And Pain to Go Around

That title statement is unclear.  It mean we all have pain we must navigate, we must “go around” and this will hold true in all seasons of my life.

It means there is so much pain to go around so we can all have plenty, that there will always be some unloading out of the back of a dump truck at my house.

Unasked.  Unsought.

Kimberly raced around as a child until a drunk hit her family’s car, and her child safety seat malfunctioned.  The family sued, so she always had a top of the line wheel chair, a nicer home to come home to, and had to trust some people to help her enjoy freedom and mobility.

Except for the last set who lived in her apartment, ate her food, and let her get down to 45 pounds.  When her parents found her in another state, the only medicine was palliative care.  She died yesterday.

That came to us Monday night.

I have looked for Mark off and on for three years.  I got lucky last night, and instead of googling his name, I googled his and Mackenzie’s together.  Bingo.  Found them.

Okay, found her obituary that enabled me to find him.  After her affair.  After they fought back and enjoyed ten years of marriage.  Before she succumbed to guilt or genes or whatever so Mark had to move out.  Six months before she died of cirrhosis of the liver while Mark and the two astonishing daughters, and Mark’s new wife held her hand.  Gone now.

If Jill and I knew and loved fewer people, we might know less pain.  If we held a smaller, tighter knit circle precious, we might be insulated from so much pain, which seems to abound so there is plenty to go around.

But as I sat in the living room, listening to our friend Don relate Kimberly’s sad trajectory after they moved and we lost track of them:  I also remembered firecrackers that rivaled small town celebrations, stunning meals, and small joys in their home.  And I shed deeper-than-tears joy.

And this afternoon as I commuted listening to Mark’s voice on the phone for the first time in 30 years, I wept when he did.  Luckily, I stopped at a light.  And then we shared incredible events bringing us together 30 years ago, and triumphs over those years, and how stunning his daughters truly are, and I touched hope.  We even laughed.

Yes, less exposure might lessen the amount of pain.  But the cost in lost joy is way, way, way too high.

Unthinkably high for any who have ever held Hope’s hand in pain.

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