8.10.2010

One Hand

On one hand, her disease leaves me disinclined to delve into the depths of anyone else's dreadful experience.  On the other hand, she gives me new sensitivity to what others are enduring, she makes me want to know everyone’s story, the worst parts and the saddest details.
Often I feel like I'm carrying around stones so heavy I wonder whether I'll ever be able to cast them away.  Stories from others who have felt the depths of humanity reduce sorrow's weight ever so slightly.  Empathy feels somehow less heavy, makes my heart feel huge and open.  The exchange of anguish and despair and loss is rewarded with the gifts of perspective and strength and love. 

Watching my child die is not the method I would have chosen to verify this supposition. But when I converse with others about their heartache, their tales become a reminder of a wider life, a life I may not have paid enough attention to before.  So I listen with all of my might, I listen with sympathy and I listen with gratitude.  And although my hands feel full with my own problems, my fingers want to grab on to theirs.

JEB

6 comments:

Christy said...

Your words are so beautiful, but your heart is even more so. I'm glad I am blessed to read your thoughts.

Lisa Schmidt said...

As usual, I am humbled by your eloquence.

Poppy John said...

I wish that everyone had a "one handed" life. The good one.

L2A4

The Wendels said...

Thank you.

Jemma said...

In 2008, my adopted son, Edmund died as a result of severe mental illness.

We had to place him in a secure unit, due to the fact that he was harming both himself and had just harmed me.

Placing Edmund in that unit made me feel as if I was the biggest failure as a mother. As If I had thrown him into the night. Alone.

I watched as Edmund died. One moment, he was walking with my husband and me...the next he was terrified of the shadows in his mind, he fell to the ground a victim of a stoke. He was 13.

Your daughter, your family and this post...have oddly spoken to me. For while my son was still able-bodied he was not the bright, caring and curious boy I embraced with my heart from the moment I met him.

Thank you for this post. I now know I am not alone in my musings. And it feels...strangely...comforting.

Beth Ann said...

You know the comments people made after learning about Celia's disease? "She was put here on earth to teach us a lesson...She's here on loan from God...She's an angel touching your lives for a short time..." I'm sure there are many more variations. You heard them all and went right back to your grief and anger and that's normal. I think this post is an example of some of those comments coming to fruition already. Your words describe one of the lessons to be learned from Celia's journey. The ripple effect of this awareness of other's "journeys",is something the world could use a little more of. Thanks Jenni and thank you Celia.