Last night, my thirty-seven-year-old son spent the night in our home. He suffers from chronic pain–gimpy from a stroke in infancy, fibromyalgia, a dislocating shoulder. Serious pain. Over the years I have been aware of his need for stronger pain medications, and how he plans his day so physical activity falls during the medicated periods.
Three or four times during the night I heard him cry out in pain. Once he shuffled to the kitchen to take medication, and I heard him sink into the living room recliner for a while.
There was a decade when I pushed away my empathic feelings, and tried not to think about his suffering, either. My experience is different now. It isn’t his pain–he doesn’t own it–it’s life’s pain, pouring through him. He has deep wisdom, and in the midst of his suffering, he understands this.
I feel it, yes, deeply–but not in a personal way anymore. When I can help, I do so. Mothering is a role, it is not what I am.
© Skye Blaine, 2011