The Cost of Caring

Maybe it is the weather, but I had a major blubbering melt down today. I couldn’t control the tears streaking down my face.  I was frustrated at my inability to know what is wrong with my car or even where to really start.  While Phil was not mechanical, the cars were his realm.  I don’t even like driving. It wasn’t just the car, but trying to figure out what next.  I hated how hard I had to fight to come back from those tears, but I didn’t understand why my emotions are all over the place the past few days until I got back to work.

I gave someone a compliment—someone who has had an active role in the base support for the two fallen soldiers. He began to weep.  Our emotions are catching up to us. Like he said, it has never been about thank you’s or recognition.  It never will be about that for either of us. It is about doing what we feel called to do for the people coming after us on the journey.  Both of us would do what we do without compensation, but there is a cost.

The cost is the ripped off bandaids of giving everything. The cost is the ripped off bandaids of caring and wanting to fix what cannot be fixed.  The cost is magnified by our own losses not long enough ago.  In the giving of the hard fought for knowledge and the genuine call to walk with others, there is a vulnerability that exposes our own wounds.  Hurting and caring are choices that will not change for either of us.  The tears are the acknowledgement that not everything can be fixed and that the depth of our caring is in the realization that as much as we have reached out, there is more to be done.

It takes a village to help the griever. Most people are ready for the griever to be done grieving after 30 days.  The height of grief seems to be about the 90 day mark.  Why?  The impact is felt then.  Initially, shock and all of the business that comes with funerals consumes a person.  When everyone  else goes on with their lives and the griever is left alone, there is the realization that the past is gone and the future dreams have ended.  It is in this realization that no matter what I give of myself, there isn’t a magic pill to fix the pain in someone else. I want

My tears came after an emotionally fraught weekend that meant more to me than many would have guessed. While I never have shied away from telling my story for those people that need to hear it or who have the power to change things that went wrong in my military world, my voice has never been for what I can receive.  I have received more than I deserve, more than I can wrap my arms around, and it was never about receiving to begin with.  I bear the weight of the world because my heart weeps for those coming after me.  I want to fix the unfixable.  In the recognition of a kindred spirit, I saw this man’s tears for what they were—a true calling born of events beyond his control.  This calling is the fire that blazes and will consume us even without recognition or request.  It is what it is and today the tears showed the humanity in our caring.

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