Sunday, January 13, 2013

you never completely know

It's never too late to learn something about yourself. My most recent realization is that I have a huge blind spot where illness is concerned. My 87 year old mother in law had the flu. I adore her, but I never thought of going to help her out while she was sick.  Only after a disturbed night of sleep, where apparently my much kinder subconscious was trying to get through to me, did it belatedly occur to me that maybe I should have gone over and made sure she was okay, or brought her some soup or something.

By and large, I think of myself as a kind person, an empathic person. I care deeply for the people in my world. But, if they are ill, I want them to just "walk it off". I do not want to bring water, soup, aspirin. I do not want to stroke foreheads, hold hands, sing a sweet round of "soft kitty". I want to RUN AWAY and come back when they are better.

It's not self-preservation, It's not some instinct to avoid the sick so I don't catch something. I am no better at treating myself. I do not want anyone to help me when I am ill, I don't even want anyone around me, and I rarely want to help myself. I don't want to take pills, rest, wait for things to heal, or in any way acknowledge that I am not FINE. JUST FINE.

It is a knee jerk reaction, outside of the realm of thought. Now that I am aware of it, I can work on it. I can figure out why it frightens me so much that I shut down.

1 comment:

Robin Norris said...

Just before my mother passed away, she called me to tell me that she was sick. It just sounded like she had a bad cold. She had a habit of martyring herself to make me feel guilty, so I didn't take the 'cold' seriously. I told her that I would try to drive up to Baltimore to see her on the weekend. The next day, her friend called to tell me that Mom had been admitted to the hospital with pneumonia and that I need to get my a$$ up there. I felt a tiny bit bad, so I went thinking that I was going to be the dutiful daughter to my hospitalized mother and that I'd apologize for not taking her call more seriously. When I got there, her friend told me that my mother had lung cancer. She died three weeks later. The guilt fairy doesn't let me forget that.

My sister-in-law's father fell last spring and hit his head. While in the hospital recuperating from his concussion, he developed pneumonia and died within two weeks of his accident.

I'm not telling you this to freak you out, or to make you feel guilty about B. We just always assume that other people's illnesses are like ours and that they'll "rise above".

These days, when older friends are ill, I take it VERY seriously and make sure to let them know that I am concerned. If nothing else, it makes them feel special that I care particularly when they sometimes feel like the world is passing them by even on ordinary days.