That woke you all up. Good morning, all. You may need more coffee. Go on, I will wait.
I was thinking this morning (as I inspected the garden for field mice damage) about how we learn things about people too late. How knowing those things may have changed everything in my attitude towards them. How much my attitude needs adjusting at times. How we make sure people don't get close enough to really know us. How this leaves us isolated in a world few people know the password to, which means they never really enter and understand. And how learning the things which could have made such a difference sometimes only happens at funerals, for goodness sake. When it is way past the "too late" stage.
So I think we need to make sure there are no surprises at our funerals. What earthly (how appropriate is that word right here and now) good is it to find out who I am when I am dead??? I learned at the funeral I went to last week, that the man had lived in dreadful pain for years. Neurological pain. I didn't know. Few did. And that explained so much to me, because I am closely acquainted with neurological pain. And I understood why he had made the choices he did. Only after he died.
However, had I NOT had close acquaintance with neurological pain, I would probably have dismissed his pain as something he needed to get a grip with. Pain is manageable, isn't it, after all? Oh, so swift to judge. So quick to assume. He was like me, you see. And unless you have lived with it, it is unimaginable. Believe me.
There are 2 types of people. Those who, like my father, crush their hands under manholes or break their ankles, and still drive home and sit in a chair and pretend nothing is wrong. And those who get a sniffle and are about to expire from swine flu or pneumonia. Double. I am my father's daughter. To see me is to see "normal". Externally. To be me is to hide what I feel. Try to ignore. Pretend all is well. Imitating ostriches is a great past-time.
I didn't know until this morning, that he lived on morphine, this friend of mine. He too, was like my Dad. He never moaned about pain. He dealt with it in his own way - privately. Internally. Alone. And I know why too - because it makes people uncomfortable to hear things like that. It can become who you are. You see someone who is hurting coming and you tend to avoid eye contact or perhaps cross the road, because you do not necessarily want to become a part of the darker side of life. The hurting part.
And that is totally understandable.
So was his reaction to that. And mine. How are you? Oh I am fine, I say with a grin. Thinking in the head....say nothing and you won't have to go into details which will make their eyes glaze over. It has to be exceptionally bad for me to say I am hurting. I am an expert in this sort of deception, and consequently, my own worst enemy, as my doctors moan. Because I want to be Linds, and not the one who is "sick". Because I am more than the pain. I am ME. And heaven help me if they get all sympathetic and solicitous, because I would either burst into tears or
Just like I did last Wednesday. I am not proud of these words. I should have known better.
I would rather the surprises at my funeral be ones like - she learned to fly helicopters at 60. Or she paraglided off an Alp at 56. Or she wrote her first book at 58. Or did you know she actually DID go and lie on the cliff top in Norway and see the Aurora Borealis? Or stuff like that. Mind you, they would not be surprises, because believe me, you would be hearing all about those things AS THEY HAPPENED.
So we talk happily about the good stuff. And we stay silent about the bad stuff. It is the way we are wired. Well, the way I am wired.
Of course, this is just a blog. This is somewhere I write exactly what I choose to write. We all realise that this is simply one dimension of very multi-faceted lives. We do some serious editing along the way, and that is entirely appropriate. But in real life? How much do we keep to ourselves? How much do we let those closest to us really be part of? How honest are we? How many surprises will there be?
I had a very rare peek at my site meter the other day, and every time I write about deeper things, the stats soar. The ordinary? It stays fairly static. I never check the stats. They don't bother me, because they are not why I keep coming back here. The interesting thing though, is that a great many of my friends and family who actually know me in real life, read what I write. They worry about me at times, and they care, and that is wonderful.
You can't walk backwards into the future.
Sometimes, though, you have to stop, and turn around to assess how far you have come. What happens in the past shapes who we are as we face the future, of course. And yes, in my case, there is a great deal of looking backwards, because the whole hospital thing rumbles on at the pace of a comatose snail on crutches. Sometimes it feels as though I am stationary, marking time, watching and waiting and wanting the past to be over and done so that I CAN walk forwards into the future. And at times, I forget that there IS a future ahead too.
The UCB notes didn't end with that quote, by the way. That was the first part of the sentence. It goes on to say ".......and the future God has in mind contains more happiness than any past you can remember."