I was reading an article on how to deal with physical suffering and it is worth a read by the way but it is odd what went through my mind as I read it. I started thinking about temporary but profound suffering and illness to chronic illness and pain. And I have seen loved ones go through illnesses and suffering and I hated it… no, I Loathed it. I wanted to take all that suffering into me so that they did not have to have it. I hated to see the pain in their eyes for even one second because I love them and no one likes to see someone they love in that much pain. I hate just the memory of it really. That they ever had to go through it. But they did. And they survived. And I love that they survived. And I never want to see them go through it again. Ever.
And it struck me then… how must people love me feel seeing me in pain all the time? How must that feel to know that they can never take that pain away? That it never ends? That they always have to see that pain in my eyes and I always have to endure that? How must that feel on their side when I Loathed it so much for every second I saw it on the face of someone I loved? I remember feeling so helpless in the face of someone’s pain. A disease I couldn’t touch or defeat. A disease that could take someone away from me. That was making someone suffer who should never have had to suffer. How I hated it. How I hate it now. And that same pain etched on other faces. I felt so powerless. And I doubt that is ever what one would feel when confronted with a loved one with chronic pain because the intensity isn’t there I don’t think. At least I dearly hope not. But I do wonder the toll it takes to see pain on the other side of my face day after day.
I know that is one reason we create that wonderful The Facade we do so well. But these are people who know us very, very well. And I know for a fact people who know me relatively well can see a bad migraine in my eyes. And I know damned well my spouse knows a severe migraine day because the pain takes away my smiles and my laughter and my goofiness which are key components to my facade. Severe pain breaks down the facade. So we can mask it all we want but they know.
I do know we are all hopeless in the face of others suffering and we don’t know always what to say or do. But being there is what counts. Just being there and providing support is what is important.