Family and friends are facing the following:
- living with a colostomy bag
- enduring the removal of a brain tumor
- finding out a father has stage 4 pancreatic cancer
- contemplating divorce
- being in love with a domestic abuser
- mending from a relationship breakup
Their stories are not my story. However, unlike the reports of the heart-breaking cultural shifts in Afghanistan, the disturbing conditions at the Mexico border and the continuing horrors of structural racism including the attempts to discredit it, being invited to enter pain and fear with family and friends, feels sacred. A bond. The overwhelming nature of injustice involving strangers can tip more easily into helplessness. Or worse, relief that being too far removed absolves responsibility.
Yet to sit, to listen, to hold another’s hand is to be someone who feels that pain is somehow her native homeland, a place where she is welcome, an experience with which she is familiar. Yet to assume too much is off-putting. To be too breezy is callous. To offer too much is awkward.
After a tearful conversation over the car speakers or a softly spoken conversation from a hospice bed, to return home and to dance with attempted precision along with music videos feels too joyful, yet also restorative.