the rain pushes gloom through my window
into my heart,
running down uncontrolled like the tears on the cheeks of my swollen face…
everything about this numbness, this shock and disbelief gives me permission to stay in bed for a long while, it’s just that difficult to lift body or spirit…
…and I don’t wear it well. Ill-fitted and uncomfortable, I twist in itching pain as moments of comfort, consolation and concern from others soften the feel momentarily.
The dance of taking care of someone who is grieving is a carefully choreographed one, one in which we attempt to set aside our own issues to selflessly focus on the needs of another for an “unspecified period of time.” We must know ourselves, what we can handle, take an honest assessment of what we can offer before we extend a hand. As I mourn the loss of a friend, another whose intentions I have to believe were good left me with an unexpected conundrum. When we offer to be there for someone, how much of our own needs must we be willing to leave at the coat check? Once we begin, how do we step out of the dance to take care of our own self without disrupting the grieving process for the other? Are we really prepared to dance all night when perhaps all we should take on is one waltz around the room? As we care for someone else, things we are struggling with, our own unmet desires to be taken care of could surface without warning; the dance turns chaotic, the fragility on both sides takes on a feverish pace and nothing but pain is left on the floor. We are human, it happens.
I know that I am a compassionate, caring person who really can put someone else’s needs ahead of my own when that person is in pain. That said, I know my limitations and yes, I struggle with wanting to interject what’s happening to me thinking it may be helpful. Moving forward, I think I will call on a quick prayer, meditation, or chant as I take a breath before I open my mouth opting for unspoken, unselfish compassion to let someone know, I hear your pain, I am here for you.