Fox in a Hole

Something has been on my mind for a while.

Actually, I was conscious of it when my son died.  No…the days leading up to his death, too.  But, from his first day in that ICU and up until the day he was buried, I saw what I now understand in action.

I’ve always had pretty good discernment.  I mean, I can tell what a person might be like upon meeting them.  I have an instinct that I am not sure is good or bad.  I know most all the time what a person is feeling.  Especially if I am paying attention.  When I’m around stress, I FEEL the stress.  When I am around sadness, I FEEL the sadness.  I have senses that are razor sharp.  I can also pretty much tell if a person is lying or not.

I know fake when I see it.

I know how judgmental this can sound.  I know.

I am not always right.  Not always.  But most times I am.

When I was a child, I learned to be on my toes when observing people.  I liken it to being “a fox in a hole”.  I have used this analogy about myself for so many years that I don’t know when I started thinking it.

This would pretty much define what I want to share here.  Yes, a fox in a hole.

It’s all about survival.

Ever hear that expression “I have eyes in the back of my head”?  Well, I am certain that I do.  Several of them.  I have sonic ears.  I have a keen sense of smell.  Much like the whiskers of a fox, my sense of touch is very sensitive.  Always feeling my way through the dark.

I have an overactive mind.  That’s for sure.

Many times, I have tried to stifle this.  Shove it down and push it out.  I have been criticized for thinking too much and being too sensitive. So, I have always thought it was a negative thing.  Sinful, in fact.

No matter how I try, it does not go away.  It is part of who I am and I have learned to accept it.

What comes out of this is both a blessing and a curse.  When there is a crisis, and I mean a big one, the highly amped up person in me will survive.  All of these hyper aware senses make me stronger.  I kick into overdrive and become a survivor.  The fight-or-flight mechanism switches on to fight.

And trust me, I will fight.

Sometimes it’s fist up, line drawn, knock this off my shoulder I dare ya.  Mess with me or anything I love and I. WILL. take. you. down.  It can be overtly obvious but it can also be calm and cool and you wouldn’t know what hit you until the fat lady sings sort of thing.

I’ll bet this sounds pretty cocky to some of you.  That’s alright.  I don’t mind if you judge me.

The point of this is that when you get older, and year after year, day after day, you keep your guard up like this, well…you’re bound to crash someday.

All of that fighting attitude will drain a person.  There’s only so much adrenaline to go around in a lifetime.  Oh, there might be a reserve tank left for when the next crisis comes around.  I hope so.

This last big battle of mine pretty much took all that I had.  I was steely strong and razor sharp.  I saw things and heard things that an ordinary person probably would not.  I could see hurt and anger and deception.  I could hear cut throat and cowardice.  I could smell death.  I just could.

The sad part was, I didn’t see much empathy.  My son’s life was a battleground and there was very little strategy or plan that I could see.  True colors came to the surface and I felt like all around me laid wounded and near dead bodies.  All of them writhing in their own selfishness, pain, and greed.

Tragedy will do this.  It will either bring out the best or the worst in a person.

But something in me all those days when it became life or death came alive.  I mean, not everyone could fall apart.  Someone had to take the lead.

It must have been pretty obvious because most everyone asked me how I could stay so focused.  Why so positive.  How could I possibly handle so much drama (and trust me, there was Shakespearean and then some drama).

I will have my breakdown later is how I’d respond.

I guess the end of this explanation about my razor sharp senses is after it all was over, after all was said and done.

I crashed.

Hard.  I mean, hard.

The entire thing almost paralyzed me.

All of that adrenaline ran dry and I deflated like an air released balloon.

Recently this analogy struck me as something else.  A fox hole is also a military term.

I totally forgot about that.

It’s a trench dug deep along the edge of a battlefield to keep a soldier sheltered from artillery.  I imagine that a soldier inside is all amped up.  Eyes in the back of his head, ears perked for the sound of an enemy approaching and nose keen to sniff out the smoke.  Whiskers straight and steady, every nerve in them sharp as a tack.

This discernment is what makes him a good soldier.

The thing is, that soldier will never walk away from the experience unscathed.  He’ll vividly dream about it as if he was in that hole.  He will feel and sense it like it was happening in the now.  War will follow him wherever he goes. For the rest of his life.

There’s a term for it, too.  It’s known as PTSD.

You’d think that after these three years, I would have recovered some.  You’d think that time and rest and time and rest and more of that would have recharged and put some air back up in my balloon.  You’d think time helped me stop living in that fox hole of mine.

But it didn’t.  I still feel like I’m fighting for my life.

Lately,  I’ve come to understand that all of this fighting…all of this hyper protective awareness.

Sometimes isn’t worth the effort.

There are things that cannot be controlled.  You would think I’d understand this after all these years.  I’m still learning.

People will do what they will do. Situations will pan out like they will.

Battles will always rage on.

People will die.

Even children.

I need to do my best to reserve the adrenaline I have left. I need to learn to manage it. Save it for the next whatever happens that will require my razor sharp senses. Living on the edge day after day will kill a person.

I’ve got to let go.

Even a fox has to come out of its hole sometime.





One thought on “Fox in a Hole

  1. Libby, I know how you feel, as I recently almost my life trying to fight battles that cannot be won here in this life. I no longer have a facebook account so you are welcome to email or call. I love you, my sweet friend.


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