Pools of suck have many different levels, layers, and nuances. Suck, like quicksand, feels the same to us all when we're in it. True… the shallow end maybe easier to escape than the deep end, but it still sucks when you’re in it. People exert a lot of effort when they’re deep in the pool; sometimes to the point of exhaustion. Others reach out to help as best as they can. Unfortunately, some people cannot wade in. They reach out from the edge and hope they can make a difference. Such is the fate of a 30-year old guy my Wendy and I recently encountered during round two of chemotherapy.
His mother is the deep part of the quicksand of suck. She has multiple tumors that have taken over her body. He watches, knowing there is little he can do for his mom. He shared that he is bound to be strong in the presence of Mom cuz he doesn’t want add the pain of her son’s hurt to her pool of suck; it’s like adding more quicksand to the pool.
He holds a full time job, is engaged to be married, has his dogs, would like to do something entertaining… all while supporting and caring for Mom.
“Do I go work or take care of Mom?”
“Do I take a Daycation, or take care of Mom?”
“Do I take my dog to the vet or take care of Mom?”
He finds solutions to most of the issues that pop… and expends a lot of emotional energy along the way. This is his life.
He understands the idea of defining priorities, and is now discovering that nailing down the upper priorities equally means sacrificing the lower order priorities. He realizes he is in his own pool of suck, which is right next to Mom's pool. He finds it difficult to talk with others about it all. He doesn’t want to sound like he is whining about his pool of suck, nor does he want to overwhelm people with the tales from the quicksand. He just wants to talk without being critiqued - to be human without being judged for being human.
You ever run in to that one?
Let’s go back to the analogy. My bro is in his own quicksand of suck. It is next to his mom’s pool. Two very different pools, yet both equally and definitely SUCK!!!
My new bro, my Wendy, and others who set their family and friends in the higher order of priorities do not experience what cancer patients endure. Guess what? We cancer patients do not experience what our committed love ones endure.
I think about all this and realize…
- My Wendy and I hold each others’ hands tightly as we wade through our separate pools of suck
- We will pull ourselves and each other out of the quicksand when we stay committed to the task.
- We suffer together though in different ways
- We help each other every day
- We are getting out of the quicksand
- We DO NOT compare the two pools and say "Yours is worse than mine,” or “Mine is worse than yours.”
We’re getting out of our pools as soon as possible!
No matter how bad the quicksand, look for someone you can pull from their own pool. That person could be the someone that also pulls you out… and that never sucks!