I know sympathisers mean well, they commiserate and comfort in time of misfortune or grief. But at times, one needs to be wary of them.
I feel this way because sometimes sympathisers do more harm than good. And their counsels can be more discouraging than elevating.
It took me a long time to actually understand the depth of my situation, maybe several weeks after I lost my limb.
Life didn’t even allow me to mourn the loss of my limb, my freedom. It made sure I had more to worry about than the actual loss of the limb itself, but my visitors, sympathisers opened my eyes.
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Every day for me was the same, there was no difference, the only difference was my dressing day, it was alternative. That means more agony and tears on one day than the rest.
Apart from that, nothing was different, it was the same thing, the same view, the same faces, the same sound. It was the only world I knew then, the world outside was dead to us.
So when I was not thinking of my pain, I was thinking of the next attack, the next dressing or the heart rending screams of another patient.
The first time I actually took a good look at my left leg was one of those days when the pain was not so intense, and it was not my dressing day.
One of the cleaners bumped into my bed as she was cleaning. I screamed. She apologised, I looked at her, she was an elderly woman. She apologised again and I nodded.
“You are always so quiet,” she said. I said nothing, I just kept staring at her.
“I hope you are not getting depressed?” I shook my head.
“My dear, don’t be despair, the Lord who made you will not let you suffer. He will fulfil His purpose in your life, huh? Don’t think too much about your condition, it is not the end of the world.”
“Don’t dwell on your inability to walk again or think when something happens and your mates are running, you might not be able to run, just concentrate on getting well. “
My face burned when the hot slap landed on my right cheeks. My eyes were burning with unshed tears. They were there but I couldnt make them drop. The rest of her words were lost to me.
There was a loud ringing in my head and strong odour of petrol mixed with engine oil filled my nostrils. My heart started constricting.
And then the tears started coming, I couldn’t stop them. There was everything i had not allowed myself to imagine laid bare before me.
For the first time I wept for something else other than agony. I wept for all I had lost, for all I would never have. I wept for my lost limb.
She just summarised what my life outside this walls would be like. It was the first time I thought of the world out there, my life after South West 1.
I wept for the injustice of it all, my life was not supposed to be like this. I had done everything right, worked hard, studied hard. I had been patient, satisfied with what I have.
It was unbearable. I was quiet all through the day, and I would cry when alone. and for the first time, I wanted to be alone, without my family, but even that was not possible.
When they finally left, I wept for the future I would never have, for all that had been torn from me.
And right there, in the middle of the night, my eyes boring hole into my only view, the tall white ceiling, I refused to allow the present to be my end.
I decided to make it my new beginning. I decided to forget about all my past dreams, life, and make new ones.
But first, I decided to stop heeding to all sermons, pity, sympathisers, well wishers and their counsels.
I stopped paying attention to their suggestions I decided to heal my own way.
I stopped paying attention to all tales of woes, of suffering of people who died in accident, of those who had it worse than I did, or who had it better.
I shut them all out. I told my family to stop letting in people who came wearing sorrowful faces, those who spurn tales of suffering. They were making me sad and miserable, they were not helping me.
And that was when my healing began.
Though they meant well, but sometimes their words and countenance does more harm than good. Their expressions, the pity, sometimes only bring despair.
I remember when I first got to the ward and some friends came to visit me. I just opened my eyes and saw them. I looked at their faces, so sad, some had tears in their eyes.
And I just started crying. I had no idea why I just felt the need to cry. I felt I looked so pitiful, that all was over for me. I felt my family must be lying to me that I was worse than they said.
As soon as they left I asked my elder sister for a mirror. I wanted to see my face. My face was unscathed, and so was my head.
So I learnt to select my visitors I know those who made me feel hopeful and I was always looking forward to their visits.
I eliminated the pity party and those who felt it was not a big deal even though they were standing on their two legs.
I am not sure if to praise the cleaner or not because her actions finally made me stronger. However, they still haunt me and make me doubt when I’m alone.
Healing does not work well with doubts. It needs confidence, courage and strength which they would take away from you if you let them.
The ones you need are those who make you smile through your pain and make you hopeful even when there is no reason to be.
Those who weep with you in the pain, and remind you to smile to get more strength to cry again.
Those who walk with you and beside you through it all, who tell you your problem is big but you can rise above it.
They are the ones who remind you your determination could surpass your illness, challenges, trials and whatever situation you might find yourself.