Radical Compassion

Discussion in 'Failure to Thrive' started by Copabanana, Mar 16, 2016.

  1. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I have recently become aware of this term, radical compassion. Below I have cut and pasted a paragraph from Wikipedia which describes it.

    I want to state why I have posted this thread here in failure to thrive.

    I believe that those of us with children who are not thriving as others do or as we would want feel a great burden and a great isolation. Often we are blamed and looked down on by other people, as being in some way at fault. Unfortunately, too much we consider ourselves in this light as well. No matter how much we have fought for and succeeded in bringing resources to our children and in lighting their way, too often we blame ourselves for not having done more.

    Worse still, we blame ourselves when others do not respond to our urgent efforts. We blame ourselves for both their indifference and their non-response. If we had done better, been better they would have responded to our great need and desire.

    We blame the victim. Ourselves.

    Caught between rocks and hard places, we are. Between the great love for our children...and non-responsive others....we go after ourselves.

    This is the absolute worst thing we could do. For ourselves, for our children who need us, and for others...who must change.

    I am of the Jewish faith. We believe that our responsibility as people is to bring our humanity to others and to the world. At the heart of our humanity is our suffering, as it is for every person alive, whether acknowledged or not. We cannot act and take for ourselves alone unless every other person in the world has for themselves too. I believe that is at the heart of all faiths, really, at least in the Judeo-Christian tradition.

    So if I look at what I just wrote I see that it is my responsibility to be in my life not just one who has compassion but to be as to illuminate for others what it is to live in such a way. To me, that is what Lambert must have meant to say that radical compassion is the imperative to change reality in order to alleviate the pain of others. But first, I must change my own.

    That is, I must learn to spare myself. First.

    It is this belief, I believe, that is behind the campaign in the US of Bernie Sanders. (I am not taking a political position here.) I believe that Bernie Sanders is demonstrating this moral stance, of radical compassion. He is teaching us, at the very heart of his campaign, how to hold each other, and ourselves, in such a way that as to be human, in a profound sense. Note how he does not despair at loss or disappointment. He sees such as knowing reality and the essential first step to taking stock and taking heart. He knows that real compassion does not lie in fantasy or in turning away from the pain of others.

    Or indeed, of turning away from the true pain and disappointment of our own lives. Sometimes, I think that is what the anger that is at the heart of our disappointment is--a turning away from hurt and pain.

    For which we must feel compassion. First, for ourselves.

    I believe the process which I have described above is at the heart of CD itself.

    COPA

    Radical compassion
    is a term coined by the philosopher Khen Lampert, in 2003.[1] His theory of radical compassion appeared in Traditions of Compassion: from Religious Duty to Social-Activism (2006).[2] Lampert identifies compassion as a special case of empathy, directed towards the "other's" distress. Radical compassion is a specific type of general compassion, which includes the inner imperative to change reality in order to alleviate the pain of others. This state of mind, according to Lampert's theory, is universal, and stands at the root of the historical cry for social change.
     
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    It's probably a good discussion, but I don't quite get it.

    Compassion is for others.

    I have warped myself in a million ways trying to "alleviate the pain" of my children and spouse and myself.
    Nothing - absolutely NOTHING - has made a single solitary difference. To me or to them. Or to anyone else in the world.
     
  3. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Stop, Insane. If something calls for "warping" maybe it is not a real solution. How can good come from acting against yourself in such a way?
    Insane, I do not know you except for the less than a year's time I have been here on the board.

    In all of that time I have not read one word from you that did not come from integrity, hope, responsibility and heart. NOT ONE WORD.

    Where is your compassion for yourself? Was all of that that you expressed here, not from the deepest part of you? Are you a fraud, Insane? An imposter? Of course you are not.

    Remember who you are, Insane.

    Insane is spelled "R I C H "

    Responsibility
    Integrity
    Committed
    Integrity
    Heart
    Hopeful

    Maybe that should be our new title.

    COPA
     
  4. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    You are too kind. I'm sitting here in tears.
    But in real life? There is almost nobody who would ever say that. Almost. My daughter probably would.

    All of the words I speak to real people, in the search for answers... are taken as though I am a fraud. I can't possibly be speaking the truth - things don't work that way. But... as we know here, they do work that way. Things really are that insane.

    People who can't do anything about it - there are a few who know the situation in real life - can be supportive. But... it's not support with any result.

    I have no ability to accomplish anything in real life. All I can do is sit here in my tiny old house, sorting through memory boxes (junk) figuring out what to keep and what to throw away, trying to hold the last shreds of my tiny family together. And I can't do it. There is no glue. There is no strength. There is... nothing left. Of me. Of anything of value. It's already gone. Who am I fooling to even try?
     
  5. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Oh Insane, you must know the wisdom and worth you have. I am always thankful for your well thought out responses, insight and compassion. Please don't stop trying, because that would mean I have to stop too, and I don't want to. A lot of that comes from the strength you have shown to me these past few months. I am very thankful to have you here in our cyber world.
    Holding you close in my heart.
    (((Hugs)))
    leafy
     
  6. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Well, you would, Insane.

    And that your daughter would is huuuuuge (I am channeling my hero Bernie Sanders here.)

    Long ago (OK, maybe 2 years) I stopped expecting anybody to be nice, or good, or real or anything really, except for requiring they treat me with common decency and the appearance of respect.

    First. So what if people are self-preoccupied jerks? I do not need them in my life. If I start from the place that I expect nothing, there is nothing to lose.

    Second. There are very few good and kind people. But there are good and kind people. That is the glass half full. You are one of them.

    Third. That makes you extremely precious. Now is the time to begin to take care of and truly value ourselves. You know I have a profession. It is almost my birthday and I have to do continuing education. I am doing courses that will help me understand how to change into a person that values myself and treats myself well. I am reading books about loss and the loss of hope and what to do next. I am learning a lot.

    You see, Insane, where you are right now many highly learned people believe is the starting point of real humanity and understanding and peace.

    For me when my mother died I felt my whole life had been lived wrongly. Not only did I not have any chance anymore to make it different, I believed that everything I had done did not count because I had not done what I had really needed. It was a horrible and bleak time. You know that because I wrote of it many times on FOO.
    Almost the only support in my life that I believe has really been true support is my relationship with M which came to me when I was about 60. I lived a life alone except for my son. I have been afraid of people for good reason.

    I believe nothing is served from distance from the only people in our lives who really love us. Even if it seems like the goal is worth it, how could it be, if it comes at such a cost? How could a good result come from something that causes anyone such hurt?
    That is really not true. Looked at that way nobody has the real ability to accomplish anything because we die.
    You are at the point where people from a spiritual perspective believe we truly have the ability to build real meaning in our lives. If you are interested I will write down a few titles of books I am reading. It is very exciting, Insane, to finally know where I stand.

    COPA
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2016
  7. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I fouled up.
    COPA (I put two integrities)
     
  8. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    We are not allowed to talk politics here on CD, and I am not.

    But have you been watching the political sphere here in the US? I am a news junkie and I just despair. M does not understand why I watch news all day which really is not news, it is the repetition of the worst form of gossip, and I am glued. I feel stunned and in despair at the human condition.

    But I do not allow myself to believe about myself in a way that is sullied by what anybody else in the world does outside of M and my son. Sometimes, here on CD I get my feelings hurt, that is true. But I have learned to confine myself to places here where I cannot so easily be hurt.

    Because I am retirement age I can limit my outside interactions somewhat to those that are superficial so that I can limit their damage to my feelings or sensibility.

    But if my life again changes to one where I must be more in the world and thus more vulnerable to it, I know I will hurt like you do. This does not mean that the problem or limitation is in us. We can work to bolster this understanding. We must.

    It is not your fault. None of it.

    COPA
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2016
  9. savior no more

    savior no more Active Member

    COPA -
    I really like your post. Where I have come to have radical compassion is working in the hospital with addicts and homeless people who present with hard stories and situations. In order to deal with the distress and pain of seeing the situations, most people in healthcare immediately go to the blame mode in order to deal with the pain. Or silenty pray they don't end up in that situation themselves. One day it just came to me that surely no one on earth would choose to be in this situation if they had the ability to be different. When I started to verbalize to the patients in severe distress - whether physical or emotional - you are perfect exactly as you are - you could see the years of judement and blame just fall from them. I also tell them that we are all just souls on a journey. Obviously people end up where they end up because of choices and actions, but the unmitigating shame and blame only serve to keep the cycle going. By just being compassionate and taking judgement off the table, maybe energy can be used for healing instead of defending oneself.
    There are times I wonder if this parenting style was harmful for a child like mine. My friend who is a child psychiatrist said that for my Difficult Child a philopsophical, world-view parent allowed him to think it was okay to do the things he did. (She's wrong though. Like if I had berated people enough then my son would have known it was not okay to sell drugs. She still, as educated as she is, deep down blames the mother as does most of society.)
    I still don't have radical compassion for myself. Oh I might in my intellect, but not in my actions. Your post has gotten me to thinking what "acting with radical compassion" would look like.
     
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  10. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    They sure do. I spent most of my career working in prisons. I was never sure if prisons pulled for professionals who were punitive or if it was the press of the environment that made them so.
    In my work I am much like you. I have never verbalized those words but I seem to act from them. Because of this I am easy to be with. Just that, seems freeing. People so want to be accepted and cared for.
    I disagree wholeheartedly and wonder why this friend would say such a thing to you. I mean, it is not as if you could go back 2 dozen years and have a do over.

    I wonder if this person was thinking of the "laissez faire" parenting style or I think there is one called "inconsistent." Or maybe they are one and the same, who knows. This was a research study that was done by somebody I think was named Mary Ainsworth.

    But the thing is this: We can only do as well as we can. When we know better, we do better. You, me, everybody. What does judgment or self-judgment do to change anything? Not much if anything at all.

    I really, really reject this person's view of things, even though I am sure she/he is quite learned and intelligent. It seems they missed the lesson on tact and kindness and compassion.
    Or maybe it is this too.

    Many people (myself included for a time, I regret) tend to believe that there is a correct road to live that if followed will lead to a golden result: happiness, riches, love, esteem.

    We believe it because that is what we learn in our society. It is a central belief and has been for a long-time here in the US, and maybe in the West, generally.

    It is not true, this belief. It is a fantasy that if you do right it will turn out right. Or the converse, if it turns out wrong, you must have done wrong.

    This is a twisted consequence of an individualist ideology, I believe. Your friend (and myself, regrettably), probably both of us bought in too much to that ideology--hook, line and sinker.

    While I am grateful to have my career and profession, it has not made me either happy, rich, or loved. Esteemed, occasionally. But I would rather be loved, content and with a life rich in intangibles.

    COPA
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2016
  11. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I am still peeved by this.

    You did not allow him to do any such thing. To support a child, to believe in him, to treat him with love and even indulgence...that is not what fosters or permits a now adult person to make a self-destructive choice.

    There are so many other influences.

    I would bet that drug-using children have parents from all parenting styles. I bet the authoritarian parents might have the highest incidence of drug using children, but that is only a biased guess because I do not much like authoritarianism. I am wondering now if there has been a study.

    COPA
     
  12. savior no more

    savior no more Active Member

    Her real problem occurs in trying to reconcile her upbringing with a raging, alchoholic father and a weak, depressed Mother. She stated that with her dad there would have been none of the foolish malarky of selling drugs - just couldn't have existed. She doesn't understand the 3 c's of addiction: didn't cause, can't control it, and can't cure it. Some of her musings are of a psychoanalysts nature and while probably all valid points of view, hurtful at some level to me.

    She also has done some tremendously generous and loving things, too, like evaluate my son for free before this last go round so he can be headed to prison with current diagnosis and recommendations of medications on the State formulary. You know you've exhausted all human and medical forms of help when she said, "Well we can just hope for a prison reformation." After my son had all of the testing and diagnosing and telling how he sold drugs and had guns, etc, he would hug her and say," I love you. Thanks for helping me out."

    I think deep down it is just extremely distressing and painful for most people to witness the pain of parenting a child like this. I mostly don't talk to anyone much about my son and his goings on, even my family. Some people in the community I know pray for him and love him and I always thank them for that. These people are the ones that give me such strength, too. That is why I find such strength here - only a parent who has walked our walk would even understand when some innocent remark places blame.
     
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  13. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I do not know if I agree fully. I think caring people have a hard time witnessing our pain because it reminds them of their own vulnerability...you know the saying...if not for the grace of G-d go I. They want to ferret out our weakness, the cause so as to reassure themselves that they could not be vulnerable or afflicted.

    So to that extent, I agree.

    But there are people I have learned who like to see us suffering. Whether it is to believe we are dragged down to their level (either failed or bitterness, or in Trump's words--or whatever).

    I read your signature just now and saw how you referred to your son, I think you said "assimilated into a criminal mentality."

    I told my son to leave here when he was 23. He is now 27 (and back here, temporarily at my home.) We believed that on his own he would buckle up. Instead he got on SSI for mental illness and eventually became homeless. I resisted for the longest time that he was mentally ill. And I still do sometimes.

    While he was away from me, my son "was assimilated into" a homeless mentality.

    My son did not buckle up away from me. The hope would be he would work, go to school, become self-reliant in the way that I had. He became self-reliant, yes, but of the homeless variety.

    Lying. Manipulating. Street smart.

    My son was the sweetest boy. The sweetest person.

    He is coming back, but oh how he had to suffer and be dragged down, in order to come back to where he had started. I wonder if it was my fault. That if I had thought differently from the beginning, we would have been spared this, he and I.

    You know, my son is not angry at me. He does not blame me. He sees this as his path.

    COPA
     
  14. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Remember Dr Phil, IC? And he would always say, "How's that working for you?" And the person would say, "Not too well, actually."

    ***

    What I say is that our task, once everything is lost and then, some horrible somehow, we learn there are levels of Hell unimagined, is to learn how to bear it. How is it possible to hold what we hold. How is it possible to know the things we know.

    How do we live with the pain in our children's eyes. In the eyes of our beloveds? We are helplessly, hopelessly not enough and yet, here we all are.

    WTF

    ***

    Elie Wiesel wrote that to speak of certain experiences in words profanes the sacred horror of what is, of what we now know.

    That is what happened, to us. And to our families and our children.

    There are no words.

    So, once we acknowledge that, then we know where we are.

    Alone, in the dark, in a strange place where everything seems to be on fire.

    ***

    Like in the movie Armageddon. The movie star, played by that handsome blond man, wants to know how bad is it going to be, on that asteroid. And when he learns it is going to be the worst environment imaginable, then he is okay. He knows where he is going and what to expect: It's going to be really bad.

    Unfortunately, he does die, in the movie.

    Not everyone can be Ben Afleck.

    Who gets the girl every time, that handsome devil.

    ***

    I think we cannot alleviate pain. What can happen though, is something like the warm comfort of touch. Mostly without words, we believe ourselves to have been understood. Somehow, because of that, we are no longer alone. There are others trapped here in this hellish place, too. Some of them have somehow survived what is happening to us, to our children and our marriages and our lives. We know then that there is a way to incorporate these things that have happened to us, and to our children and our husbands or wives.

    We just have to find it.

    That we understand this to be our position gives us a goal. Now, we have a frame of reference. We have a place to fix our intellectual eye, as Mary Shelly is supposed to have said. So, that is better than not having those things. We glimpse sanity, the potential for creating again a world and a life where there is meaning. We have lived so long in the seemingly meaningless, chaotic, shockingly painful places our lives have somehow become.

    Our children are missing or, worse yet, they are home. Or some weirdly horrific combination of both, and only the parents here on this site will know what I mean.

    But there are no words to say what I mean.

    It's like a freaking nightmare where nothing makes sense and everyone is screaming and we are supposed to be the heroine but we keep doing the wrong thing somehow and no one is saved...and our child is not saved.

    And it's really dark. And everything is on fire. And someone at work says good morning and we just want to stab them to death and stick their good morning right...oh, excuse me.

    Wool gathering.

    :O)

    ***

    One of the mothers here on CD described compartmentalizing the horror of what was happening into something represented by the painting "The Scream". In her mind, that was where the horror and hopelessness were kept. She lived her life around that acknowledgment. She refused to allow what was happening to all she had dreamed define her, her life, or her children.

    It just was what it was. Nothing more.

    Radical acceptance.

    She was a very strong woman. She taught us how to face what was without judging either ourselves or our children. Which was a good thing, having to do with efficient use of energy. What is it that helps us survive.

    That is what it gets to be, really.

    She taught us, because she was doing it herself, that it could be possible to not be defined by what was happening ~ to not be defined, or define our lives, by marking the increments of our suffering.

    Even when that seemed to be the only thing that was real.

    What has happened to us is part of our lives, but it does not define our lives.

    She would post things like that.

    She helped me come to terms with my suffering. I say that pain is when we still believe that what is happening to us and to those we love is some kind of mistake. We still believe we can pull ourselves and those we love out of the fire. Pain is an active thing. Pain has to do with hope. Suffering is something else altogether. That is what all of us need to accomplish, really: How to come to terms with the pain. How to see the human suffering in children who are so willfully self destructing and pulling their families down with them.

    What else are we going to do?

    Those are our beloveds.

    If they are prison bound, if they are unhappy, if they are living on the streets or in mansions with gold floors, we are there with them, body and spirit and soul.

    The children are our beloveds. How to hold them, how to parent them, when they suffer? When we suffer a thousand times over for them, for their paths, for their pain and confusion. But here we are. We have not left them, and we never will.

    They are our beloveds.

    ***

    I think it is rare to find true compassion.

    True compassion, radical compassion, is acknowledgment that we all are human. That every animal, every living thing, is an intrinsic piece of what all of us are doing here.

    So, wait.

    That is compassion.

    That thing I just described is true compassion.

    To recognize one another, whatever shape or mood we are wearing. Radical compassion would be to choose true compassion as our go to mood, as our go to defiance about how to see both the suffering and the joy suffusing everything around us and not blink. Lest we close our eyes to it altogether.

    Radical: To choose. Compassion. Or acceptance. Or self care.

    The wonder of the thing is that we can choose that response in the face of what is happening. Most people do not. They choose to judge and self elevate. We cannot blame them for this. They literally have no way to understand what has happened to us. There is no frame of reference inside them for the horror of what we each have come to know with such shocking intimacy.

    To stand helplessly, almost hypnotized in the horror of the moment. Watching our eyes, our beloveds self destruct, taking our lives with them.

    Over and over and over again.

    That's what we do. That is what is happening to the parents here every day, every night, every minute. Some of us are fortunate. The child pulls back. The destruction stops. But hope is a cruel master. We will do almost anything to keep hope alive, to keep love alive.

    Eventually, everything is burnt away.

    There is us, and whatever is left.

    And the destruction goes on or it does not, but the dreams we held for the beloved are only the memories of so many beautiful things we believed in, in a gentler time.

    But here we are.

    And that we are here, and that we do love, and that we stood in the fire...that stuff matters. We did that. Love did that.

    And we are still standing.

    And that stupid fire is still roaring and spitting sparks. But we are well tempered, now.

    That is what enables us to make that choice of radical compassion.

    When we have seen so much that we easily make room, welcoming and assuring the others that whether they ever discover the purpose or meaning of what is happening to themselves and their children and families, we are here, and we hear them, and they are not alone with it, anymore.

    They will stand up. There is no other choice, really. Not for any of us. Those children are our beloveds.

    We have no choice.

    The only question then becomes how to survive it: Radical compassion, that's how. For ourselves first, IC. Compassion whether we believe it or not, whether we can feel it or not, whether we want to or not.

    Radical compassion. A choice to self value and to self nurture. It has nothing to do with anyone else.

    ***

    This is the other thing I know, this morning. We can learn to suffer without being devoured by it. If you will google paintings of The Mary, you will see it, there. How to accept what turns out to have been poured to overflowing into the cup passed to you.

    ***

    Laughter. We have to be able to laugh, maybe with our animals if not with our people. Radical compassion and radical self care go together. If we are going to come through this intact, we need to be like warriors. We need to tend to ourselves. Eating well, sleeping well when we are able, comforting ourselves through the terrible pain of it.

    Laughter. But you know, I was just thinking about laughter. My sense of humor is a very different thing, now.

    I am so separate from everyone I know.

    I am okay with that, though.

    ***

    After daughter was beat, I watched Beverly Hills Housewives by the hour. Just sat there, and watched that show. In the beginning, it was about beautifully done dinners and beautifully groomed women, and the ring of crystal.

    I was so hurt by what had happened. I lost even my faith. Nothing made sense.

    Nothing still makes sense.

    I am different. I no longer expect or demand that anything make sense. I am so frequently hurt, so appalled at what has become of all of us.

    I am like La Loba, the Wolf Woman in Clarissa Pinkola Estes book Women Who Run With the Wolves. La Loba wanders the desert, collecting the bones. She sings life back into the bones, sings the skin and the thick, shiny fur and the heart and the desert back to life.

    You will come through this, IC.

    But you will be different.

    Cedar

    Here is the story of La Loba.

     
  15. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    I woke up to this story Cedar....thank you. IC, you will come through this. Feel what you need to feel, but please know that you are held close with love.
    (((Hugs)))
    leafy
     
  16. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    This reminds me of a story in the latest book I read for my continuing education hours. *I completed 25 hours yesterday. It was open book and I did not bother to read the books. Smart.

    Rabbi Wolpe told the story of how when his wife had their new baby a young mother from an apartment down the hall visited. Her beloved child had been born with a terrible genetic disease and was suffering and close to death.

    She was so happy for the young couple with the new, perfect baby, but so, so sad. As she held the perfect infant, a little girl, she said to the Rabbi's wife: "This is what I signed up for."

    I think it is important to remember that our hopes and our dreams are still ours. That even when we lose them we do not lose us. We are separate.

    When I was skimming the chapter on dreams, and the hurt that came from the loss of them, the rabbi spoke of childhood dreams. I could not remember having dreams as a child. I think I just wanted to get out of the house.

    All of my dreams (maybe 3) were related to getting into colleges. They were goals, not dreams.

    The only dream I remember ever having was that right after I adopted my son I came to believe my destiny was to go to Argentina and dance the tango. It was the most absurd of dreams because I had a special needs infant and an uncompleted dissertation and no money and no help.

    I DID IT!!!

    This was the thing that redeemed my life. My son is the love of my life but my dream was to dance Tango in Argentina. I did it. To show myself that I could have a dream that could come true changed everything.

    At first I wrote "meet" my dream. Of course you meet goals not dreams. I am very good about goals. Dreams come true.

    Eventually my life became better than anything I could have ever dreamed. Because it became real.

    COPA
     
  17. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    I had dreams. For a little while. Until they got... squashed, permanently. (well, permanently as in for the last 40+ years).

    I gave up dreaming. Life was to be endured. And for the most part, that has been the story of my life. Even now. Dreams for retirement? No point - because there likely won't even be a retirement. I don't even dream of being a grandparent. Maybe I don't know if I could handle it - either with a neurotypical grandkid, or with a special-needs one.
     
  18. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Channeling Dr. Phil, "How is this belief about yourself and your life working for you, Insane?"

    COPA
     
  19. savior no more

    savior no more Active Member

    Oh Copa -
    Isn't that the heart of the guilt we live with. It may be reality, but most days if I don't venture there I'm happier. Recently I have opened the door just a crack to seeing where my interventions harmed my son. I haven't wanted to see this before, but I have to know that with my limited view at the time I was doing what I thought was right. Still today I'm wondering if somehow I need to try to help him out through this mess. Like writing a letter to the attorney or sheriff advocating to make sure his medication is right. You can just imagine how they roll their eyes when correspondence from me shows up. When he was out on the streets he wouldn't take it anyway and self-medicated with meth. There are times I think I interceded where I shouldn't have and then didn't intercede where I should have. Perhaps it's my monkey mind trying to alleviate the pain.
     
  20. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Monkey mind....

    Monkeys are said to be clever, brilliant even. They are known to be curious, and to be quick, sifting enormous amounts of information in the blink of an eye.

    It helps me, savior no more, to acknowledge the impossible difficulty of living and loving so intensely when the realities we share with our children bear not the smallest resemblance to anything we knew to be real, before these things began happening to all of us.

    There are no guideposts to let us know where we are.

    When the rational responses we've made fail, we accuse ourselves.

    It is the situation that is horrific. Not you. Not me. Not our children. We fail, and we try again. The one constant is love.

    It would be an easier thing, to turn away.

    But our children and families and the lives we all have created together are in our hearts. Grief, and horror sometimes, and so little joy to sustain us.

    Somehow, we come through to a reality we cannot recognize, except for that feeling of love and compassion for our children and ourselves and that is the only thing we know at all, sometimes.

    I am glad you found us, and that you are here with us now, savior no more.

    :O)

    Cedar
     
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