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In my life, I’ve felt all different forms of pain…..physical pain from a badly cut knee, mental pain from hours of studying only to “honorably” fail a test, emotional pain from the loss of someone close, spiritual pain from berating God for allowing my son to suffer.  Pain is part of what makes us who we are. Its legacy is to leave scars which become part of the fabric of the story of our lives. There has been pain from breakups, pain from loves never recognized, pain from unacceptance, pain of facing terrifying unknowns.

I have endometriosis.  I’ve had that diagnosis so long, it’s just a part of life, part of who I am.  It’s something I have, but I try not to  let it become who I am. Most  of the time, I can completely forget about it.  But for two days a month, it overtakes, overwhelms, debilitates. I hate it.  It’s a physical pain that changes who I am for those two days. It makes me weak, takes me away from my normal routine, has to be planned around.  It puts a wall between me and my regular life.

I remember a few significant break-ups in my life. So many tears were shed, so many words written trying to get rid of the pain. The losses took my breath away and I felt my heart actually hurt. Before that, I’d never known precisely why the proverbial “they” called it “heartbreak”. I did feel like my heart was breaking, and the grief took me out of my normal life; it put a wall between me and everyone/ everything else.  I lived behind a cloud for a while, until time healed and I realized I was better off, and better for the experience.

Before Ryley, I’d only known pain from my own sufferings….a move that took me away from my best friend, the divorce of my parents, the loss of Grandma B, friendships gone the way of time.  The moment I saw I was bleeding, I knew a new pain and a horrifying fear. My life had never been so wrapped up  in the existence and survival of another person. I ‘d never seen his face, hadn’t held him, didn’t even know at that point if he was a she or a he.  But I  knew that if he were dead as my heart truly believed at the moment, I was facing a crushing, unrecoverable pain.  The moment I heard his heartbeat on the monitor, I felt I was breathing again for the first time in nearly an hour.  When Ryley was born, there was just fear.  The pain came later as I watched him struggle to survive and knew there was little I could do to take away or change his pain. A mother’s pain was new to me. Not only did it take me away from my “normal” life, it put me in a completely different world, one I was totally unprepared for.  You come back from that world scarred in so many ways…physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. 

We said goodbye to my sister last Spring. The last time I saw her, I knew I was saying goodbye. She had always been a part of my life and it was breaking me to let go. In her way, she was more concerned about us than where she was going.  When she passed, Daddy was with her, and that is a pain that I hope I never comprehend…that of losing your child. Whenever I think about that moment, I am overwhelmed with the pain he must still feel.  I miss her so much…..her smile, her vivacity, her emails telling us how many days left until Christmas, her “queen of the smartasses” comments……I know my pain from her loss. I can’t begin to conceive the depth of my father’s pain, her mother’s pain.

Pain is a part of life, that is a sad fact. As my children grow up, I know there will be pain that I cannot protect them from. It will mold them, become part of who they will be. And I know that my future holds yet more painful events in store. We can’t evade it, can’t change it. I doubt I’ll ever come to terms with it.

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