Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Learning When to Hold ‘Em and When to Fold ‘Em

Wendy Boorn, M.C., L.P.C.

Sometimes I am baffled about what action to take, or not take, when it comes to addressing issues with my loved ones. Even when I feel totally justified about being upset, one guideline I follow is to resist the urge to act impulsively. I let some time pass so that my wounds can start healing before I say something I might later regret.

Then I think through the likely consequences of bringing up a difficult issue, and, if I realize that doing so will hurt or cause defensiveness, I wait until I’m certain that this is a risk worth taking. Meanwhile, I remind myself that seldom, if ever, do my dear family members intend any harm, and I stay open to messages that may offer me direction.

About a month ago, my young adult grandson Kevin did something that I found very hurtful. His action, or, rather, inaction, was part of a larger pattern not unusual for 21 year-olds, especially males, but it cut me to the core, especially since I have gone way above and beyond to make his senior year in college extra special.

At first, nothing but retribution seemed satisfying: I wanted to hurt him as he had hurt me, and I nurtured fantasies of not speaking to him and of withdrawing financial support. I fanned the fire of righteous indignation by compiling a list of all I’d done for him in recent months and how little he had done for me. Before long, I had dragged into my speech everything but the kitchen sink, and I was searching for a way to include that.

As the weeks wore on, my rage softened to hurt, and the hurt was tempered by my remembering that Kevin had a few things on his mind besides his grandma, including taking final exams, saying goodbye to long-time friends and preparing to leave the college cocoon to step into the glaring lights of Real Life. I became increasingly glad I had waited. And then, today, I received the message that helped me let this hurt go, in two haiku poems my precious brother-in-law Bob Mieger wrote during the past year, after he knew he was dying of glioblastoma, the most aggressive type of brain cancer.

Time’s short – let’s party!
Choose the best of each moment
Love myself and you.

Find what’s important
Let go of everything else
And set yourself free.

 Thank you, Bob, for continuing to inspire me from the great beyond.
Brother Bob with granddaughter Molly, Seattle, 2011.

Bob showing off the crab harvest.

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Though I won't be able to respond to all posts, I will read your comments and share a few entries which seem relevant to the subject matter. Thank you for sharing.