It was clear that my casual friend wore a weary dispirited look as we happened to meet. When she confided that she was battling a most serious illness, I struggled to find the right words, grabbing quickly from the guidance in Sheryl Sandberg’s recent book, Option B, about the importance of addressing the realities of loss and illness rather than ducking behind platitudes or ignorance. In her book tour at the Free Library of Philadelphia Author series, Sandberg said, “People would tell me they didn’t want to bring up David’s death for fear of reminding me. WHAAAT? Like I forgot it?!!!”
So I wrote to c.f. soon thereafter, saying any time she wished to hang out together, I was right here. (Failing Sandberg’s advice to offer something specific.) Even that sounded so ridiculous, but I wanted desperately to make contact and also not to patronize or do the wrong thing. She wrote back, “That’s kind of you.” And I replied: “Not kind; selfish. We make choices as to how to spend our time and talking to you awakened my awareness that I was making poor choices. The work can wait. Xo”
Yeah, there are resolutions we belch out once in 365 days and employ no metric, accountability, plan, or evaluation. In other words, it’s all talk; rarely action.
I’m trying to find a way to keep this new awareness and sincere intention alive, practiced, and kept. If anyone has a proven solution, please share it with me and everyone who reads this blog.
(And, if your own resolution is to improve your relationship with an aging parent, try giving them the gift of the World Wide Web at their fingertips, literally. Easy Tablet Help for Seniors)
Happy Holidays and Great Intentions – well retained!