The big ball of pain

IStock 000021382401XSmall

Regret can be a crippling thing. Whether it’s regret over something you did or didn’t do, whether it’s pain over things that happened to you or didn’t happen to you – looking back and wishing things were different doesn’t help in the here and now. Things in our past do effect us though in terms of who we are and how we think and make decisions. I know as an adoptive parent that there are things in my own past that impact the way I parent my children as well as what has happened to them that of course effects how they think, how they receive messages from others and how they behave.

I heard someone speak about pain this week. It was a difficult thing to hear as it was a very powerful, moving story of a family who lost their eldest daughter when she was only a child. Listening to the parents talk about how you deal with such immense pain made me think about my own daughter. Regret is something my daughter lives with every day – not regret over things she does as most of the time I’m not sure she’s aware of the things she does or doesn’t do – more about her past and what has happened to her. She talks occasionally about wishing her start in life had been different, that she hadn’t experienced what she has in her young life already. And those are the times when my heart really goes out to her and others like her who have this pain to carry around with them.

The Mother who spoke about her pain over losing her daughter talked about a metaphor someone shared with her that has helped her. It was that the pain is like a big ball that you try to squeeze into a glass. The ball is just too big to fit in. The pain of what you’re experiencing now is too big to fit into your life, it seems. What we think should happen is the the ball will get smaller as time passes BUT it’s not necessarily the case – the ball may never get smaller but the glass gets bigger – you have to expand your life to incorporate that pain – it will not go away and in some cases you may not want it to as it represents the loss that is so important to you. However your life can expand and grow – you can let other things in and use the experience of the pain to expand your life. Seeing where that family is now is incredible and knowing a tiny bit of the journey they’ve been on is amazing.

So back to our adopted children. When I heard this analogy I thought of my daughter and thousands of others like her who actually carry that ball of pain around in front of their eyes sometimes so they can’t see anything else. Sometimes she tries to hide the ball but it just pops up again. My job and our job as society is to help these children to expand their lives so that the ball is manageable within their lives – not to eradicate it but to help them to incorporate it into their lives and build a big life around it. My daughter often says she wants to adopt when she’s older or look after children, and I know this is what many young adopted girls feel for many different reasons. I pray that someday she will be able to look back, not so much with regret, but with understanding, acceptance and with the strength to know she can use that pain for good to help others.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply