A coworker’s dad is battling cancer, and has just taken what sounds like a significant turn for the worse. The coworker is understandably distraught.
My heart goes out to him, of course, but the reason I’m even writing about it is that, naturally, the situation has me thinking about my own father’s battle with cancer, and the dragged-out, painful process of losing him. There’s still not much positive I can say about that whole time period. I’m not even sure I believe the “that which does not kill us makes us stronger” canard, chiefly because it’s taken a crazy long time to recover even to this point, and I still feel like I’m operating at about 50% of my prior capabilities.
I think about the best that can be said about going through such difficult times is that, if we allow ourselves, we can become better listeners, more empathetic, more in touch with our deepest hopes and fears, and more aware and appreciative of the precious fleeting goodness all around us.
That’s good and bad. I suspect all of that may be why I’m operating at 50% — all the added awareness and emotional processing may be crowding out the rational and analytical processes in my poor, overworked brain. And it’s hard to function normally in society when you’re a walking barometer of other people’s emotional states. But then again, maybe that’s a version of being made “stronger” — I don’t know. It’s certainly not the kind of “stronger” I was anticipating.
But I guess I’ll take it.
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