Today a friend was faced with a difficult decision. It was a decision she has tried to skirt away from for many days but it finally caught up to her today. I have learned her pain was real and some people may not understand because there are many more difficult and profound decision to make. But I was faced with the same one 3 years ago and before I had been put to the test I really did not appreciate the pain of those who had suffered the same. I am guilty of having been cynical and smug, and sometimes I can forget myself and return to that unsympathetic and unfeeling egotism. My friend put her dog down today. Through her tears and struggling breaths she asked for my help and immediately I was taken back 3 years before. Murphy was 16 and had lived a good life and suffered so little but it was hard for me to make the decision. Once done I was immediately relieved, sad but relieved. The decision is the difficulty. Afterwards the business of grief and adjustment can get on; healing can begin. The pain is very real though and I am thankful I remembered today.
My sisters and I struggled with the decision of my mother's care. Each of us would have our days where the one decision we had made was the wrong one and the other sisters would have the duty of talking the distraught off the proverbial ledge. We can loose touch with reality when we are too blinded by emotions. I like to think of it as standing too close to the painting.
One day many years ago during a particularly cynical period of my life a very kind and wise gentle friend sweetly shared that judging another's pain is impossible. I try to remember that every chance I have and use the opportunity to love the sufferer towards hope and healing. It is stupid and egotistical to compare pain. But I must be honest I have been guilty. Now I want to appreciate where I am going and remember where I have been.