Saturday, April 28, 2012

Trying to be a compassionate person

In many ways, since losing Toby, I feel sadness a lot more. When I hear about my former co-worker losing her son-in-law and grandson (granted, that was on my road) and my friends losing their two children in the fire it hits me hard. I hear stories on the news about kids and it bothers me to the point that it almost ruins my day. We DVR episodes of CRIMINAL MINDS and occasionally Pete will watch one before me and it will involve kids and he'll delete it or warn me against it.

Still, there are other times that I feel like I am losing compassion. I KNOW that sounds horrible and I feel like a bad person because of it.

For example, a friend recently lost their grandmother. Their grandmother had lived a long life and died from natural causes. The friend was understandably upset. Their FB status, however, garnered more than 43 comments regarding sympathy. I left mine, because I did feel bad for them, but it felt empty on my part. I felt like I was just saying the words. Of course, I didn't want my friend to feel sad, but it was hard for me to feel sad for them.

I want to add, too, that the situation in this case gets trickier for me. This friend is someone who has not reached out to me since Toby died. I have invited them out to eat, asked them to attend things with me and Pete, and sent them emails about getting together. These have all been ignored. On the other hand, I have traveled to see this friend for different reasons and offered a lot of support to them in other ways. They didn't write me during Iris' pregnancy, comment on her birth, nor have they made any kind of acknowledgement of her existence. There were no supportive comments or notes when she was in the hospital...nothing.

Morally, I feel like since they're a friend I should feel supportive of them during their time of pain. A colder side of me feels like I shouldn't care. A different side of me sometimes doesn't feel anything at all. I do think that part of this process involves a certain amount of numbing.

Sometimes I think that my tolerance is a lot lower than it used to be in terms of sadness. In other ways, I feel like it's higher. It's hard to explain.

I hesitate to write these things sometimes because it makes me feel like I'm a bad person. Every once in awhile, though, I'll be feeling something crappy and I'll think I'm being terrible but then I'll read someone else's blog (usually Abby's) and they'll take the words right out my mouth. Then, I'll at least feel less alone. So, maybe someone else out there feels the same way I do and this can be helpful to them.


Maxie's Mommy said...

You know I feel the same way. I was so sad when my grandpa and gramps died but it wasn't debilitating. It was sad. Most of the time when people tell me of the sad things in their lives, I feel empathy for them but it is so much more shallow than ever before. I feel like my heart had turned to ice. Sad doesn't cut it anymore- devastating is where I operate these days. People definitely don't tell me as many sad stories anymore. In the early days after Maxs death, they thought I would bond with them over their dog dying. Not anymore, which is good. Maybe you should get off Facebook. My life is a little easier without it. And- you are a better person than me. I would NOT send sympathies to someone who hadn't acknowledged my pain. I made the mistake of sending sympathies to a very insensitive colleaugue when his father died and I got an email back that was strangely showing off how he went right back to work and was dealing with it better than I have been dealing with Maxie's death. I wanted to write him back and say, "call ms when one of your boys dies" but figured that wouldn't really get me anywhere.

KYenglish said...

I think i know what you mean, i find 'edges' to myself when people want sympathy or even help then before. i dot know how to explain it either.

Rebecca said...

@MM-I know what you mean. I think in some ways my sympathy is stronger for some things but for others...not so much.

Not long after Toby died, like two weeks later, a friend was bragging about how she buried her mother one day and then went straight home and cooked Thanksgiving dinner for her entire family all by herself. I didn't understand why. She had grown siblings with spouses. I definitely wasn't trying to play martyr. But at any rate, I was having trouble getting out of bed and some days I didn't. What in the world made her think her story would be helpful to me?

@KY-That's why we're married. Cause we're just meanies. :-P