Monday, May 20, 2013

Angelina Jolie's Choice

Many of you by now have heard about Angelina Jolie's choice to have a double mastectomy.  This is such a personal decision that I dare not comment on anything other than her ability to go through whatever it took to come to her decision.  I'm sure it took a lot.

One thing I do know that it took, as she noted in her New York times Op Ed, is the support of her partner.

Not many, if any, commentators focused on the couples part of her story.  But consider the discussions they had, the times they held each other and cried, what they laughed about, and what kind of future they are imagining (because even with this surgery, it's not over).

She wrote:
"I am fortunate to have a partner, Brad Pitt, who is so loving and supportive. So to anyone who has a wife or girlfriend going through this, know that you are a very important part of the transition. Brad was at the Pink Lotus Breast Center, where I was treated, for every minute of the surgeries. We managed to find moments to laugh together. We knew this was the right thing to do for our family and that it would bring us closer. And it has."

While essential, it's not just about the partner's love and support.  It's about his carrying the load with her.  Entering into it.  Feeling empathy, and sympathy.  Understanding when to discuss, when to lie in each other's arms, and when to share what this means to him.  It's about holding hands and jumping off the platform together into a future you never envisioned when you made your commitment to each other.

A friend sent me this Zen teaching.  This is what I wish for this couple, and all of us:

Welcome everything.
Push away nothing.
Bring your whole self to the experience.
Don't wait.
Find a place of rest in the middle of things.
Cultivate don't-know mind.

1 comment:

Lynda Halliger Otvos (Lynda M O) said...

good advice-thank you for sharing. AJ is a brave and wise woman.