noël skrzypczak via jealouscurator
Being a closet emotional person, it’s almost too easy to make me cry when I’m alone in my room. One dinner time, I decided to eat my dinner to Sex and the City, which I was binge watching that week. I forgot to set the randomize button back to normal so it played Season 4 Episode 8 My Motherboard and Me.
It was three episodes ahead of what I was supposed to watch but I was like, what the heck, so I watched it. If you have watched this episode, it has got to be the one episode out of all Sex and the City episodes I have watched so far that almost choked me in tears.
My closest friend, the only one I consider my sister, is suffering. Her mother has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer 6 months ago, and we all know that of all possible cancers, this is the worst one. True enough, cancer is a cruel joke. It remains to plague us with anxiety and despair that any of us at any given time would have this and lose everything.
It has been years since I had another friend who lost her mother to cancer, and I know for sure dealing with this will never get easy.
I immediately ran to my mother after that and broke down in tears. She was surprised because she doesn’t usually see me cry. To her, I was like a stone, the last person who will ever cry in the family. So much for my “strong” image, that time I allowed myself to be vulnerable.
I wanted it to be the right moment for me to admit to her how much I’m desperately grieving over the thought of someone dying. And that I’d lose it if the same thing happened to the people I love most.
I mean, I wasn’t even close with my friend’s mother, but seeing my friend in so much pain just kills me inside. She lost her grandmother and I was there. I witnessed how she broke down and grieved. This time it’s her mother, the woman who gave birth to her and has been with her through everything.
For a nurse who has witnessed numerous deaths in the wards, for the first time I had no idea how to be therapeutic.
Saying comforting words like, “Be strong. Death is inevitable. However, you are more fortunate you had the opportunity to care for her like she did to you all your life. You had the gift of time to spend with her and to make her feel loved in her final days” felt like total bullshit when I read it again on my chat box.
I know it’s a statement showing her something positive to look at through this demise but I couldn’t help but feel stupid. It’s like when someone wanted to break up with you he’ll say “It’s not you, it’s me” as a cheesy way to make the heartache less painful.
What I said was fucking generic and I continue to torture myself with it. Truth be told I have never lost anyone I love so, I totally have no idea how the pain of losing someone really is. All I had were relationship break ups. Nobody actually died, only my childhood version of “forever”.
Every time I think about it, how she is suffering, and how I’m fucking helpless about this situation, it just burrows me into a pool of tearful anxiety. It’s called shared suffering. I guess it’s the saddest part of empathy when being in someone else’s shoes feels like it’s glued to blocks and you’re in the bottom of the lake.
When someone you love is distraught, you couldn’t help it but share their suffering.
I admit I can be quite an emotional sponge sometimes but this time I was in a dilemma of wanting to make her smile and wanting to share her grief. If I tried to make her smile, will it make me insensitive? And will I be of any help if I suffered with her?
I’m pretty sure I’m not the last person on earth who has trouble on deciding how to feel in the face of someone else’s grief. Thank God I was subscribed to Ms. Danielle LaPorte’s newsletters. After days of running away from what I was feeling, the universe decided to speak to me through her message.
“Do I have to feel your pain in order to help ease your pain? And, if I guard myself against your suffering, am I less useful? If I want to detach from your pain, am I less loving? If I think, “I’m glad I’m not going through that”, am I cold hearted?
If I’m grateful for my strength or good fortune in comparison to your so-called weakness or misfortune, does that make me…just secretly horrible?”
These exact words were running through my mind these past few days. And because I couldn’t afford a shrink to keep me sane and help me decide how I could be more helpful, I just had to trust what she had to say.
Some of us have very broad definitions of “what we love” (i.e I LOVE THE WHOLE ENTIRE COMPLETE UNIVERSE). Some of us have narrower parameters (i.e. I just like to love the people who make me feel good). Bottomline: If you’re a healthy being, you’re going to suffer when who/what you love suffers.
So, how to help the people suffering without it taking you down? Keep this in mind:
There will always be suffering, the trick is to not suffer over the suffering. – Alan Watts. Leave it to a booze-loving Zen buddhist Englishman to put it straight. Translation: Life can suck, often, don’t make it suck more than it needs to.
Fact: You being sick doesn’t help others get well. You being poor doesn’t help anyone to be more prosperous. You being strong, healthy, living in abundance is very, very helpful to the collective. So please, be well, be radiant, be rich, be famous, be super-human — be what feels good. Do NOT go hungry or dim your light to “be of service to the world.” That just adds to the suffering.
You’re an individual within the collective. Duality. Non-duality. Both. Someone’s mental illness is not your mental illness. Their threats do not need to be your triggers; their choices are not your karma. Send them love, not suffering over their suffering. Send them light, not worry. Send them respect for the journey they have chosen — it’s not your journey.
Not everyone is helpable. When you are “trying” to being of service to someone — from paying for groceries, to literally trying to save their life — you have to leave a lot of room for cosmic mystery. You cannot know what someone’s SOUL is choosing. Purification, karmic rectification, teaching, blessing. You don’t know. Let it go.
Pleasure is healing. Light workers, entertainers, creatives, healers, feelers — fuel UP. You’ve got to know what keeps you well, MORE than well — strong, vital, lit up, in love, curious. Do that, please — your joy and health (not your guilt) are exceedingly more helpful.
I guess I just had to let things take it’s normal course. Death is inevitable as much as we all hate the thought of people we love leaving us. My friend will grieve. I know it’s going to be really painful but me torturing myself over my own fears will never help. I will cry too but I’ll try to keep her strong instead of breaking myself apart for the sake of empathy.
Dukkha, as the Buddhists call suffering, will always be there like the blinding brightness of the morning sun. It will be there and you can’t do anything about it. Your problems will annoy the shit out of you. They will bug you even more the more you try to resist it.
Let the situation exist for itself. Don’t resist it.
Allow it to help you realize how you really want to feel about yourself. Soon you’ll see the annoying problem as a ladder to becoming a better person. I guess this is where opaque sunglasses were made for. Why let it blind you when you can use it as an excuse to look fashionable?