Emotions are feeling really heavy for me this week. I am feeling everything so deeply. I’ve being crying a lot. I wrote a while back about how having self compassion does not mean that you have less compassion left over for others (it’s not pie). I believe this to be entirely true.
What happens to me sometimes, though, in the wake of my dad’s death, is that I get really overwhelmed by the grief of others.
Two of the kindest, happiest, most outgoing people I know (who are in their forties!) are fighting cancer. They are both undergoing grueling chemo treatments. There is a little girl, Kira, whose pictures are shared daily in my newsfeed – she’s the niece of a friend. Her family has gambled everything to travel with her to a foreign country for an experimental treatment for the rare, usually terminal, cancer that she developed at age 8. Their baby is suffering.
Yesterday a friend told me that last week her best friend went into the hospital for a routine c-section to deliver her twins. Everything went wrong, and her friend didn’t survive. Now her friend’s husband is the grieving, bewildered father of newborn twins who will never meet their mother.
Do you see where I’m going with this (other than to make everyone cry)?
You see, I start thinking about how much pain I am in, and then I imagine so viscerally the pain that these other families are in…and it is so very heavy on my heart.
Yes, my dad died. He was an amazing man. It was sudden, and shocking. But, he was my dad, and I am a grown up, and in the natural order of things, it’s expected that one will outlive his/her parents. I had a lot of time with a beautiful human as my father. It is awful, his loss, but…in a way, not entire unfair. Or, at least more fair than what others are going through.
I call that emotional rabbit hole the worst game ever. Like a really f*ucked up game of “Would you rather?”
I would rather not have any of it happen to anyone. Thank you very much.
But it is. It does.
I need to find a way to be empathetic without drowning in it.
Here’s the thing – sometimes, you can help. You can bring meals, or donate money…just, Something.
Sometimes, there’s nothing you can do to help but surround these people, who are going through their darkest days, with light and love.
But, here’s what I am figuring out. One thing you can always do, is spread love.
Spreading love – it helps. Even if you are just loving on the ones you can. So today, I did a few things just to spread some love in my world…
I bought a coffee for one of my colleagues (and a juice for her little boy) when I ran into them at Starbucks this morning.
I wrote a note declaring my thanks and undying affections to a friend, and included two tickets to see a musical group that she likes.
I donated to young Kira’s fight for survival.
I brought some homemade soup to work to share with my colleagues.
I’ve got a bottle of wine and some pizza and I rented a movie, and I am about to enjoy it with someone I love.
Do what you can.
Cherish what and whom you have.
Spread the love.
Here’s the link if you would like to help Kira, too…