Marina Gomberg: When I feel like I’m sinking, here’s what keeps me afloat

Our columnist talks about the things that weigh her down, and the things in life that buoy her up.



That’s the sound of me coming up for air.

I am not sure how I rose to the surface, but it’s brighter now and the pressure has diminished.

Taking in air feels as good as it ever has.

I’m trepidatious about writing this. For it to be read. Known.

The reality is, my world has been a bit dark. I’ve wondered if it’s not suitable for public consumption. Hence my silence.

But what is a lifestyle columnist if not a person who shares their story no matter its shininess? (Maybe a formerly employed lifestyle columnist?)

And I don’t think I am alone in the shadows. In fact, I wonder if shadows might likely be as common a human experience as the light.

That’s, like, physics or something.

Either way, I’ve had this weight. Some of it is literal and physical. Most of it is emotional and cerebral.

I attribute much of it to a new med that had a “disease interaction” with my longtime pal, depression. There aren’t publishable four-letter words to describe that hell (OK, well I guess there’s one). Thank goodness for responsive doctors and a good therapist.

The other pressured parts are just life. Illness. Exhaustion. Worry. Pain. Each acts like a weight tied to the ankles.

I’d be sunk if it weren’t for the buoys, and mine seem practically comedicaly resilient. No amount of might can keep them from propping themselves back up with an unrelenting zeal to support and keep me afloat.

My better instincts nudge me to cling.

And I have.

My buoys are my family. My friends. My misbehaving puppy. And the times I spell “buoy” right on the first try.

It’s my son saying he can fall asleep better with his head on my arm because “that’s when he feels the most love.”

It’s my wife, Elenor, helping shoulder my burden without asking me to rebound immediately from her support.

It’s my sister, who lies by my side when I’m down in the dumps just to bear witness to the absurdity so I don’t have to do it alone.

It’s my parents, who dote, listen, feed, plan and encourage. (They thought they retired, haha.)

They are my life preservers. Fortunately, life also provides the fuel to tread.

Our six-year-old, Harvey, recently cajoled Elenor and me to sleep on the trampoline in the backyard with him. After we got all set up and calmed down, his smile finally relaxed as his eyes succumbed to the weight of sleep.

Crickets. Peace. … Raindrop?

Many raindrops. Followed by a gentle mom scramble and a swift relocation indoors. Thwarted.

Yet, everything about it filled me up. El, too, apparently because we tried again this last weekend and were gloriously victorious.

I woke up in the middle of the night a little bit cold with screaming hips and heard an owl busy at work. (Yeah, I researched it the next day.) An owl! And stars. And the neighbors’ wisely-but-annoyingly-timed sprinklers.

The breeze. The cool pillow case. The warmth of our dog, Noodle, curled up in the crook of my knee.

So much about the last couple of weeks has felt excruciatingly raw — like no nerve ending could take cover. The bad ached as much as the good acted as salve.

It’s a lot to hold until I realize my pendulum is just well-oiled. Her capacity to swing is nearly uninhibited.

Gravity barely knows itself.

And I am at the apex. My stance is broad. Affected but not overcome by the momentum below.


Marina Gomberg is a professional communicator, a practicing optimist and a lover of love. She lives in Salt Lake City with her wife, Elenor Gomberg, and their son, Harvey, and their dog, Mr. Noodle. You can reach Marina at mgomberg@sltrib.com.

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