This has been a really hard month for my extended family. [Deja vu. Haven’t I said that recently?]
Yesterday morning I had some insight into why I personally am struggling so much with the unexpected health crises of my family members. (You know, beyond the normal reactions one would expect from life-and-death situations.)
I realized that I am taking feelings, reactions, fears, hopes, reliefs, and thoughts from a number of experiences in my past, and conflating them all into one big immediate THIS is what I need to handle NOW.
In reality, I need to cope with each issue individually. I don’t have to deal with THIS all at once – I can take each piece one at a time. These smaller pieces, when added all together, truly equal THIS big thing. But I need to process the pieces that make the whole, rather than tackle the whole all at once.
- I have childhood emotional trauma from visiting a great aunt in a nursing home and not understanding the magnitude of issues the elderly face when confronted with it for the first time on a grand scale.
- I have (what I thought were resolved) issues with my dad’s angioplasty surgeries and heart attacks over the past approximate 20 years. (These have been occasional, not continuous, problems during this time.) I have come a long way since the first scare, but this month has shown me that I really am not yet ready to accept the idea of the eventual death of my father.
- I have fears of unexpected and uncontrollable accidents because of two aunts and a niece who have experienced traumatic deaths.
- I have anxiety concerning strokes because of my grandpa, father-in-law, and others.
This is the emotional place from whence I am trying to deal with the major upheaval of this month.
So yesterday morning when I recognized that I was combining everything into one huge event – rather than the smaller, though admittedly significant, events they were/are – it was an epiphany. I realized that if I slow down and consider each piece individually, not only will it be more manageable but I will be able to make better sense of the whole.
Also, viewing the whole as a multitude of pieces, rather than as one big chunk, will lead to more internal peace – and (hopefully) to an eventual better acceptance of the fragility of mortality, as well as a clearer understanding of life eternal.