Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Keeping it secondary

I learned today that my sister-in-law not only has a recurrence of breast cancer, but that it has spread beyond her bones to her lungs. I know that's very very bad news. I know that she and Bob's brother will go to the oncologist tomorrow and talk about treatment plans - or the absence of treatment plans. I want to get on a plane and go to their house and make them soup and throw my arms around them both, but I'd just be in the way and I need to be here. I know I have real empathy for them, real concern for them - as themselves, as the people this is happening to right now. And I rem amber so well when my first husband and I were getting his diagnosis - how that felt and sounded. I don't want to paste our sad outcome on
them. I want to wait and listen and understand and abide. And I also remember. I think that's a trick with secondary mourning, a pitfall. When somebody's situation is so like something I've been through, I have to fight getting my remembered pain mixed up with theirs. I need to keep my own grief (for their current circumstances and for my own past loss) bracketed so I can stand strong for them. Not easy.

1 comment:

Barb said...

I'm so sorry. :( I can imagine you are a great source of strength to them.