Blog 2325 – 03.06.2022
Sometimes the key to staying strong in a particularly difficult situation is learning to manage our own expectations. We cannot, much as we might wish we could, control others or the circumstances that their actions create, but we can choose how we react to them. Always expecting others to follow the dictates of their highest best angels is a recipe for disappointment, delusion, and despair. Examining our own track record in that regard should make us more patient with others and as well with ourselves.
Probably the worst trial of life is watching someone we love suffer and feeling helpless to intervene for them. It is a truism that often the attempted rescuer succumbs to the water, the fire, the smoke that the person they are hoping to rescue is engulfed in. All my years of on the job safety training has emphasized over and over again to never ever risk your own life attempting to save another. To paraphrase another truism, “Two losses do not make a right.”
For over three weeks now I have carried the burden of seeing my loving and lovely wife Linda lost in the dark woods of her own mind. The last two weeks of those due to COVID restrictions at the behavioral hospital she was transferred to, I have not been able to visit her. It is a position that I would wish on no one. Our son Jonathan, Linda’s mother Betty, sister Sarah and other family and friends all share the burden of Linda’s current situation. But, I as her husband, feel the most responsible for her. Should I, not have seen the signs of a break with reality sooner? Could I not have done more and sooner to get her help? Or did I just “hope and pray” that she would get better on her own. I apologize if I appear to be denigrating anyone’s faith but “hoping and praying” have done precious little for Linda in the loss of both breasts years apart to cancer or to dissuade her of her mother’s grief for two miscarried babies she so wanted so that Jonathan would not be an only child. Linda has suffered the slings and arrows of misfortune as we all have, but how much can one soul so strong and yet tender endure?
The path out of those dark woods is long and winding and it is only a matter of time till the birds have eaten all the bread crumbs placed there to guide her on her way back. I pray, God, and hope, it does not work out that way.
The five stages of grief cited in today’s picture are the ways in which we come to deal with the loss of a loved one. One of my favorite of Jesus’ parables is the Prodigal Son. It is the strong and long suffering dad that strikes me most in the story when he says, “Kill the fatted calf, get a ring and a robe, let us celebrate, my son was lost but is found, was dead, but is alive again.”
The doctors, therapists, and nurses still offer hope that in time they can get Linda back to her baseline. But, I believe that the Linda that was lost, like the prodigal son in the story will return to us a new and improved version of herself – heathy, happy, and whole.
Maybe, I believe in the power of “thoughts and prayers” more than I did even when I let go of a lot of other beliefs that I found to no longer be serving me.
Your friend and fellow traveler,
No Night So Long