attending.love’s.suffering.

The red circle growing around the newly installed feeding tube is troubling, painful. An infection mounts.  The procedure must be done again – this prosaic short cut to the stomach – for the day when my father’s tongue and throat give out.  I absorb the suppurating details miles away on the phone, and try to let the pain of it pool around me, to hold a portion of it for a while.

A few blocks away, my mother-in-law suffers a black, festering wound that will not heal.  Her 94 year old frame cannot circulate blood enough to mend it; nor survive the surgery to repair it.  She will not complain, nor speak of it at all.  But her eyes weaken, lost to the night.  I look into them, as I can; I try to not look away.

This morning, a friend is bereft beyond speaking.  Her husband has been shattered by a SUV while steering his way home on a bike. Her child, now, is fatherless, and young.  I open the door to their burning grief, and let it roar in the chambers of my heart.

If I am to attend to those I love, then I must enlarge myself in order to hold all of their life and its many mansions — even the empty rooms, even its corridors of harrowing pain .  I must let my heart break, over and over, a little or a lot, but every time; in order to hold the love that also rushes in.  I must learn to stay still, quiet even, when I can do nothing but breathe with the other whose life is on fire.  And to bear it.  To bear the beams of love and the long chill of fear.  Together, to bear it all together in the house of my heart, made larger each day by those who have taken up residence there.

Susan

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~ by Susan on 07/30/2010.

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