In the past week, I've talked to three different mothers (two local, one from out of state) who have daughters suffering with eating disorders. At one point or another in each conversation the moms exclaimed, "Why me...why our family...especially now?" They do not expect me to answer this rhetorical query, but it always tugs at my heart to hear it.
Indeed, why them: two of the three families are undergoing horrific simultaneous family illnesses, recent deaths, and/or financial woes. I asked this same question just an hour after learning of Andrea's death. It now seems more appropriate for me to ask instead, "Why not me?"In a long ago grief therapy session I remember the gentle therapist who had suffered many loses of her own looking deeply into my eyes and repeating the Zen-like phrase, "...and this too." This phrase seems a softer form of "why not me" as they both allow for the fact that living with one, or two, or dozens of simultaneous tragedies does not make one immune to additional tragic events. If we live long enough, we are guaranteed to witness the illnesses and deaths of numerous (possibly all) of our loved ones.
This may seem a depressing thought, yet for me its reality speaks to my need to be present and awake with those I love, including myself. It is a not-so-subtle reminder to experience each moment. And when those moments feel like they have bunched up to thwart us, we need to reach out for help and support. Sometimes all that "help and support" can do is to listen with an empathic, compassionate ear and pray for us on our journey.
We are all, as Andrea would say, "A Plethora of Ands." The final three stanzas to a poem she wrote by that title gives sound guidance:
dig ten toes into the sucking, receding sand
take my own steps
contain myself as my own separate current
not to be swept Away
I can eat, I can laugh, I can dance
I can cry, and play, and Love
I can Live
without condemnation, without reprimand
The Incredible Dichotomy of Being
It is no longer either/orWhen we ask, "Why me?" let's remember to take a "deep breath" while we dig our ten toes into the "sand" of life. And keep in mind that even with "this too" we can eat, laugh, dance, cry, play and love. We can live.
I am a plethora of ands 1
With blessings until next time,