If you have read many of these blogs, you have seen that I love to hang out with people that are newly injured. I like being at the hospital. I like being with their families and I like being with them. And if you’ve read very many of these, you know it’s for completely selfish reasons. It makes me feel good. I like being with these folks at the beginning of this journey so that days and weeks and months and even years later, we can reflect back on what it was like “back in the day.”
However, the one drawback is waiting for the dreaded question. From day one, hell, from minute one, I have my first rule and that is I will answer any question. Nothing is off-limits. If you want to know something, I will tell you the answer. Brutal honesty. If you trust me enough to let me into your live
s when you’re going through such a difficult time, you’ve earned the right to have access to my whole story. All of it. No matter how vulnerable it makes me. It’s our trade-off.
I never shy away from that and I never change it. But I’m always secretly hoping that the dreaded question is not asked.
So what is it? Sex? Religion? Politics? Bladder management? Bowel program? Nope. Those are easy. They are not in the realm of the dreaded question. So again, what is it?
The question is:
“My kid, father, husband, wife, (insert whoever the person who was injured is) can’t accept their injury. How did you get over it? What can we tell them to help them get over it?”
Anything else. Everything else. Not this question, please. This question scares me the most. Freddy Krueger has nothing on this. Jason Myers? Wimp. Vampires, zombies, fear of heights, The IRS, commitment, spiders ( well maybe spiders) nothing.
I have no answer. Nothing. Bubkis. The big 0. I was lucky. I was blessed. I was surrounded by good people and God granted me the one reprieve that I needed at that time. And quite frankly I think I was too dumb to know what was going on. (Read the blog about how I got hurt. It’s a testimony to stupidity.) I don’t have any magic words or magic advice to help people through this one question. I can’t say, “Keep the faith alive. Keep trying. One day at a time.” I don’t know if that helps.
What I can say is, I have learned to live with it. So many others have learned to live with it. We’ve learned to thrive with it. Not just the people that are injured but their families and their loved ones. I can tell you, “This is not the end but just the beginning.” I can tell you the sooner you are able to make some peace with the unfairness of the universe the easier it gets.
I can also tell you that if you’re not ready for that, I will be here when you are. Whether it’s a week, a month, a year or 10 years. There’s always a spot to start living a full and wholehearted life when you’re ready.
I wish I had a better answer. I wish I could bridge that pain for so many. As I get older, I realize I can’t. I realize the best I can do is let you know that I am honored to be there with you for as long as it takes. And that entire time, I’m going to try in my clumsy and most inarticulate way to help you crossover.
In the meantime I’m going to be open and honest and never go back on that promise.
At the same time, I’m going to be hoping and praying no one asks that question.