Sunday, 30 October 2016

A Lesson in Listening...

Let me first start this post with a HAHAHA at my resolve to blog daily. Considering it's been over a year since my last blog post, I think it's safe to assume I'm a blog-fail. Now that that's out of the way, I wanted to address something I've seen happening SO MUCH in recent days. Also, I don't normally swear in my posts, but I did a few times here. Apologies in advance, let's just call it 'fitting for the theme' this time.

We lost. We're lost. We lost our way. We're stumbling in the dark.
However you want to put it.

I'm not just talking about the election, although, I gotta tell you - I can't wait until we're all complaining about something else. But what I really want to address is how we have strayed off the path of being human. Our lack of empathy and compassion for one another has flown the coop. That's okay, if you've always been an asshole (pardon my French) but I have watched [seemingly] nice, articulate people turn into vapid, uncaring, my-shit-doesn't-stink, out and out jerks. I'm talking to you, yes, YOU. If the shoe fits, of course. If I said something and it struck a nerve, take a sec and do a little self observation. If it didn't bother you personally, but you have seen the same prevailing attitude, I'm glad to call you friend. 

The other day I had a horrible experience. HORRIBLE. At least it was to me. And then I had someone basically tell me I was overreacting to a situation I should be grateful for. So here's what happened: I walked into the SICU (Surgical Intensive Care Unit) following dad's lung operation. As I walked down the halls, the cacophony of beeps and monitors going got louder and louder. There was no escaping it. I apparently stopped, froze and began crying. JUST LIKE BEFORE when the lady in the electric cart at Publix backed up and the beeping started, a week after Paisley had come home. They had to call Kevin, because I couldn't drive. So back to the SICU, I sat down in the chair and tried my hardest to do those breathing exercises they taught me, like I was meditating. And the next thing I knew, the nurses were asking if I was okay and waking me up. I don't know if I was so exhausted that I relaxed myself into sleep, or if I passed out. No joke.

Later in conversation, we were talking about how we call it PTSD of the NICU. This someone else felt it was overreaction, because... get this, our baby is healthy now and home and not dead and therefore we had no right to feel traumatized from our stints in the NICU. We should've got over it and moved on. I won't defend our feelings, but I will say, don't think for a second that we don't appreciate what we have or how blessed we are. But we went through the toughest times any family should go through... not once, but THREE times. We witnessed, with heartbreaking sadness, a family play with their daughter's toes one day, and walk out with NOTHING the next. Torn between joy that we were not in their situation, devastation for their loss, and guilt for being grateful. We drove on less than 2 hours of sleep back and forth for nearly a year if you add up each child's time in the NICU. We woke with that terrified feeling that having left the hospital for any length of time was a sign that we didn't love our child enough to stand bedside for 24 hours. PTSD is not reserved simply for members of the military, or survivors of a shooting. It's any time of stressful trauma that is inflicted on someone. And for anyone to diminish someone else's pain as if it were insignificant because they are alive to talk about it today... you sir, are ASS!

I'm so exhausted from hearing people with total intolerance to those around them. I don't expect the average stranger to care about my life. But people who are 'close' or friends or even family, if you've found your compassion meter is empty, please get it refilled... or go stare in the mirror and tear yourself down. People struggle with so much these days. Parents struggle to raise their children amidst chaos and criticism every day. Yet not one of those critics are volunteering to do it for them or even offer a hand. We turn a blind eye to those in need, cast aspersions at the clothes someone is wearing or what they look like. And yet, so many are 'too busy' to volunteer, or give back. We have a society filled with people who have hidden illnesses and then SUDDENLY we are doctors and assessors... and yes, judges. I say this all, and you may think, wow talk about the kettle. I know I am not blameless. But I'd like to think we are constantly, myself included, maybe myself ESPECIALLY...trying to be better.

Better people. Better friends. Better spouses. Better daughters. Better mothers. 

So this beautiful Sunday morning, I sit on the couch, with laundry on one side & papers to sign for school on the other. One leg up, because I broke my toe (AGAIN) and watching Sherlock together. And we are taking turns telling each other what we like about the other person. I'm filling up my compassion meter, and adding a tankful of patience while I listen to what is important. Reminding myself that having empathy for one situation does not equate to antipathy for another. Reminding myself that we are human and fallible. Reminding myself that a little compassion goes a long way.