Isolation, Listening and Finding our way Back to Ourselves
This week I had a woman chat with me. We were both in the flower dept of a grocery store. I saw her and well something inside said “say something”, Not knowing why this lady in particular caught my eye. I often chat with strangers. In line or someone who just seems to need a smile or perhaps it is that I need to smile!
So I declared “they have the prettiest flowers today”! Well, she was so eager to talk. Stories came flying out of her mouth. One after another. Her stories were personal. Her stories would break hearts. She had so many sorrows.
She told her stories in great detail, like you would find when reading a book. Setting each scene; so I the listener could picture it well.
Being the person I have become, I took time to show her I was someone who would care. Knowing so well the need myself. It was not easy to hear these sad stories. I could see why others might pull away to some safer place where they would not need to know such “sadnesses”
I braced myself differently putting my weight on my shopping cart, so very glad I could. She continued. She was not a young woman. In fact, I asked her at one point how old she was. The answer was nearly 90. These stories spread across what must have been numerous years. But each one sounded like it had happened within the year.
So fresh in her mind, each detail. A three year old child that had asked if he could play after his treatment for leukemia if he was very good and did not cry. He spoke like a five year old. But soon after had died. An adult daughter with a tender spot in her side. Something she as a mother had needed surgery for a hernia. Her daughter’s biopsies before surgery showed a very rare cancer, that when opened spread like fires in California. After this mother began to probe the hospital as to why hours and hours later her daughter had not come out of surgery that should have taken no more than an hour. Finally a nurse who answered said, “Oh, you can get her things out of the room, she won’t be needing them.”
More and more stories like this she shared; about her own illnesses, family threads, and medicines I should never take …..on and on.
I saw a scar on her neck after a long way into her stories. Yes, as you can imagine it was what we know.
I share this with you for some personal reasons of my own as well as wanting you to share with me what these messages are.
What can we do? What should we do? To be an example to others unwilling or unable to comfort the sadness of another. Humans being what? Indifferent? Caring? Supportive?
Should we tell more stories? Do we scare others off? Are we handling our personal suffering alone? Is it better to hold more in? Do we make others uncomfortable with our truths? Is this what our families are tired of hearing? Do we in word Isolate ourselves.
How should we move forward. What does it mean to our illness and pain if we are always talking about it to people who do not want to hear? What then is the balance?
Please share any thoughts you have. I am not sure what I believe. I will have to give this more thought. How can we “live” better?
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