Put your cup down and move with me through the growth process. Personal growth can mean leaving behind habits and behaviors that you miss along the way. There comes a time when you know you can never return to that place, but the pain of leaving it behind is like Phantom Pain. You ache for the way things used to be. If given the opportunity, you would psychologically reside there, but mentally and emotionally you know you’ve out grown this space.
Now, pick your cup up and come with me to a place not so far away. This place for me is the comfort of being the “baby” of the family. I am the youngest of six children and loved having so many protectors and caregivers in my life. However, when my mom was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer that safe comfortable place would soon be lost. I could remember the fear that consumed me at family meetings to discuss my mom’s health. There were times during these discussions when I just wanted to stand up and scream, “this can’t be happening…Everyone assume their assigned roles!!!” In my mind this meant, everyone else stand up and protect me from this awful tragedy that has become our reality.
Initially from my perspective, no one could because we were all suffering. There were many days, I wanted to recoil and assume my role as the “baby,” with many protectors. I can remember the constant ache for the place of safety and security as I awaken every day to the reality that I was losing my mom. Phantom pain indeed! After much grieving, heartache and pain, I began to recognize that just as an amputee could not grow another limb and had to learn to navigate through life with this painful change in circumstances…I had to do the same. So, instead of looking for others to take away my pain and make me safe, I began to pray for wisdom, strength and courage. (Philippians 4:13) From this vantage point, I began to grow and my focus began to change.
It’s amazing how those family dynamics automatically come into play, however, as I made a conscious decision to “grow up,” I was now determined to use my God given talents and abilities to help my family navigate through this very difficult time. I began to notice as the months went by, the family meetings became more intense and the discussions more difficult, I could now pull out my tablet, take notes and record my mom’s medications. I could now ask the difficult questions and support my siblings in a way that I didn’t think was possible for me.
If I’m honest, I still look back and want the safety and security of having my mom. She was definitely a place of safety and one of my biggest cheerleaders. I am forever changed by this loss. This too is another Phantom pain. However I do love how the dynamics with my siblings have changed. While I am still the “baby” of the family, no one refers to me that way anymore. Now, when they introduce me, they say, “she’s the youngest.” I love that…it was a difficult transition, but here I am today, and I love being the YOUNGEST!
Phantom pain can come in the form of any loss. Sometimes it’s there masking itself as something else. It’s tricky…Had any Phantom pain lately??? I’d love to hear about it, please share