Saturday, October 29, 2016
To Talk or Not to Talk?
Illness is such a thief. It can take away so much of what we consider vital. It can take away the peace that comes from taking the ordinary for granted. It can steal intimacy.
Illness depletes, but it also deposits. It inserts all kinds of emotions, at levels of intensity that can be blinding. Illness awakens fear of tragic loss, rage at incremental loss, loneliness, out of controlness, and perhaps worst of all, hopelessness.
For some, perhaps many partners, illness can also act like a laser slicing through the noise and the irrelevances of daily life and can illuminate the essential. There is nothing quite like illness to help you to sort through the chaff and the wheat and to decide what really matters. Hopefully that's love and compassion.
Talking to each other, and to others, is the lifeline. It helps us thread the morass and stay tied to something real that can be a source of connection, even comfort. Saying aloud to your partner, to your friend, what you hate, what you still love, what you want, what is still possible, where you keep your hope, how you struggle with you hopelessness -- can be sustenance.
We fear that if we speak our inner truths aloud to our partner (be they well or ill) that it would only add to the already intolerable burden. That it would cause harm. This fear comes from the connection that still exists, from the desire to serve and to help. The irony is that in not talking about what is growing larger inside, you become more distant and wind up focusing on superficialities at a time when you need each other the most.
This is not a call to blurt it all out, with all the cutting edges sharpened.
Find your compassion for your partner and for yourself. Find a moment when there is time and quiet. Listen and ask as much as you speak. Let your love seep in wherever possible.
One of Richard's and my mantras is that what doesn't get spoken doesn't go away. It just goes underground and gets acted out instead of understood.
Have you and your partner found ways to have the difficult, reconnecting conversations? What have you tried? What's been the impact?