Someone very close to me has received a diagnosis of cancer. Neither the nature of the relationship nor the specifics of the diagnosis are significant here – what I am watching, as though from a distance, is my own set of responses.
I have been here before. The shock of the information, the moment when everything goes still and you find yourself not breathing. The deliberate focus on detail – who, what, when – what is the plan – what do you need – how can I help. My method for coping with crisis is to become very organized and intentional. I suppose that is about imposing some degree of order on a suddenly chaotic world.
That works for a limited amount of time. It is the cushion that the psyche provides when events are too overwhelming to process all at once. I find that it is useful.
What I have not done, and what I need to do, is to set aside time to feel the emotions that I am now deliberately avoiding. I am afraid. I am devastated. I am unbelieving and in shock. I am so afraid that my time on this earth with this person is coming to an end. I am dealing with loss.
I wish I had words to say that would make it better. I wish it were not happening. I wish I could go back to that blissful place of unknowing. I wish so many things.
This event throws into perspective once again that truth – our days on this earth are numbered. We will all follow the same path out of this world, and each and every moment we have together is a gift and a blessing. I remember when I was a teenager and experienced the assassination of President Kennedy – my response that day was to gather all my siblings and to go home, to a place we could all be together.
My impulse today is the same, but we are widely scattered – thousands of miles apart. So – metaphorically speaking I gather us all into love and light, I reach out and connect, I share my loved one’s story far and wide, because I believe that loving energy helps and supports healing. I do all I can.
And I take time to cry.
About Susan Hammonds-White, EdD, LPC/MHSP
Communications and relationship specialist, counselor, Imago Relationship Therapist, businesswoman, mother, proud native Nashvillian – in private practice for 30+ years. I have the privilege of helping to mend broken hearts. Contact me at http://www.susanhammondswhite.com.
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