March 28, 2004

Rethinking pain, delayed and otherwise

Iíve never thought of myself as someone who ran away from pain. Although I wouldnít mind having less pain in my life, I find it a valuable lesson. I can often be very philosophical about it, especially after the event/fact has cooled.

I recently reread some of Tamarís entries in her journal Hidden Laughter, about her son Damian, his diagnosis of (and recovering from) high functioning autism and how she and Dan have worked with him. I can't begin to tell you the effect rereading it has had for me. I don't think I have allowed myself to go through her experience anywhere near the level that she has. I have pushed away my own pain in the situation. Just enjoyed the excitements of his (many) accomplishments. I reread all the entries with tears running down my face, so many tears the words were often blurred. As if the numbness that I had encouraged was rapidly melting away, a bleeding glacier.

It has been the same with my granddaughter, who moved to Brazil when she was just over two years old. I hadnít seen her for five years until this last January. I could feel my son's pain, but not my own. Now the pain of separation is easily available. I cannot think of her without tears of pain and joy. Pain for her being so far away, joy for knowing her.

I hope I can use this pain in a way that can be helpful. Yet it is very easy to deny pain in a situation when you feel helpless. I can talk to Tamar often, visit some, be helpful to her during difficult times, but there was little I could do for Damian, who is 4,000 miles away most of the time. And less for Shaya in Brazil. I can joke about being Grandmotherly Challenged. But it is still hard.

Posted by leya at March 28, 2004 09:11 AM