Throughout my entire life, I was always told, "Don't cry, baby, don't cry," by both my parents. They wanted to see me happy---they wanted to see me OK and they certainly did not want to see me fall apart. Maybe in a way, they'd take the blame and say it was all their fault somehow. Or maybe, they didn't want to cry themselves. Most of me believes that they loved me so much, that it hurt them to see me in some kind of pain, whether emotional or physical. I remember many years ago, I had to go for lasik eye surgery. I was legally blind and the surgery was risky. They made me sign all of these forms saying that it was an 80/20 chance of me going completely blind, with the exception of a cornea replacement---not in my favor of course. I said, "I'm blind anyway, just do it." When I came out of surgery, it was more intense than most would go through, because my cornea was too thin, and needed much more time to heal. I had patches on both eyes, plus plastic barriers taped on with huge black Terminator-like sunglasses they usually give to people with cataracts. As we were walking out of the clinic, my partner called my parents to let them know we were okay and that the surgery went well. When my dad asked to speak to me, Madelene said, "She can't see right now so I have to guide her to the car." I had no clue what would happen after that call. When I walked into the house, my dad was hysterically crying. We're tawkin' about MY dad---300 lb tall and strong Italian guy who could take out an army with one hand. (Well, maybe.)
"What happened! My baby! What did they do to you! What happened?" as he cried and hugged me.
I was confused. ...What did just happened??
When Madelene said that I couldn't see---she just meant that my eyes were covered up with all the bandages and plastic crap. She didn't mean I went blind. But this was the first time I saw my dad fall apart---I mean completely apart. I felt so bad, but at the same time, I felt so loved. He cried over me possibly going blind. This is why I believe children live longer than their parents in most cases. We can handle it better. A parent can't see their child hurt or God forbid, pass away before them. They would never make it. I also believe that's why my dad passed away first. He couldn't possibly bear seeing my mom not only suffer, but seeing her pass away and saying his final goodbyes. No. No. No. Never.
There's are other types of reasons why people cannot handle seeing others suffer. Some say they're "empaths," which is partially true, but I'm guessing it tugs on their own fear of the same thing happening to them. If you've ever lost a loved one before---I mean someone who was very close to you---you probably experienced the weird phenomenon of the people in your life becoming invisible. After the funeral and all of the 'call me anytime' offers, most of those people are no longer there. Some stay, but most don't. It's actually a proven fact that this type of thing occurs and it's talked about in many grief support groups. Some people don't know how to help you. They may say the wrong things with good intentions. We may get offended by those sayings, thinking, "How can you say something like that," when in fact, it was intended to be comforting. People in general are very uncomfortable being around someone who is grieving. It's hard to watch especially if your loved one is still alive. And sometimes, it's hard to watch a loved one grieving in fear that you may cry yourself, making their sadness only worse. There's so many reasons.
Most of all, I think it's important to forgive somebody who has withdrawn from social events---and maybe even society altogether. Forgive them for not coming around as much, and commend them on whatever effort they made to just show up. We tend to get caught up in this whole, "Well I visited you last time now you have to see me," type of mindset, and honestly, it's just childish. We need to be more compassionate and forgiving---not angry because someone can't walk out of their house because they're up to their neck in grief. So many families have split apart because they didn't feel loved enough, or felt like their friends and loved ones just didn't care anymore. My rule of thumb is---if you miss someone, call them. Don't make your significant other call them---you call them. If you want to visit them, invite them. If you want them to come over, ask them. If you get a "no"---forgive them. Then ask, "Well, when?" That's fine. There should be no rules when it comes to being together, being a family or having a close relationship with your friends. It should be when everyone is OK with their own schedule. And it's OK to not feel OK and want to just stay home instead.
We're all hurting in our own ways. We all have our unique lives that sometimes leave us "too busy" to do anything. But my thing is, nobody is too busy not to check in on a loved one. Nobody is "too busy" to pick up the phone and say, "Hey, how are you?" Nobody it sooooo busy where they risk losing ties with their friends and family. Nobody. One of my biggest pet peeves is that many people make broken promises. I'm sure there are legit reasons why a promise may be broken, and of course you should forgive them, but our society is lacking integrity. We throw out promises to get together, or to be there for someone, to only not show up. Part of this stems from the lack of real communication: real life as well as picking up the phone. We make plans through group texts or a random text that says, "Hey, wanna have dinner next week?" Then you never hear from them again. I'm a firm believer in confirmation calls. "We still on for tomorrow?" Simple. But I blame it on technology and having "receipts" that people said, "Yes, I'd love to come." But that doesn't confirm the date in my book.
During the past year, my anxiety got worse and I was trying to figure out why. I should be getting better. What was happening was stored up resentment and bitterness, but I wasn't consciously aware of it in the least. I was resentful over broken promises made by a couple of people in my life. It drove me nuts to think about the lack of integrity on their part---even as far as forgetting about it altogether. I had to come to terms with forgiving them and realizing that relying on people 100% is just not feasible anymore. If you do rely on people 100%, you will always be disappointed somehow. We live in a very different time. People tend to be more self-absorbed, "busy," and offended if you ask about why they haven't come through on a promise that was made. Everyone's offended.
What I wouldn't do to go back as an adult to live in the 70's or 80's again. I wouldn't want to be a child (as I was back in that era) but I would love to be living my adult life during that time. Neighbors were friendly, so much so that they'd come by to visit you. Dogs roamed around freely to each other's homes and never a complaint. You didn't hear about vicious dogs or neighbors suing one another over 'your dog bit my dog,' to which had happened to me. My neighbors two German Shepherds attacked my 12 lb chihuahua while I was out walking my dog on my lawn with a leash on her. I had to send her to the vent because one of them bit her leg. $300 dollars later, they still have not paid. I decided to not pursue it just to make peace. Friends came over uninvited and it was actually OK! We didn't pretend to not hear the doorbell. Every weekend was full of family events and big BBQ's out in the yard. No weekend was spent in front of a computer, or my favorite...Netflix. We were out taking in the sunshine and loving every second of it. We had picnics, we walked more, we talked more, and now...we shut our doors off to the world and write what we're doing on Facebook. We take photos of our dinner on Instagram, instead of inviting the people who liked the post. We've become a society of exclusionists---only certain members allowed. We've weeded out our garden to a small mound of dirt with only one or two flowers we favor. We stopped loving everyone, until proven otherwise.
If you're worried about someone, call them.
If you miss someone, go see them.
If you think someone went missing, find them.
If you love someone, tell them.
You never know what somebody going through, unless you show up, unless you are in their lives, unless you are offering some part of you that may make them feel better...unless of course, you're "too busy."
For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog at Deb's Cucina for some of her famous recipes!