It's rough, sometimes by francoise

It's rough, sometimes

One of the nicest things anyone ever said to me was, “Yeah, I know. It’s rough.” It was a brief encounter with a total stranger in a traumatic moment.

It is said that when trauma happens, the best thing one can do, often, is just be there with that person. No talking is necessarily required. There are no particular words that are most comforting. And it’s certainly true that there are lots of things in life that cannot be ameliorated. For example, if someone’s loved one dies, no one can bring the loved one back or fix the grieving person’s feelings with the right words. But you can just be there with the person who lost their loved one.

I ran into a former colleague at the post office the other day. Now that we are no longer working together (with all the attendant complexities), I have been hoping that there is opportunity for a non-work friendship with this fascinating individual. “Ah,” I said, “how has your summer been?” “It’s been the worst summer of my life,” she said.

And now, I feel that I should probably leave out her story since I am posting online and it is not my story. I know I am not always this scrupulous about what I post or don’t post, but that’s today’s impulse. I trust that readers can, unfortunately perhaps, easily fill in a plausible story for what might have been the worst summer of her life. Yes, it involved death. I stood in the hot sun and listened. I wish now that I hadn’t chimed in some of my own experiences, as they were obviously so irrelevant. But mostly I just listened and asked questions. I think I may even at one point have said, “Yeah, I know. It’s rough.” After a while, she had the merciful idea of moving into the shade. When we parted, I went into the post office with the letters to mail. “There you go,” I called out in parting
as I entered the post office, “I’m paying taxes! Death and taxes!”

Ah. If you know me, you will know that I am quite fond of black humor, “quite fond,” being an extreme understatement to describe my love for completely inappropriate jokes. When we scattered my father’s ashes in the ocean, I happily announced, “Now we can call him the old man in the sea!” My brother was completely appalled at this levity, but I thought my father might have appreciated the joke. In any event, I sincerely hope that I didn’t undo a half hour of just being present with a traumatized fellow human by indulging in rough humor.
ANyone that knows you will recognize your sense of humor is not insensitive. I am sure it meant a lot to her that you were attentive while she told her story which is a necessary part of the healing process for her.

Your photo had great light and shadow with a definite sense of rough texture
July 29th, 2018  
The photo indicates strength as in the rock and beauty in the contrast. 'They' say the best thing is to give your time to listen!
July 29th, 2018  
there is nothing we can say, no matter that we had experienced the same thing, to someone who had lost a loved one to death. and you are right, the best thing we can do is to simply listen, if they wanted to talk.

i like 'the old man in the sea'.
July 29th, 2018  
An appropriate image to accompany a touching story. You gave your friend empathy.
July 30th, 2018  
I like that you portrayal of rough in the image, also has a bright side. One day, I hope your friend will be ready to move out of the shade and back into the bright side. Your friend will understand your humour, precisely because you just spent half an hour listening to her.
July 30th, 2018  
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