Bad things use to be the things that happened to other people. I watched from a distance and thought that it is so unfortunate and poor them. I felt bad for them but I didn’t feel them. I had a sense of pity but I wasn’t empathetic. I wasn’t trying to be cold and I didn’t even think I was doing anything wrong. I just had a distance. It wasn’t happening to me. Other people had serious problems but they weren’t mine. I couldn’t relate.
Fast forward to today and I’m the opposite. I feel everything. I can’t stop myself from feeling. I remember a child crying for their mother the first week of kindergarten last year and instead of wishing they’d stop and enjoy all the fun that was in-front of them I felt a bit of their pain. I didn’t ask them to stop; I just acknowledged that I know that they miss their parents. That is a small example but it was my wake-up to the fact that I couldn’t separate myself from others’ pain anymore. It seemed to become a bit of my own even though I know I am not doing anything or relieving them in any way.
When I hear on the radio or watch on the news that someone has died my heart breaks for them and their family and friends. I know that is a common expression but I actually feel a small sinking feeling in my chest. It reminds me a tiny bit of when Mike first died and my heart felt so heavy and like it was literally breaking and sinking down and out of my body. I don’t feel that way about myself much now but it comes back for just a moment when I hear of others’ pain. I feel the same way when I read in my online widow groups of someone sharing that their spouse died. I read it almost holding my breath hoping for another outcome even though I know it won’t come (they are in a widow group after all). I don’t know exactly what any of them are experiencing but I have a bit of an idea and I wish they didn’t have to do it. I wish I could take a bit of their pain away and deal with it myself.
Last Friday, in Saskatchewan, there was a horrific accident involving a bus carrying a young hockey team, the Humboldt Broncos, 15 people died and 14 people were injured. Everyone that died was too young for that to happen. I don’t know what exactly their families are going through but I know it is hard and painful. It is certainly not fair. It’s bad things happening to other people but I don’t feel so far away from it this time. I don’t want their families to have to experience this. I hate that they have this road of grief ahead of them. And no matter how many people #puttheirsticksout and donate money nothing can change what their families will endure in the coming months. It’s just completely terrible. There are no other words.