I took my mother to the emergency room. She was in pain. "On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your pain?" The doctor asked. My mom said, "10". I knew that. I hated that. I had the same pain number emotionally. When my father made his transition in 2010, my number was 0-1 but while he was struggling with the debilitating effects of Alzheimer's, my number was secretly, always a 25 and up. Pain can sometimes be so elusive. It's sneaky, mean, necessary, beautiful, but always there lurking about but sometimes difficult to remember and recall after it has had its way with you.
As an only child, my emotional pain numbers always seem high. I think it is because I am afraid of being left completely alone. Alone in the sense of reorganizing my emotional space, devoid of what and how to feel when the space will be empty. Sure, I have friends, a loving boyfriend and myself. I have superficial delights and I have a mask I can comfortably wear in public...it's good for all seasons. I guess pain is so familiar on so many levels because each one of us is walking around with a heap load of pain and sometimes...nobody even suspects.
How does one make peace with pain? I wonder if it is a radical acceptance or a seductive surrender or a murderous damnation. My mom will probably be alright. She is 85. There will be more number crunching as she continues to age but for now I just need to be completely present with her and to desperately try to forgive myself for any pain I may have caused my mom that she will probably never share with me...but at least I'm aware, because the pain will always let me know.