I’ve discovered over the years that I have a high pain tolerance – I don’t say this is a good thing – it’s just a fact. I’m not sure if this is something you’re born with or if you develop it over time….. I’ve gotten migraines since I was a child – as an adult at one point I would get two per week and they would last three days at least. Having small children, there was no laying down – I’d put on my huge, dark sunglasses and it was business as usual.
It really became evident during my first delivery, a C-section. The epidural wore off around the time of the actual delivery. Let me tell you that is one big ouch. I had no idea that I wasn’t supposed to feel ANYTHING, so I didn’t say a word. I just wanted to get it over with. The doctor noticed that my tissue was twitching – my greater omentum – which signaled that feeling was returning to the area. This was the first day on the job for the anesthesiologist…. and probably her last. My doctor wasn’t very happy with her.
It also served me well during the pulling of my wisdom teeth. All four wisdom teeth in one day, wide awake, ineffective novocaine (which finally kicked in on the way home), no painkillers, walked home after and went to pick up my daughters at school. I never thought anything of it until my daughter had her wisdom teeth out. Her doctor took a much more humane approach. Thank God.
Emotionally my pain tolerance has always been decently high – or at least I could contain it until an appropriate time to let loose. I have been able to pick myself up, prioritize what needs to be done, and move forward. I wouldn’t “lose” it until everything had been dealt with.
A couple of years ago things started hurting more. The bouncing back took a little longer… the tears flowed more readily.
Last Memorial Day my precious Golden Retriever, Zeus, took one last stroll around my flower beds and then strolled over the Rainbow Bridge and out of my life. At that second something broke inside me. He was my best friend, my confidante, the man in my life. He loved me completely and unconditionally, as only Goldens can. He had been with me for almost twelve years – years of major life changes – painful divorce, moving, going back to work, the death of my Dad. As long as I could wrap my arms around him and look into his loving eyes, I knew everything would be okay. When nobody else loved me, he still did.
And in a second he was gone. And it was unbearable. It is STILL unbearable.
Don’t get me wrong, I know there are worse things in the world… and many people have much bigger tragedies.
But I had been through a lot…. one thing on top of another. I know you understand – it’s not like one thing goes wrong and then everything in life ceases while you deal with that one thing. The reality is that when things are going wrong, there is no break – more things cave in on you before you can struggle to your feet.
In no way does my life compare with that of Mother Teresa, but I do love what she said; “I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish that He didn’t trust me so much.”
I think He trusted me a little too much last Memorial Day.
But I learned something from this to use in this redefining of myself at 60. Love unconditionally. Be Loyal. Be supportive of your loved ones. Be tolerant when someone is having a bad day. Words aren’t always necessary. Make time for hugs. Greet people with happiness and friendship. Avoid those that can’t do the same.
And always take time for one last stroll around the garden.