Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Somebody Else's Pain

Pain is part of being human, and it manifests itself in a myriad of ways. We all deal with pain differently, obviously, from punching walls to crying uncontrollably (that would be me) to pretending your pain doesn't exist.

What I've found over the past couple of days, though, is that the pain that someone else is going through can distress you far worse than any sort of hurt inside yourself. One of my friends just suffered a miscarriage. She has been trying to conceive for a very long time, was finally successful, was probably more excited about it than anyone I've ever seen, and now ...

I mean, what do you say? I'm so sorry? My thoughts and prayers are with you? Is there anything I can do? Want to go get very drunk, shoot some pool, and listen to bad music?

The truth is, there is nothing you can say in some situations. Calling or e-mailing or visiting or whatever, wouldn't it just be a reminder? I've been in contact, sent my regrets and good thoughts, and so have a plethora of other people, but when push comes to shove, does that just make it worse?

I keep my pain very close to the vest. Most of the very traumatic things that have happened to me are things I do not speak of. They're things that I do not write of. They are things that, like my friend's little temporary miracle, there's just nothing anybody can say or do to make them better. Time passes. Life goes on. You don't forget, and the pain never goes away.

I am incredibly fortunate, I think, in that I've started to categorize some of my own horrific events. The things that it's possible to come to terms with, to overcome, I've made some steps. One of the greatest realizations is being able to incorporate some of my greatest pain into fiction, thereby giving myself some control over it, if that makes any sense.

However, I remain mystified as to what to do with somebody else's pain. I can give hugs. I can make people laugh pretty readily. I can offer all the positive thoughts in the world, but it is not going to change my friend's pain.

I hate being powerless, but even more so, I hate to see people I care about in so much pain. I just hate it!