At least I hope so.
I vaguely remember a shirt my older sister used to wear when she was swimming. The message was something like this.
It was motivational, meant I am sure to remind the young swimmers that their fatigue from grueling practice would translate into race times that would forever keep them proud of their accomplishments.
And in that case, I hope the pain, the pain of lap after lap, translated into successful meet times that led to a gratifying feeling of pride.
But what about when it’s not that neat? What about when you can’t sort it out in a package, or tie a bow on it?
There is emotional pain. The empty pain of loss.
As I type, I have two lit candles on my desk, celebrating the 60th birthday of my uncle in heaven. The pain of his wife, his children, his mother, my dad, (his brother,) can not be explained. The loss is raw. The pain is an open wound.
I think of my college roommate, and her nephews and sister-in-law preparing for Christmas without their 36 year-old father.
I think of the loss of my Dad, just over a year ago, and the flood of memories and seasonal connections complicating my every thought.
I think of the loss of our beloved Allie Girl last week.
I think… and I think. And I know how badly it hurts. And I know we are so far from alone. I am grateful not to be able to imagine the depth of the pain some feel.
Pain is temporary…
There is the pain of anxiety. Very real. Depression. Equally crippling. I’d be lying if I said I haven’t battled with both my whole life, amped up by this Cowden’s Syndrome torment under which my girl and I will live forever.
Try as I might, the worry is stifling. The sense of urgency all the time is exhausting. There is little room for error. Screenings, medications, lab work, surgery. All scheduled with precision to conserve sick days and minimize missed school. Except when I can’t. Like when it’s an emergency. Then we just roll with it.
The anxiety weighs on my girl as well. 11 years old, trying so hard to be normal, and to fit in. But, the reality is there is no “normal.” So she fakes it as best she can, blessed to be surrounded by some spectacular kids.
But, she gets mad. Mad at the doctor, mad at her knee, mad that she takes two steps forward and three steps back, in this poorly choreographed dance she is forced to participate in. Mad that she can’t be “the best,” because her own best is unacceptable to her. And some days when she is extra mad, I wonder about the thyroid. Cause its absence affects all things. And this week came the phone call that the numbers have increased 400% over the last 3 months again. So we continue to raise the dose of a medication that I don’t think does a damned thing for her. We play the game while I search, frantically for someone to “get it.”
Pain is temporary…
Except when it’s chronic. And it involves every single minute of every day. And the one medication that does work is off-limits. And the surgery to plug the hole in the artery that was likely provoked by the absence of THAT medicine, causes and abundance of scar tissue and this feeling of a lump the size of a cashew or two exactly where the knee should be able to bend. And you have no way of knowing if its going to get better, or happen again. Any minute.
And the pain, well if it was only in your knee it would be better. But it’s in the shoulder, and the neck, and maybe it’s caused by the feet over a 1/2 size off, or that slight curve in the lower spine, or something else no one cares to figure out.
So, you gather your spoons. And you borrow a few.
And you press on. Through sixth grade and onto the principal’s honor roll, and through student council, and drama club, and fundraising activities, and swimming your butt off. Cause what choice do you have?
Pain is temporary…
We talk about injury pain, vs healing pain. Tonight’s pain counts as the healing type cause it was generated largely by exercise. This pain is movement in the right direction. Swimming heals the soul.
You have to find what heals the soul, or you will lose your mind. There is no other way.
Pain is temporary… cause it needs to be.
You have to find what brings you peace.
Two weeks ago on December 4th, I chose this. The butterfly breaking out of the cocoon. Free forever.
I miss my Dad.
My heart is full.
But we press on. Because pain is temporary. Even for all of us in the middle of the worst pain of our lives. The sun will shine again.
Channeling that energy into raising awareness, fundraising, and helping those whose sun hasn’t come back up.
Jeans for Rare Genes Fundraiser (Click here to support our fundraiser for the Global Genes Project and the PTEN foundation)
We are living real life, AND