Time to be More Selfish

>>  Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Yesterday a friend I’ve started running with said he’d assumed I was in my 30s. Bless him. It set me thinking.
How old do you feel? I’ve decided I feel 27. I look at all the old people on the bus and know I am closer to their age but inside I feel about 27.

I wonder why? Around that age I probably had mentally matured. So maybe that is where my brain settled.

Up until then I’d been more impulsive, perhaps less caring of ‘my duty’ to others. I still was a Guider, I attended community events, ran stalls, did volunteer work but I’m not sure I was so aware of how my actions affect others. Don’t get me wrong, I still do it wrong but know I recognise it.

Whilst Cog was becoming ill I’d avoided telling too many people thinking there was nothing they could do anyway but once I was aware the odds were against her living I started to tell people I thought should know like grandparents. I reached out to my own friends for support and then I told her closest childhood friends.

What I hadn’t realised was the impact it would have on them. One of my own friends was incredibly upset, much more than I’d ever imagined. One of Cog's childhood friends suffered her own life trauma a few years ago and I didn’t take into account how much more this might affect her because of it. There were a couple of people I told after Cog looked like recovery was going to happen, but she was still in intensive care, that burst into tears on the phone. I was becoming acutely aware that I was creating real stress for these people and it worried me.

I decided to ask someone about it who must deal with bad news a lot...our vicar. I assume vicar school must have a ‘handling bad news’ class, a ‘most appropriate conversation responses in all social situations’ module and not forgetting the ‘how to sleep with your eyes open’ practical lesson.

He said people at the centre of a trauma, particularly death of a close relative, often end up carrying other people’s grief. He had no easy answers except suggesting sometimes it’s better to give little detail and just ask people to pray for them.

Given what was actually happening to Cog and the desperate state she was in, I thought I had been quite light in detail with most but I thought it best to say we weren’t sure if she was going to live than make light of a dire situation and the mixed emotions that would create if she died. But it was hard trying to decide what to say from my chair in ICU on very little sleep.

I’ve never been great at clearly expressing myself, leaving a trail of misunderstanding behind me and people that seem to take offence to my words despite them (mostly) having good intentions. I can be socially awkward finding it hard to naturally find my place in a group. But my heart is genuinely in the right place, I want others to be happy.

I finding now, even weeks after the worst has past that people are still crying when I see them for the first time and they ask me about it.  It's really hard, I really feel for them and it churns it up for me, but on the other hand I feel the need to talk about it.  It's been difficult.

I think this experience has changed me a bit, currently I feel more isolated like I’m in a bowl looking at a world that doesn’t understand what we’ve been (and are going) through. But I also think now it’s time to be pre 27 for a while, to think more about myself and what makes me happy.


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