Pain and Suffering
If pain beyond one’s coping capacity is present, it can kill cruelly. It is all that will matter. Pain rivets all attention and it will destroy hope. I know that offering relief is essential to any gentleness in dying. Sometimes this means sedation and it may not be chosen. People can endure pain differently when they choose. This in itself feeds hope.
Pain is not just physical. Equally immobilizing is suffering. Different from pain it is a spiritual, mental, emotional struggle or hopelessness. It kills by weight or suffocation. Paradoxically, its experience is often a cruel, seemingly necessary, stretch of the road. Its relief is often in its unfolding and I’ve come to realize it is often crucial for what comes next. Sometimes a companion can hold safe space or a reflection of hope in the presence of suffering.
I know my greatest challenge will always be in staying in my skin when pain is ravaging. I come by this through the shadow of my mother’s experience.