My body and my mind and my heart feel different, depending on what I am doing. It is a bit like leaving one person-suit and stepping into another person-suit. I am comfortable and easy when I am in problem-solving mode. Not clinical but..fixed and firm and clear. It feels good to think critically and assess situations. To talk to people about making a good plan or about addressing a need or fixing a problem. This is not family resource coordinator mode.
If I am going to talk to a family I don't leave my body, I don't become someone else. I do. . .quiet myself down and step to the edges so I can make room for what is going on. To make space for the reality that death is in the room and that people are slowly or quickly emerging into a new skin, with new eyes, in the new world that no longer has their son or father or brother or wife walking around in it. When I worry about saying the wrong thing or finding a way in to ask these people I've just met to let me support them, I try to remind myself that none of this is about me. I am here because I have chosen to be, because I can be, and because people need other people to be there. It is hard. And scary. And so holy.
I can't stay in that mode indefinitely and I can't be in it if I am doing other things. Problem-solving or doing my expenses or filling out forms. It is hard to switch back and forth and I am new at this so I am learning how to be both. How to be all the things that I am and need to be, at different times. How to carry a family's story from afar but not drown in it.
There is so much pain in being a person. So much devastating, confusing, gut-clenching pain. I can't take it away and I try to remind myself not to try, even when it is so uncomfortable to be next to the hurt and suffering. We need people to be there though. To be next to us when we are hurting. To listen. To receive the gift that is the story of someone they have loved so fiercely as they try to figure out how to say good-bye.