SUFFERING

Part of the THIS IS THE MOMENT series.

February 12th, 2019

Bomberg, David; English Woman; Ben Uri Gallery & Museum; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/english-woman-191301

Though it feels like I have to just hang in there through chemo, the fact is that I can’t and shouldn’t exist in some kind of holding pattern. I have to go and live as fully as I can.

This may be a peak. How I feel right now could be the best I’ll ever feel again…

I can’t say—I don’t know.

What I know is that there’s the possibility of so much more pain; of pain so pervasive that life narrows, and you enter a tunnel and for a while, it’s as though that tunnel has no end.

; Physiognomy Showing a Man Trying to Control Himself Under the Duress of Pain; Wellcome Collection; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/physiognomy-showing-a-man-trying-to-control-himself-under-the-duress-of-pain-239886

Someone I know, care about and identify with effortlessly, is suffering in this way right now. Or she was all day and night yesterday, when I could think of nothing else. I won’t name her. Her torment is as real as it is private.

The cause of her suffering is the cancer that has invaded her bones. Yesterday, she reached the point where her morphine no longer made a difference. I wasn’t with her, but I know that she is tough, and willful, and that her agony had to have been…unspeakable.

Knowing that someone is suffering the way she was, and has been for days, turned me inside out. Lying in my bed last night, I felt connected to her through invisible fibres that functioned like nerve endings.

Those who love her are all tethered to her pain, and every thought/prayer sent toward her also pulls on that part of the tether that is connected to us.

It reminds me: do not take a second of wellbeing for granted.

There is suffering everywhere—cancer, disease, are not its only claim—but this pain has a face, an identity known to me and everyone close to her; and that’s why it’s so easily sensed by all of us.

What can I do? What should any of us do?

Be mindful of that suffering. Don’t dare push it away when that connection is painful. Share it in spirit. Be present to it. Ache for the one suffering. Bear witness to it. Send love, send grace…

And then yell and howl publicly in proxy pain, till the palliative medical team gets it right. Till the loved one’s nerve endings quiet.

There IS a cessation to suffering. At the end of that tunnel is light and deliverance.

Atkinson, Conrad; Golden Landscape with Pain; The Wordsworth Trust; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/golden-landscape-with-pain-143028

 

2 thoughts on “SUFFERING

  1. Wow! In just the time that it took me to drive here (I’m at the IGA near the Maimonides) you completed and posted ‘Suffering’. The interconnectedness you were talking about at brunch is so palpable along with the willingness to share pain and the desire to mitigate suffering. How beautifully it all comes together. Love this!

    Sent from my iPhone

    Sent from my iPhone >

    Like

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