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Word up!

Thinking about empathy today, which defines as “the intellectual identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes  of another.” Empathy can be so difficult when we’re in the middle of a crisis, but yet that can be the time we most need to have it. I’m somewhat anxious about having my mother stay with me for two weeks while I recover from surgery. She’s a super nurse, and it’ll be comforting to have someone there who understands about wound care and gives a heckuva sponge bath. What my mom’s not great at is understanding that her “my house, my rules” applies to other people, by which I mean I do get to say how I sort the spices and how I want my vegetables prepared. All I can think about is that I’ll be too tired and in too much pain to have to watch my tongue and do all the myriad behavior adjustments that most of us do as grownups when spending time with our parents. I realized today, however, that I needed to put myself in my mother’s shoes. She’s having her routine disrupted for two weeks, she’s watching her child suffer, and I can’t imagine that though the circumstances are entirely different, she won’t occasionally flashback to the last time I was in the hospital, In fact, this whole apartment is a reminder of that time—she and my sister moved my belongings in here while they were still waiting for me to wake up from the ventilator. She bought me the bed I recovered in then and will recover in now. Yes, I will be going through a lot physically, but we’ll all be going through a lot emotionally. In other words, we’ll have a lot of time together for me to work on my empathy. And maybe I need to print out this blog, and keep it by my bed for all the times I forget that’s what I’m supposed to be doing.

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