Here’s a short story about what just happened with me while taking a walk with my dogs and talking to my mom. I hope this is useful for you in dealing with the pain of the loved ones and being able to offer full loving support to them.
This happened over the last hour. I had a little bit to eat right before this. I was going for a walk with my dogs and I called my mom. My mom is physically sick. She’s having a hard time and she’s frustrated with it. She’s in a lot of pain and trying to decide if she wants to live through this or not.
I called my mom while on the way back from the store. I gave her a call while I was taking the stuff back from the car and taking the dogs for a walk. It was a good opportunity for me to listen. She was struggling a lot.
My initial reaction is I don’t like that my mom has to go through this. Why does my mom have to suffer so much? I already lost my dad two years ago. Now my mom is sitting on the edge after she fell off her horse and went though rehab. Things have now gotten to the point that she doesn’t even know if it was worth doing to get through this.
My reaction is the same as my mom was feeling. I tried to help her and you know how much everyone loves unsolicited advice. I said “Mom, in the worst times of my life, I felt better right after feeling like I couldn’t stand to live anymore.” She didn’t seem to appreciate hearing that. I went back and forth between listening to her and trying to share my experience with struggle. It was hard for me because mom feels like I can’t relate to what she’s going through.
I feel like anyone who’s been through pain and struggle can relate to another person who is having a hard time. Anyone who has gotten to the point where you don’t want to live and life isn’t worth living can understand. You feel like nothing worthwhile is going to happen in the future. Everything you’ve been through in the past just proves it and now sucks. I feel like anyone who’s been through that can relate to any pain one form or another.
I had a hard time when I felt like she tried to shut me out by saying I didn’t understand or I couldn’t deal with this. I wanted to respond and ask how did she know what I could deal with or what I could handle? How does she know what I’ve been through and my pain and struggle?
Thankfully, I was also praying to be a good son. Some conversations with her I’ve done more of that. I remembered that it’s nice that my mom is here and alive today. I said thank you for being here through this pain and struggle so you can help me right now with my life today. It helps me to hear how you are doing. It helps me to know that you love me enough to be willing to go through hell so I can talk to you on the phone every day. Hopefully, I can learn one or two things about it then I don’t have to experience the same thing myself. Towards the end of the conversation I started getting a bit more into acceptance. I remember on the walk I was in pain worrying about what might happen to mom.
I thought one word: acceptance. I thought it’s okay right now and everything is just fine. This wave of relaxation went through my entire body that everything is okay and this is how it’s supposed to be. It doesn’t need to be any other way and I recognize that some of the struggles I’ve been through. For example, if I hadn’t lost dad two years ago, there’s no way I’d be sharing my story with you. The pain I’ve been through in my life had consistently helped me to grow and be a better person.
I was thinking as mom was talking and then when there was silence when she stopped talking. I didn’t have anything to say especially when I’m not reacting well to what she’s saying. I try to make a little bit of extra space not immediately respond to what she says. Instead, I think about what I want to say and what I need to say and I prayed.
I thought of something I wanted to say, but I asked myself: Is this something that I need to say right now? I had a little voice inside that told me I don’t need to say this to my mother right now. I would be quiet and wait for a new thought to come up. I ended up repeating this to myself several times and thanking my mom for being here and doing this. I love you and I’m okay with whatever you need to do.
I know when I feel broken I need people to love me and I need people to help me when I’m open to help. It’s hard for me to see in AA meetings that people can’t stand to see another person crying, they have to fix it. They jump right in with a Kleenex and that just kills me. I feel like when I’m hurting and I want to share I just want people to listen. I don’t want the whole world to pounce on me and try to fix me because I know I will be fixed. I will do the work to be fixed. I struggle sometimes to not be the fixer. Today I try to talk about the things that I’m going through so maybe you can relate to it in what you’re going through. I realize today I try to fix everyone and everything else when the only one that I can fix is me. Sometimes I can’t even fix me so I pray for help.
After I finished talking to my mom, I walked down the street with my dog. I was in my old person hat and my glasses and I cried. I had so many emotions at the same time. I wondered what people in their cards would think of me to see this guy walking down the street with his dogs crying. I felt like I just wanted to open up my heart with love to the world and everyone that needs it. I felt broken hearing the women that cared for me through my temper tantrums and my frustrations in pain.
To watch the woman that’s worked so hard for me struggling, I felt broken. What helped me was to know at the bottom of my heart that I did my best. I said the best things I could think of. I was quiet instead of saying things I didn’t think were the best things. I said something’s that might have not been helpful. I think most of what I did is listen and be helpful. I think what I did is try to show that I loved my mom and tried to love her unconditionally.
I knew that I did my best. I know that if I never get to talk to my mom again that’s okay and if I do get to talk to my mom again, that’s okay too. That left me feeling productive. That left me feeling useful and it leaves me motivated to share with you. Especially on Facebook, how many times does it look like everyone’s out there having a blast? Even with the things I post it looks like I’m just rocking everyone else in Call of Duty. In reality, I get through things that are tough like what I’m sharing with you now.
The walk with my mom today was challenging. It brought me down to tears, walking down the street on a busy road with cars driving by and feeling vulnerable. I felt like the only thing I can do is continue loving anyone and everyone in my life and doing my best right now. I don’t need the future to save me because the future also condemns me. I don’t need the past to validate me because the past also has a lot of pain and suffering in it.
Right now is a beautiful wonderful moment and I pray to remember that right now is a beautiful moment. I pray to remember the best I can do to help anyone in my life is to listen to what they’re going through. I pray to share my experience because I don’t know what you’re going through or anyone else is going through. I pray that you have the same opportunity today to do anything you see me doing that you like. I’ve learned from so many other’s mistakes that I haven’t had to make myself and I’m grateful for that. I value your feedback on this format. Thank you for being here and I hope you have a great day today.
Do you like this personal story format that tries to minimize preachy and minimize fixing you in favor of sharing what I’m doing and real stories from my life? I’d appreciate your feedback.