Like any other human being - I have flaws....quite a few in fact.

I am very sensitive and my feelings are easily hurt.  I am defensive and I hold a grudge.

I am very impatient - something that makes my husband crazy.  When I decide that something needs to get done, it can't happen quick enough.

I have a temper.  I don't blow up often, but when I do, stand back.  I can be a real jerk.  I won't say where I got that from but I did in fact inherit that one.

These are all qualities I am not proud of.  They are flaws that I have been working on for a long time.  Long before Maxie died.  Having him in my life helped me with my patience and my temper...it didn't do much for my sensitive side (hormones make that a flaw that was and is nearly impossible to work on)..but overall, I feel that I had made great progress.

Then Maxie died.  Unsurprising to me, but somehow VERY surprising to others, losing a child did not "fix" these flaws.  I did not emerge from this tragedy with greater patience, a cool and easy going "sticks and stones" attitude, or an absence of temper.  There is an expectation that when bad things happen to good people, good people should become even better people.  It is a near impossible expectation to live up to.  Sadly, I am still human.

When someone is diagnosed with a frightening disease, loses some physical capability or part, or loses a loved one, they won't all become heroes....even though it would make us feel so good if they did.  We love the stories of the people who lose limbs in shark attacks but keep on surfing, who are diagnosed with terminal illnesses but continue to keep a positive attitude and never ever show their pain, and who lose limbs but continue to participate in marathons.  Those people ARE so inspiring.  I am SO inspired by those people.  I am grateful that they give me something to aspire to.  But, I am not one of those people right now.

I am just a normal, flawed human being.

I've been listening to this Jewish music CD with Mo lately (I LOVE it!) and was reminded of a song I loved as a kid.  "Lo yisa goy":

The English part of the song goes:
Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow
Don't walk behind me, I may not lead
Just walk beside me and be my friend
And, together, we will walk in the path of Ha'shem

One of the kindest things said to me after Max died was by my boss.  He said, "I will walk beside you"....to me that meant, "no expectations" and I felt complete relief upon hearing him utter those words.  He has stayed true to it and has indeed walked beside me...as many others have.  I think those people who have walked beside me have given me the strength to continue walking...period.

There are days when I feel strong and days when I completely fall apart. my feelings are hurt easily. I have very few coping skills anymore and my emotions are raw and sitting at the surface of my skin. I am ALWAYS on guard. I am flawed as I imagine you are too. I am extra flawed without Max.

I am grateful for so many of you for accepting me, even with all of my flaws, and for walking beside me. It's the kindest and most compassionate thing you can do for another human being who is suffering.

1 comment

Stephanie said...

I so relate to your comment on being a hero. The first thing I said to Eric when I got my cancer diagnosis was "I don't want to be a hero." This suggests living up to other people's expectations, allaying other people's fears. Sadly, I felt that Andrea fell into this, that many people remember the last decade of her life as she struggled to survive, and often negate the other four decades when she LIVED. It also suggests to me that this horrible time in your life defines you. I didn't want to be defined by cancer. Although it will always be a part of who I am, just as losing Maxie will always be a part of you--in NO WAY suggesting equal scenarios here!--I would hope that people will see us, that we can see ourselves beyond the tragedy one day. It's late, and I'm rambling. Love you.