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Thursday, April 6, 2017

Suffering 101

Beautiful Mind
Voice
Squad 38
Jealousy Incarnate
The King's Face
Love Me If You Dare
Kill Me, Heal Me
Gaekju: The Merchant
Innocent Defendant
Tree With Deep Roots
Arang and the Magistrate
Scarlet Heart: Ryeo
The Legend of the Blue Sea
Better Call Saul
Grace and Frankie
The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Billions
Feud

On Writing
Why We Eat Pigs, Wear Cows, and Love Dogs
Divine Intimacy
Tuesdays with Morrie (on hold until further notice)
Woman's World (weekly)

....and this is part of what has occupied my time since December 20, 2016.

Tuesdays with Morrie was a book I started and threw into the back seat of our vehicle until I dare to face it again. It was hitting too close to home. Morrie had time. Morrie wasn't gone in a little over a week. Everyone prepared for Morrie to leave. Morrie prepared for himself to leave and was making the most out of his final moments. We did not. My Mother did not.

The suffering and sorrow that comes with losing a loving parent is not anything I'd wish on my worst enemy. It can consume you if you allow it. Any type of suffering can.

"The soul that is absorbed in its own sufferings and concentrates its whole attention on them, becomes unable to bear them serenely an courageously....Even when our suffering is intense, let us not exaggerate it, nor attach too much importance to it: let us not foster a morbid tendency to nurture our sorrow, to ponder over it, weighing and analyzing it under every aspect.. To act in this way would result in the paralysis of our spirit of sacrifice, of our ability to accept and to act, and would make us useless to ourselves and to others. One who is oversensitive and preoccupied with his own suffering, often becomes insensible and indifferent to the suffering of others." - Divine Intimacy

Losing my Mom on that day kicked into gear every thought of my own mortality, of sheltering my daughter from the dark hole that tends to swallow the strongest of us, and, literally, staying on my feet to do all I can while I am here, no matter how small the tasks.

As she lie upon the hospital bed, connected to everything but us, we gathered around her. We talked to her, we encouraged her, and we made sure she knew how much she was loved. When the time came for her to be called home, we were at her side with prayer, and watching the life leave her body. We toasted her with her favorite drink, cans of Pepsi (which mysteriously appeared in the room...seriously, they were NOT there earlier, only ginger ale!), and we thanked her for being such a stellar mother and grandmother. We stayed with the shell of her body left behind without her Spirit, wept, shared stories, and laughed a little. We finally left, reluctantly, as my daughter said, she didn't want her to be alone.

From that point on, there has been a humongous void in my life. It can't be filled by K-dramas, books, or magazines, or even the wonderful care and love from my family. I was sinking fast into the darkness of the soul many Saints spoke of and I was fully aware it was happening. It didn't shake my Faith but Life suddenly became tedious. It didn't happen immediately. As long as I was all about the business of handling the business of caring for Mom and travelling to make sure all went well for the rest of the family, I was, well, cool.

Girls' Night Out at Tracy Morgan's Show

But returning home, avoiding the street she lived on, the stores we frequented, the music she loved and the places we had our best laughs, even sitting in the car, or our last outing to see Tracy Morgan perform, I realized this is going to take more time than I thought. I can't pick up the phone to call her. I can't drop by to see her or surprise her with anything and we can't watch movies together. What about our annual gathering with my husband to watch Tombstone!. I'll have to bring palms to her on Sunday to a different place. I can't lovingly fuss at her about eating too much ham on Easter Sunday. I do laugh with her and talk to her, still. I see things she'd find amusing and laugh to myself.

I disappeared from the negativity of Facebook. I rarely make phone calls. Loving friends call me to check in. Family called. A wonderful priest told me to stop trying to hold in the grief and let my daughter know I feel it instead of 'being strong' for her. He emphasized the need to grieve together. It's better than grieving alone and brings loved ones even closer.

The suffering is real, Folks. How we handle it is by getting outside of it. We all think our suffering is the greatest because it is ours.

"We must forget ourselves, go out of ourselves and our own sufferings, become interested in the sufferings of others and endeavor to alleviate them. This is a very effective way to regain in times of discouragement the strength to bear our own crosses. We should be mindful of the truth that we are never alone in suffering: That if our sufferings are great, there are always those who suffer incomparably more than we. Our troubles, often enough, are but a drop compared to the sea of sorrows in which mankind is engulfed, and are practically nonentities in comparison with the Passion of Jesus." - Divine Intimacy

Throwing my time and energy, what little there is, into being an advocate for foster children is like a rope thrown down to me in that dark hole I fell into, helping me slowly climb to the surface. The suffering I see in young eyes that didn't ask for the situations they are in snaps me back to reality that there are, indeed, so many more worse things that can happen....and ARE happening in the World. I abandon myself to it. I must. 

I not only have to look outside of my own sorrows and sufferings but look outside of my house at others, look my city, at the State, at the Country, at the World! This, you would think, would make One more sorrowful at the overwhelming picture of suffering. But you'd be mistaken. It makes you see the needs and ignites the desire to do something about it. It forces you stop complaining and do something. It helps you see the beauty when a child hugs you and tells you they are glad you are there for them. It allows you to see that along with the suffering, there is peace. It makes you see one cannot exist without the other or you would appreciate neither.

My big brother, Dad, and Mom are not here. They are missed so very much. So, as I continue to binge-watch my Korean dramas, at the times I need to, and will pick up Morrie when I'm able to, I know this is, simply, Life. This is Living. This is Loving. This is Loss. But, it's not the End. The Love remains.

Sucarichi Reboot? What suffering can you name in yourself? How are you living with it? What are you doing to alleviate it outside of yourself?

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