In January, I devoured the incredible, The Fault In Our Stars, by John Green. If you haven't read the book, you must. It was written for Young Adults but it is profound. Mr. Green succinctly declares, "Pain demands to be felt." The quote forced me to put the novel down (only for a moment because it's so amazing!) and reflect. Please check out that post here: Pain Demands to be Felt. I've thought about that quote often and even resounded it with friends. Last night, I experienced it.
In my January post, I described ignoring difficult and painful issues: "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."
Last night, I sucked in a whole splash of pain. My dad told me recently that my mom is now on a puree diet. For those of you fortunate to not know what that means, my sweet mama is now being spoon-fed her meal in a baby-food consistency. What looked like meatloaf is now a brown mush. It's food. It's nutrition. And she opens her mouth and slowly swallows it like a baby bird. But if you showed a pureed meal to most people, they would turn their noses up. For my mom, it's a mark of digression. One more progression in this awful disease they call Frontal-Temporal Dementia.
I heard these words from my dad. Absorbed these words. But didn't allow myself to truly comprehend these words. Because in the busy world of suburbia with its bus stops, errands, meal-planning, and the wonderful bliss of life, such things halt you. Like a horse on a break-out run being yanked ninety degrees by the bit. At first, you sense but don't appreciate the change in direction. Then, as Mr. Green precisely averred, the pain will demand to be felt. And it slapped me in the face. Hard. And this morning, the sting hit me again with the tender bruise left in its wake.
I can only hope that my words move readers in a fraction of the way Mr. Green's provoked me. Forced me to allow myself to mourn the incremental loss of my sweet mama. That by discussing the difficult issues we face that we'll find release in confronting them. Even if the confrontation leaves us feeling broken. Because the pain demands to be felt.