Snowed in at Wheeler Street

“Excuse me, I’m sorry to bother you but don’t I know you? 

There’s just something about you 

Haven’t we met before? 

We’ve been in love forever….

….Come with me, I’ll find some rope I’ll tie us together 

I’ve been waiting for you so long

I don’t want to lose you again” 

Snowed in at Wheeler Street (written by Kate Bush ft. Elton John)

It’s Christmas day as I write this on a bitterly cold day here in Buffalo. The Western New York region has been battered with a blizzard of monumental proportions. As of now, there have been three deaths, with reports of people being stuck in their cars due to the blinding snowfall, unable to even walk to a place of refuge and needing to be rescued.. At one point yesterday morning, Erie County Executive, Mark Poloncarz, reported that the City of Buffalo, and many surrounding towns, roads were so impassible that emergency services were unable to respond to calls for help. Yes, this is historic.

The strom began Friday morning when the cold rain that was falling in temperatures at nearly 40 degrees (4.4 degrees celsius) dove to about 20 degrees in a matter of a couple of hours. The snow that followed was followed by winds that gusted up to 70 miles (112 kilometers) per hour from mid-day to early this morning. It was like were in a enormous perpetual snow globe.

Undoubtedly, in the days to come, there will be news reports and stories shared among residents across the area who have had harrowing experiences that have put people on edge and tested the limits of their mental health.

I’m incredibly fortunate. And while I have an underlying feeling of deep empathy and concern for all those who are impacted by this “once in a generation” weather event, I have a deep sense of gratitude that I’m here with my wife of 28 years, Suzy. I wrote a blog earlier this year, on Valentine’s Day, “At the Speed of Love,” that referred to her and how we came to meet.

When I think about how bipolar disorder, especially in respect to mental health diagnoses is concerned and has been known to wreak havoc with relationships, we’ve been able to have a happy marriage; one filled with a myriad of life experiences that have served to strengthen our bond of love. 

In her song, Snowed in at Wheeler Street,” the British musical icon, Kate Bush, sings a duet with Elton John that is based on the concept of two people who have been, in some way, connected over the centuries in a reincarnation-based relationship. The song begins with the line, “Excuse me, I’m sorry to bother you but don’t I know you?” It then goes on to recount encounters that the two people have had from the burning of Rome, to World War II, and until recently during the time of 9/11.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that I have this sense about Suzy. In many ways, it’s inexplicable. However, there are many things that have over the years that serve, a least for me, evidence that perhaps we’ve been together before. 

I want to stress that this is not delusional thinking. I’ve been down that path before years ago when I went through my manic episodes. I fully know, from both personal and professional experience, the definition of a delusion – a belief in something that is not grounded in reality. The concept of reincarnation is definitely not that. There are many cultures and spiritual paths that ascribe to this belief. Personally, while my faith tradition is grounded in Christianity, I have beliefs that reflect how reincarnation is woven into my personal life story, I’ve studied this over the years, primarily as a member of the Rosicrucian Order (AMORC), which is “a worldwide philosophical and humanistic, non-sectarian and apolitical fraternal order devoted to ‘the study of the elusive mysteries of life and the universe.’”

So, how does this relate to mental health, and mine in particular? Well, I could write a whole book on that one. But, in a nutshell, I believe that there are many things in life that escape human understanding. For instance, how some people with severe mental health conditions are able to overcome their challenges while others, at no fault of their own, suffer. I ask myself that question all the time. But I digress.

When I consider these tragic days that my region has been through I can’t think of anyone else in the world I’d rather be with than Suzy. This is another thing that, at times, defies explanation. How two people, from two completely different worlds meet, by chance(?), over 30 years ago, and develop an inseparable bond that has endured despite many challenges (most significantly surrounding my mental health). We are literally “snowed in.” Being confined within a home for a prolonged period of time can test the best of relationships (as we’ve learned during Covid). But I will honestly say, once again, that there’s no one I’d rather be with. Suzy is the “yin to my yang,” the one person who truly “gets me” (and puts up with me). I’ve said for many years that I don’t need to play the lottery because I’m wealthy in so many ways that cannot be counted. And Suzy is on top of the list.

Published by Mental Health Verses

I'm a mental health advocate, educator, and TEDx speaker. I also am a featured columnist for BP magazine, I have lived with bipolar disorder since 1981 and I'm in long-term recovery from addiction. I host the program, Mental Health Verses on the SUNY Buffalo State radio station, WBNY 91.3 FM

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