I’m not feeling very funny today…and that’s okay. (Don’t worry, I’m sure that my sense of humor won’t be able to help but rear its sarcastic head.) Having a lot of down time (with my injured knee up) has given me time to reflect. I have spent the last two years helping my widowed mother through all kinds of ailments, most recently healing from a bad fall and prior to that, multiple hip replacements.
My mother has done, and continues to do so much for me that it is always my pleasure to give back and be there for her when she needs me. Now, my mom is one strong Polish girl! She has beaten cancer more than once, recovered from broken bones and did the hard work that it took to regain her mobility after not one, but two, hip replacements. All the while my mother remained positive, never complained and found humor during the entire process. God, I respect that about her! In fact, everyone does.
As I lie in bed writing this post, I think that now I really understand how my mom felt and some of what she had to endure.
Me: “Hi, Mom.”
Mom: “How are you feeling?”
Me: “Like I need a shower and I don’t know how I’m going to take one if I can’t walk or stand up. I’m miserable.”
Mom: “Remember I couldn’t take a shower right away after my hip surgery? I’ll send over my shower stool. Oh, and put a hand towel on the seat, it’s really hard plastic.”
Now, I’m thinking that I’ve got a lot more cushion on my backside than my 96 pound mother does…but mom knows best.
Me: “Okay I’ll put a hand towel on the seat. Good idea, but I don’t know how I’m going to get my leg over the side of the tub.”
Mom: “I put my good leg over first, than my bad leg second.”
Me: “Thanks mom. I love you.”
Mom: “Love you too. You can do it! Go take a shower, you’ll feel better. Good luck.”
Me: “Hi, Mom.”
Mom: “How did you know it was me?”
Me: “I have caller ID Mom.”
Mom: “Oh, that’s good. How are you feeling?”
Me: “I’m in a lot of pain. Still a half an hour left until I can take my pain medication.”
Mom: “You know, you should take the pain medication fifteen minutes to half an hour before the last pill wears off, that way you won’t be in pain until the next pill kicks in.”
Me: “Wait a minute. I think I remember telling you that when you were taking pain medication for your hip.”
Advice. Easier to give then apply to one’s own situation.
Mom: “You probably did. Just try it. In fact I’ll let you go so you can take it now. Love you.”
Me: “Thanks. Love you too mom. Call you Later.”
It’s funny how all the things that my mother endured are coming back to me, yet I’m seeing them from a new perspective. Her perspective. It got me to thinking about the power of empathy and doing a little research. I came across this video on Empathy by Brene’ Brown. It’s worth the 2 minute 54 second view. (She’s funny too!)
You can also follow Brene’ on twitter:
I think my knee injury has taught me a great lesson about the power empathy. It is one thing to care about your loved ones suffering (Sympathy). It is another to feel their suffering (Empathy).
Having to deal with similar challenges in the process of healing my injury lead me to feel what it was like for my mother to overcome the same hurdles. Right now I feel closer to my mom than ever…and that’s the beauty of empathy, it breeds deeper connections.
Setbacks in life always have hidden blessings…you just have to take a moment to recognize them.
Erin Cooper Reed