This has been a rough week. These are the weeks when I am tested by the shouldawouldacouldas. I’m trying to develop a little personal maturity about the whole ordeal, though. So when I saw an old friend, for the first time in many years- more than six- I prepared myself for the typical questions.
The manner in which I answer the questions doesn’t vary, much. I am a proud Southern girl. Meir’s voice is always reminding me “when somebody’s trying to love you, you let ’em”. And that’s generally what is happening. People are curious. The mind processes information more effectively when there is common ground. People subconsciously try to relate.
Meir and Pa’s generation was one of selflessness. They’d try to fix anybody. Meir would feed them to death. Pa would clip articles from Dr. Red Duke out of Reader’s Digest, and pick up a new bottle of horse liniment, just in case. Their Sunday school class sent out get well notes with helpful advice every Monday. ‘Date Line Local’ let everyone know who had passed and when services would be held, and thereby, where all food should be delivered.
While in nursing school, I developed some obscure heart problems, atypical stuff for a very young lady. Several tests later, a ‘renowned’ Cardiologist told Meir I couldn’t be left alone until I had a pacemaker put in. She marched right into the mill office and told them she’d be back after she got me well. She got busy calling everybody she kne
w for opinions.
Meir did tell me what to do, when to do it, and how she expected it be done. And I just said “Yes Ma’am.” every time she paused long enough for me to get a word in. Pa never did try to get a word in- in front of me. He always asked Meir to give him all the details when I wasn’t in the room. Getting me well was a collaborative effort.
Meir got a second AND third opinion. There would be no pacemaker. From then on it was always something. Every year or so, a new issue would come up, and she would go through the same steps figuring out a way around my ‘quirks’.
I learned long ago to appreciate the good intentions behind most of the suggestions offered. I am a medical anomaly. I own it.
So, my old friend was taken aback by the changes in me since last we’d met. I am not the same person I once was. I explained the chronic nature of my illness, and the equally destructive condition that has been the result. I listened to the usual suggestions. I didn’t try to correct any misconceptions- I can always do that later.
I remind myself occasionally how far I’ve come, physically, from that lowest of lows five years ago. It’s not a pleasant anniversary to celebrate. If I only remember the pain, I will neglect to acknowledge the strength of spirit I’ve built from it. I am never very far, emotionally, from Meir’s living room.
I hear others being “offered” unsolicited advice, and how much it irritates them. It is understandable when, YES, I have tried that (all of it, that is legal, anyway). But people wouldn’t try to help if they didn’t care. Southern kindness and respect always trumps ego.
Get well notes, food that you can’t eat, Reader’s Digest medical advice, and strong horse liniment still convey the same message. Somebody cares.
Be well. Be blessed, Y’all.
~ When somebody’s trying to love you- you let them. ~ Meir