No one cares
Time had stopped. Like a movie, the items that used to be my life were floating and flying and suspended in air around me. The shockwave of the explosion was expanding and moving outward… I could watch it. It was surreal. It overcame the room, and then my extended world. The consumption of every aspect of my life was complete. I was submerged in the concussive wave of disbelief.
Pervasive. Look it up… it is the right word. It is still inadequate. You cannot smell what I smell, as it lingers after the event. You cannot understand the sound in my ears, until the deafness became more, and there was no sound. Stultifying. Another good word… and still not enough. How can I describe what you cannot taste? Words fail to convey, but words are all I have.
In a perverse way of life, as every pin-drop is reverberating in my head, I am alone with this cacophony. Your life is still the same. Your sight is still seeing the beauty, the sounds of birds are still pleasant. You don’t care because you cannot know. The shock is not for you and the wave is not in your universe. The idea that you could and would care may be true, but the wave passed you by with no effect. My future is altered. Yours continues. My circle of controlled protection is shattered, and the power of deep space is now in and through me. Like every bad movie scene, it is my “now”.
The engines are silent. There is no movement. There is no power. This is my “moment” that continues with no understanding of the next moment even being possible to control. No one cares, is not because they don’t, but because they cannot. You can talk about “caring” for the friend with dementia, child loss, shocking business reversal, and more, but then you go home to your universe. External to even the knowledge of the thing. You are aware that it has taken place, but that is all.
When you consider the list that this includes it gets quite large. All of it is bad. All of it is specific. All of it is singular. Unless you were on the boat in the ocean, chasing the white whale, what do you know of starvation? Unless it was your child with the cancer or abduction what do you know of torment and crushed hopes. It is all very personal. Intimate may be a good word, but it is seldom used for this type of struggle. Isolation, isn’t inaccurate.
When even your skin hurts at the touch of a friend, simply wishing to lend comfort, how much time is enough before you begin the healing. I know there is a path that is to be allowed for the coming to rest after the shocking blow, specifically individual, and then the “one” that comes and says nothing, but weeps. Later there are decisions to be made and things to be done… but not yet. Recognition of the shock, when you are in shock, is a hard thing. Waiting to help the friend in that place, is as well.
Often, we compare. In a way, we are wired to do this genetically. It is a survival thing. The trouble is when we add judgements to the process. It is one thing to say that your arm was lost in the car wreck, it is another when your occupation is as a professional tennis player. To tell a grieving mother that she can have another child, is a very callous thing. But it happens. To tell the entrepreneur that they can start again after their business partner ran off with their ideas is to miss the understanding of the loss. To look at the single mom after the betrayal and abandonment of her partner is to miss the extended damage of her identity after rejection as well as the future of her children’s education or the place they will live next month. You would care, but you are limited by the fact that it is not your hell. To pretend that you know this hell is to be dismissive of the truth, you can’t.
What, then? To do nothing is also the wrong thing. To sit and weep is correct, but that requires you to set aside your list of items that need attention. Justice will come. Anger will need to be dealt with. Hollow emptiness may be satisfied, but not for a long time and with the scar always to remind you. Sometimes you limp. The steps of a friend, in this case, is that of the learner as well as the one that knows. If your history has included the similar loss, then your tears can be the same and as easily found. The tales are many of the wounded then having to help the friend that is reliving their own unhealed past… that is a sad thing. And then tomorrow comes. You are alone with the knowledge and the pain and the changing of the dressings, and I went back to my job, house, family… life. Alone.
Sometimes it is a card in the mail. It comes unexpected… and brings the knowledge that you are not forgotten. It is a simple thing. A card. But the impact is beyond the little envelope, of hope. I matter. I will not waste my pain, but I will heal. I will survive and be changed for having the episode as a memory. One that I can share, if I wish, to a friend that I choose. That I can perhaps tell of the reason for the limp, and the scar. You will then know me better. You may be free to then tell of your own. I will listen with new hearing, having survived my own story.
This is rare stuff. To be this vulnerable, and yet this safe. To tell the friend, of the affair so long ago. The fire is usually just embers by now, and the wine is gone, and the tale is fresh. The friendship deeper for the telling. The memory is yours. Share it and it gains a new life. Of the days when no one knew. Of the days when one cared.
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