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Sunday, January 15, 2012

"Pain demands to be felt"

One of the benefits of Twitter is that it exposes you to people you would never meet in person. I stumbled on a fellow author, Jessica Corra, who tweeted about a young adult novel, The Fault in Our Stars. She simply endorsed it with an OMG. After reading the synopsis on Amazon, I downloaded it. On its face, it sounds morbid. Two teens battling cancer who meet at a support group and fall in love. It also sounds a bit cliche, with the whole young love in the face of death spin. But I've found myself laughing at the crass honesty of the protagonist, a teen girl who drags around an oxygen tank and an insight beyond her years. An insight born of the reality of facing death at the time in life when most feel invincible.

The protagonist, Hazel, refers to her favorite book and one of its quotes: "Pain demands to be felt." As I mentioned in my last post, one of the greatest compliments to a writer is when a reader puts a book down to digest something in her book. Mulling it over. Rolling it over your tongue. Understanding that it is profound before understanding why it's profound.

Pain demands to be felt. We try to ignore it. Some put ear buds in and run as fast as we can. Some immerse themselves in family and activities. Some soothe it with food. Some with drink. Some in the arms of others. Trying to forget the pain gnawing at them. Trying to push it into a deep place where it won't be felt. Trying to numb it. But like inflatables you can't sink in a pool, no matter how long you try to hold it down, pain will pop right back up. With a splash.

For as wonderful and incredible as my life is right now, there is enormous pain in my mother's disease. The aching hole in my heart because she isn't in my life--and my children's lives--is a buoy that keeps popping up. I try to ignore the pain. Focus on all that is wonderful in life. But her face and her absence is always looming in the back of my mind, and my heart. I have to allow myself to mourn the loss of having a mom who's actively involved in my life before I will be free of the nagging stone in my soul. "Pain demands to be felt." So we must feel it. We must confront it, embrace it, and deal with it. Because ignoring it only puts off the inevitable, and destroys us in the process.

So one line in a YA novel made me stop, reflect, and blog. I can only hope my words have such an effect.


  1. I'm not even done the book and I have a running list of quotes I've had to stop reading to think about. That's one of them, for sure. I'm sorry to hear about your mother's illness. What a tough thing. I can relate, though...

  2. Thank you, Jess, for reading. How can you relate? I'm sincerely asking...