Here I am to drive people crazy again

As someone who’s becoming indecisive and unstable it’s time to rethink my approach to being sick. Yes, I’m also tired of the duty to report which I thought was a cool idea at first except it has turned obsessing and unuseful observations.

I think more important though is as a community member there has to be a different aspect of the scary sickness story to cover. My friend Rebecca Hougue has been diagnosed with Breast Cancer and in a sense, sickness is already “being done” by someone younger and wiser than me in the RHIZO14 group. The perspective of a younger, more articulate and more active person is, well, more important than challenges faced by a 65 year-old. Yes.

And no, I’m not casting myself as humble or of lesser value, but I do have the option to take a different path to resolution. Negotiating for your life and understanding the unfairness of illness is way harder for a younger person. To feel the weight of an undeserved illness needs the anger strong and unaccommodating.

As an older person I’m bound to leave Rebecca her own space for working things out and I’m puzzled why this should be obvious? Our difficulties cross each other and our roles as equals is unquestioned. It’s not that neither of us “matter” more or less. Is this logic at the heart of a community that if there is unfairness it should be that we do what we can to distribute the hurt to be meaningful to the young while embraced by the old? Is this part of the curriculum of being community?

Yes, I’m open to comments.

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  • Maha Bali  On July 1, 2014 at 8:54 PM

    Hey Scott, I have no idea what you’re trying to say…but your post took me thru a range of emotions and memories of loved ones. I don’t think your post necessarily needs to be logical, actually, since I cannot imagine what’s going through your heart and mind. I just think it’s… Interesting..that you framed your “community” as rhizo14, and framed us also as Rebecca’s, whereas i assume you each belong to other significant communities as well, f2f and online?
    I don’t necessarily think it is more or less worthwhile or meaningful to learn about the suffering of a younger person vs an older one… Though in my (real life, no particular “community”) experience, the older one gets, the more willing one is to embrace illness maybe as inevitable? But not everyone is like that.
    And the key thing is, the older person has so much more to worry about “leaving behind” (spouse, kids, grandkids) as much as, I guess, the younger person has to “look forward to” (longer time with spouse, potential kids, etc).

    Having a child now makes me think about my own health/mortality so much more because I worry about what would happen to her after I am gone. I lost my dad when i was an adult, but I think he would have still had those concerns even then.

    I have never had a serious illness so I cannot imagine how it feels, though I am sure it feels different for each person, and how they want to express it to others should be up to them, regardless of any sense of ‘”duty”. If you or Rebecca or anyone felt writing about it stopped being something you wanted to do, that would be your prerogative, right? If you even wanted to stop responding to private messages, again, you have that right. And if you did decide to write about it, you’re free to write about it however you like. You’re not taking up someone else’s space in a limited time therapy group. It’s open. I love you, Scott.

    • scottx5  On July 1, 2014 at 11:53 PM

      Hi Maha, thanks for the kind words. It might not be an attribute of a community that some step aside for others to explore their own feelings but I often hear (or say it myself) the line: “oh, I know exactly what you’re saying” in a way that robs a person of their voice. For me it was often adults and it meant the end of my chance to describe my feelings.

      You are right that some adults seem more able to absorb hardship. Is it wisdom, or is it fatigue? My experience in the hospital is that adults are as scared as children in an uncontrollable situation. More or less to lose at the end escapes into the simple condition of numbness or a form of closing down. In 2008 I was much more attentive because death came as a surprise but with time (weeks not hours) to think about it. To me, younger people have stronger powers of description from shear lack of assumptions.

      It might sound silly but I think being in a community does carry a duty to witness reality to the group. May not be obvious but we do live for each other. We make claims and often we are rewarded in return.

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