said...

Yes, i can see that would be hard to get rid of as just thinking of what should have been a great vacation will remind you of the incident. And because there is a little baby with no mom now it makes it seem even worse (because babies just do that). I like the idea of praying or sending good thots to the family, the woman and even the investigators that everything will work out well for everyone involved. Because that will focus your thots on how everyone is coping NOW, not just on that day. Good luck. I hope you will be able to let it go soon.

Nicole said...

This is a terrible tragedy and I feel so sad for this woman and her family. What a frightening and heartbreaking experience this must have been for all who were on the ship. You really have endured so much over the past few months and I am very sorry that you have had such a difficult winter.

I’m keeping you in my thoughts and I hope you will be okay.

Please take good care of yourself.


Deluxe Edition said...

I can't seem to find the words to convey the message in my mind. I FEEL what I want to say, but cannot seem to THINK it. It's unfortunate, everything from the woman to the situation to your dealing with it all. I have had anxiety since I was 10 and when I have been in situations (similar but not at all the same) in the past I didn't handle it well. It's nice to come across a blogger, a person, an individual who is honest for a change. I hope you don't mind I am officially following your blog.

Janet (ocdtalk) said...

Like everyone says, this is a sad,sad story. You write so beautifully, it's almost as if I were reading a novel...I wish I were.

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