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The Pain for Which There Is No Pill

Cookies don’t relieve pain

Last week my family waited to find out about the prognosis of one of our loved ones. She has battled cancer for 2 years, and the cancer is back. We don’t know how bad it is or what the next steps are. The doctor said he’d call on Friday. He didn’t. She called him, he didn’t call back. She called on Monday. There was no return call.

Waiting can be excruciating. Waiting is when thoughts start to bore deep holes in to your sense of safety, leaving you a victim of your imagination. Most of us fail to imagine the good, and torture ourselves with relentless “what ifs.” There is no pill to take that relieves the pain of waiting.

I thought I was being very Zen about the entire matter, surrendering to the reality of waiting rather than to the angst of worry. However, by the end of the day when we hadn’t heard anything more, I discovered a pack of cookies that I had stashed away for my grandson. I ate the entire package, which is not something that I care to admit, let alone publicly announce.  However, it’s the truth, and the truth is always better displayed in the light, rather than hidden in shadows.

The cookies showed me that I was hurting. Recognizing my vulnerability, I skipped the guilt, and prayed that I wouldn’t get an upset stomach or a sudden case of diabetes. I took the evening off, and immersed myself in major relaxation. This morning I meditated and went for a good hard walk. I turned the situation over to my belief in goodness, love and mercy, a power who some call God, but for me is best left unnamed.

The doctor did call, and today I know no more about my loved one’s medical condition than I did yesterday. However, today I know that I can endure the pain of waiting, that all is well, and that cookies don’t make anything better.

When you or a loved one’s health is at stake, how do you wait?

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