I am a little reluctant to write about this. Nonetheless, it’s part of the journey.
The trip to Virginia was a pivotal point in not just my life, but Cydney’s as well. Cydney left feeling a little closer to her mother, yet it also made it apparent that there is a very large part of her life missing.
Timile’s parents gave Cyd a RIP Timile t-shirt. When I saw it, I laughed to myself knowing that Timile herself would say “What kind of ghetto shit is this?!” However, that dumb shirt means the world to my daughter. As soon as we got back home, she wanted to wear it everyday. I told her that it would be best if she didn’t do so because she wouldn’t want to get it dirty. So every night she would fold the shirt and place it in the drawer.
After inquiring to watch videos of her and her mother before bedtime, making up stories of the two of them when she was a smaller, and on a daily basis telling me her wished of being a baby again, the t-shirt started making its way into the bed. Cydney had to sleep with the shirt every night. By September, Cydney talked nonstop about her mother. The only story she can really remember is the one I had once told a friend in her presence about how I originally wanted to name her Peyton and that Timile and I argued about whether or not our daughter’s name should begin with an “S” or “C.” Clearly she is trying to figure things out the best way that she knows how.
I come home from work one afternoon, and my mother informs me that Cydney had a little situation in school. A little girl came to school with both of her parents, Cydney saw them, broke down, and cried to the mother “My mommy died of cancer and I don’t have a mom.” That broke my heart.
Later that evening, I sat Cydney on my lap and asked her what happened. She gave a rather detailed explanation and I asked her why did she cry. Cyd said to me that it was because she doesn’t have a mother and all of the other kids do; so that makes her not special. I told her that she in fact is very special, she is loved, and while her mother may not be with her, there are many other women in her life who are there for her. We hugged it out and I proceeded to give her a bath.
These moments are heavy on me. Not just because I am feeling for my daughter who in her own way is grieving a loss. Not because I miss Timile dearly and wish she were still here. It isn’t even because I can’t take it because I can. Essentially this is all Cydney’s therapy. Whenever she has questions or wants to talk about it I let her do so. I don’t want to shut her down because it’s hard to deal with and that can make her feel rejected. She is simply getting an abstract concept way beyond her years and understanding off of her chest, so I have to let her.
While I may have a degree in psychology, I am not a professional and therapists see other therapists. The number one principle in physics is that energy cannot be created or destroyed, so when someone unloads an emotional burden off of themselves it is placed on the person they are talking to or is facilitating the process. What makes this difficult for me at this present time in my life is that the person I would talk to in a time like this-my good friend Donnell-passed away this summer. It’s tough being the outlet and not having a proper one yourself. You get depleted.
While there may be a hierarchy of actions that hurt us all, the pain that people feel is relative. A woman who has given birth can look at someone who just got a paper cut and say “In the grand scheme of things, that is nothing.” However, based on their experiences, to the person with the slit in their finger, this is the most painful feeling they have ever experienced. I often look at a lot of things that my family, friends, peers, coworkers, fans, and followers are going through and think “Man listen, what you’re complaining about ain’t shit.” But for them, it is.
For those that have experienced the childbirths of emotional pain, this is where compassion kicks in. It is something that people lack at an almost alarming rate these days. You are the example. My life experiences have equipped me to be able to handle what my daughter is currently going through. I look at it as a test of my own emotional endurance. One cannot experience hypertrophy of any kind without exercising it and putting it under some kind of stress. However, you must take some time to rest before you hurt yourself.
One thought on “Compassion and Emotional Hypertrophy”
I really appreciated reading this. My own mom died when I was four, and I’m still not entirely over it at 58 years old.
You’re such a thoughtful guy, Chad. Cydney’s lucky to have you, even though, as you allude to in your blog, there’s really no answer and no comfort beyond that we are there for each other.
Take care! Thinking of you.