About Me

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Delta, British Columbia, Canada
I took very early retirement from teaching in '06 and did some traveling in Europe and the UK before settling down to do some private tutoring. As a voracious reader, I have many books waiting in line for me to read. Tell me I shouldn't read something, and I will. I'm a happy, optimistic person and I love to travel and through that believe that life can be a continuous learning experience. I'm looking forward to traveling more some day. I enjoy walking, cycling, water aerobics & and sports like tennis, volleyball, and fastpitch/baseball. I'm just getting into photography as a hobby and I'm enjoying learning all the bits and bobs of my digital camera. My family is everything to me and I'm delighted to be the mother of two girls and the Gramma of a boy and a girl. I may be a Gramma, but I'm at heart just a girl who wants to have fun.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Struggling With Sadness

I've been feeling so overwhelmed for the past month that I find tears flowing down my face far too often. DL is feeling his own fear and desperation that he won't survive the big C and is, as a result, pushing his loved ones away. Not just me, but also his closest friends. I try to accomodate him but when he snaps at me, I find myself snapping back.
Today I remembered that I'd written about sadness quite a long time ago, so went into my archives to find it. Surprisingly, it's been exactly three years - do we have cycles of sadness in our lives? Anyway, I read it over and it made me cry again, but please do read it because the tears were not of sadness anymore. The story gives me hope.


Once upon a time there was a little woman who walked along the dusty field-path. She was quite old yet her steps were light and springy and her smile had the fresh glow of a carefree girl. She stopped at a cowered figure and looked down. She couldn’t recognize much.The being that sat in the dirt on the path seemed to be almost bodiless. She reminded her of a grey flannel blanket with human shape.
The little woman bent a little forward and asked: ”Who are you?” Two almost lifeless tired eyes looked up towards her. “Me? I am the Sadness”, whispered the voice haltingly and softly, almost too soft to hear.“Oh, the Sadness!” said the woman pleased as if she would greet an old friend.
“You know me?” asked the Sadness mistrusting.
“Of course I know you! You accompanied me every once in a while over and over again on parts of my path.”
“Yes, but…” said the Sadness suspiciously, “why don’t you run away from me? Aren’t you afraid?”“Why should I run from you, my dear? You know very well yourself that you catch on with everybody who tries to get away from you. But, what I wanted to ask you: “Why do you look so discouraged?”“I am … sad”, replied the grey figure with broken voice.
The little woman sat down at her side. “So, you are sad”, she said and nodded with understanding. “Tell me what bothers you.”
The Sadness sighed deeply. Was there really someone who would like to listen to her this time? How often did she wish for that to happen.
“You know”, she started hesitantly and very astonished, “it’s just that nobody actually likes me. It is my destiny to visit humans for a while but when I show up they are scared of me. They are afraid of me and try to avoid me like the plague.”The Sadness swallowed some tears. “They invented phrases that they try to ban me with. They say things like: “Nonsense, I can’t be sad. Life is always bright and fun.” And their fake smiles give them stomach cramps and they have a hard time breathing. They say: “Praise is what makes us tough,” and then they end up with heartache. They say, “One just has to put it all together and suck it up!” and then they feel all kinds of aches and pains in their shoulders and their backs. They say: “Only weak people cry!” and the banked up tears almost make their heads burst. Or they try to numb themselves with alcohol or drugs so that they don’t have to feel me.”
“Oh yes”, confirmed the old woman, “I’ve met people like that before.”
The Sadness turned even sadder… “But all I want is to help humans. When I am very close to them they can face themselves. I help them build a nest to cuddle up in to take care of their wounds. Somebody who is sad has very thin skin. Old sorrows surface again like a bad healed wound and that can hurt a lot. But who is able to face their grief and sorrow and cries? All the uncried tears can truly make their wounds heal. People don’t want me to help them though. Instead they put on a flashy smile on top of their scars. Or they put on a heavy shield of bitterness”.
The Sadness was silent now. Her crying at first was weak, then it became stronger and finally it was very desperate.
The little, old woman hugged her, caressed the shaky bundle and thought to herself how soft and gentle Sadness felt. “Cry, Sadness, let your tears flow”, she whispered full of love, “Rest so that you can gather your strength back. From now on you shall not wander all by yourself. I will join you so that discouragement and despair can’t take over anymore.”The Sadness quit crying. She looked her new companion straight in the eyes: “But, but who are you?”
“Me?” said the old lady with a smile on her face and then she laughed again like a carefree young girl.“I am HOPE.”
I have to believe there is light at the end of the tunnel, or else that fear of the unknown will just cripple me. I just have to let go and let God.


nancygrayce said...

Oh, Leslie, I am so sorry for this situation. I'm sorry he is pushing everyone away because right now he needs you, I guess he just can't see it because the fear has him frozen. I pray that after he has the surgery, his hope will be with him......wonderful story!

RiverPoet said...

Leslie -

I don't make it to the blogs much any more, because of my own walk with Sadness. You know that since my daughter died a little over a year ago, I've been through the cycles of grief and sadness, sometimes rapid cycling. DL is going through his own stages of grief as he faces what we all must face - our mortality and human frailty. It's hard, but try to be patient and realize his anger is not at your nor his friends. He is facing the battle of his life - FOR his life. He will find that strength he needs, but anger is a major part of what will get him there.

You have friends in NC. We'll be praying for you. Peace - D

Shrinky said...

Dearest Leslie, this is an amazing peice of writing, so touching and searingly true, because it's been composed from a lot of wisdom and experience, it reads honestly straight to the heart.

All you can do is what you are doing, sweet lady, holding on and hoping he will realise you are there for him. I wish I could lighten that pain a little, words are often so inadequete in times like these. Just know we love you, and are holding you close ((x)).

Amy said...

Leslie, I really feel for both of you. "Let go and let God" is easier said than done I've found. Your second image of the hand reminded me of an image I use when I'm desperately frantic with worry over a loved one. I picture that person literally held in God's hand - it brings comfort.

Leslie: said...

Nancy, thanks for the prayers that are greatly needed and appreciated.

Doris, yes I understand he's going thru those stages and they're pretty hard to deal with for everyone around him. I think that he's found some peace now 'cuz he's outside gardening - something he loves to do.

Carol, thanks for holding us close. I'm hoping he's turned the corner emotionally and is gearing up for the next two weeks.

Amy, thanks so much for your comments. That's why I used that picture because it reminds me not to hold on so tightly to my humanity and to let God do His thing instead and be gracious no matter what His decision.

Rositta said...

It's a guy thing I think. I know that my DL is great dealing with my issues but when he had his "scare" he shut down and wouldn't talk about it. Your post is very powerful, I have lots to cry about this month and thankfully I can...ciao

Liz said...

I read this yesterday but didn't know what to say. Still don't. You'll get through this. With God's help. xxx

Anonymous said...

I am a cancer survivor of over 25 years. I went through the initial tests, the ultimate horrible diagnosis, the surgery, and months of gruelling radiation therapy. I remember feeling as if I had crossed over an invisible line, and everyone else was back on the other side. I was in frightening territory and none of my loved ones could join me there, or even really understand the terror and sadness I was feeling. Unless one has been in that territory, it is indescribable. I pushed everyone away because I felt as if I no longer belonged to the world. I was seeing everything through the filter of being a cancer patient. Even going through the motions of day-to-day living felt artificial. I no longer belonged to the world of healthy people. I felt that everyone looked at me with sympathy, compassion, understanding and a certain amount of pity, but I was no longer one of them. It took years for that feeling to go away.

I understand exactly what DL is going through. He has crossed that invisible line into that awful territory, and he knows that no matter how much people love him, he has to journey there alone. Hang onto him, and help him to understand that he’s not alone over there. That’s pretty much all you can do until he’s well again.

Cloudia said...


Aloha from Waikiki

Comfort Spiral

Leslie: said...

To Anonymous: Thank you for your insightful comments. I do recognize everything you say you went through in DL...today his whole body was shaking as he awaited his turn for a pre-op treatment. I have assured him we're in this together!