chronic pain, Empathy, Positive Energy, Support for Chronic Pain

An Empathic Journey

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“Don’t let people pull you into your storm.   Pull them into your peace.”

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Yesterday was a very emotional day for me.  Part of it was because I was tired which always makes me extra emotional, part of it was the date and thinking/hearing about the events taken on 9/11/2001 and the rest was just feeling the pain of the people I came in contact with.  Either way, it was not how I had pictured the day going but my lense is often out of focus.  After writing my post yesterday commending the heroes from one of the most tragic days in my lifetime: 9/11, I took my three year old daughter to buy her ballet outfit: today is her first dance class and I think I am more excited/nervous than she is.  She loves dancing more than anything in the world and the song written in the 80’s entitled: “All She Wants to do is Dance” basically sums up the actions of our little girl.  She is nervous and continues to ask if I will buy a tutu to match her and dance with her as  in the class: wish I could, every girl should wear a tutu and dance no matter what her age.  However, this is a structured class and she will be led by a teacher and with six other three-year olds.  Clearly, my mind is continuing to project into the future so let me get back on track: empathy.  While checking out of the store with our tights and tutu in hand the woman behind the counter kept sniffling.  I tried to pretend she just had a cold or allergies but my eyes began to fill up and I just knew she was in a deep pain but I did not know why.  As Kayci handed the woman her snack to scan, I went behind the counter and asked the woman if I could give her a hug.  She looked so defeated and I did not even think about how crazy it may have seemed to others to walk behind the check out and literally just hug the woman who was holding my daughter’s tutu.  When I asked if I could hug her she replied: “It’s okay.  I am just in pain.  It is a pain that never goes away.”  I hugged her and the woman did not want to let go.  It was as if a child was in my arms and had not felt love once in her life.  I asked her: “Do you have chronic pain?”  She replied: “I don’t know what that is but it is pain all over my body that just never goes away and no one knows what’s wrong with me.  I’m probably crazy.”  Then I began crying and she was the one looking at me as if I was crazy, which to many I am: I own it.  I said to her very clearly: “I get it.  I have pain that never goes away either.  Maybe we met for a reason.”  I then realized my three-year old had taken this opportunity to start trying to open all the candy in the aisle and quickly made my way back to her.  As I was paying for our things, I saw I had one of my random business cards in my wallet.  I handed her the card which says: JESSICA MARTIN: SUPPORT FOR CHRONIC PAIN on the front and on the back has information about managing pain and my website address/twitter account and email.  That is when she smiled.  Not a huge AHA smile but a slight grin that exuberated hope.  She looked at me and said softly: “Yes, this is it.  This is what I have.  God Bless You.”  On our way out I looked back and the woman was still looking at my card looking mildly stunned.  The last thing I said to her was: “You are going to be okay.  I promise.  Keep your head up.  I come here a lot so talk to me anytime.  You are far from crazy.”  And that was that.  Kayci had no reaction.  I assume she is getting used to her mother’s odd behavior and started talking about how I forgot to buy her ballet slippers and we were on to the next part of our day.

I would have usually left this situation sad but I felt good: tired but good.  Who knows, the woman may have thrown my card out the second we walked out the door or maybe she really was grateful.  I’ll keep you posted (no pun intended) as I do go to this store often and if you know me you know I will be looking out for this woman who had no clue what chronic pain was and sadly thought she was crazy.  It truly does not take much to help someone and the quote above is very true.  She could have brought me into her storm: misery loves company as they say and I was in a sad mood myself but I brought her into my peace making both of our days a little better.

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