Pain passes…

Dear Daughter,

A few minutes ago, I swung my legs up from the floor onto the couch (which is the cozy spot where I write these letters). When I made that move, I thought about how difficult it would have been to do that just three months ago, when I was recovering from my c-section surgery. At that time, moving at all was painful, let alone anything requiring ab muscles. Raising my feet from the ground to the couch or bed was a slow process that involved a lot of cringing, wincing and even some tears. I remember thinking at that time that it would never get better, that the pain would never go away.

But it did.

This got me thinking about pain, both physical and emotional. When you’re hurting, it permeates your entire sense of being. You can’t think about anything else because the pain is so intense it’s crippling. What once seemed like an effortless, involuntary task can now feel like the most difficult thing in the world. Relief seems like light years away. You begin to wonder if this is your new reality, if you’re going to have to hurt for the rest of your life.

I think about the times I’ve been dumped by a boy, which is arguably one of the most painful experiences one can go through. They call it a “broken” heart for a reason. During those breakups, I couldn’t eat or sleep or write my name without thinking about the rejection. I would wake up and hope that it was just a bad dream. But it wasn’t. It was real. So I had to live another day dealing with this weight of grief.

Wounds do heal, though, slowly but surely. They start to scab, to toughen, so that after awhile they’re not so tender anymore. After every breakup, I made it through each day a little better than the last, and before long, the good moments outweighed the bad. I didn’t forget about the pain completely. I’m still always aware of what caused it so that I can try to keep it from happening again. But even though the memory is still there, the heartache is long gone.

Daughter, both your body and your heart will be hurt many times throughout your life. When you’re going through that pain, remember that it WILL get better. The pain WILL fade away and before long you’ll be swinging your legs up onto the couch like it’s the easiest thing in the world. You will survive this, and you’ll be a better, stronger person because of it.

Love,
Mom

Why everything will be better in the morning

Dear Daughter,

As much as I will try to keep you away from it, you will face pain and struggle at some point. At several points, actually. It’s just a part of life, to go through difficulties and to grow through those experiences. Going through trials actually makes you a better, more well-rounded person, which is difficult to believe at the time but in retrospect is always made clear.

There will be times when you’re devastated, heart-wrenched, and cannot imagine ever being happy again. A boy might break up with you, a friend might stab you in the back, or you might lose someone you love forever.

There will be other times when there’s just drama. You and a friend or group of friends are fighting, someone’s telling lies about you, work or school seems like an insurmountable obstacle.

When these things happen, it’s easy to dwell on them and think that your life is and always will be centered on that very problem. And I’ve learned that these problems are especially exaggerated at night.

The end of the day is when you’re most tired and when your emotions run highest. Add to that hours of painful analysis about whatever situation is plaguing you at the time, and you’re bound to magnify the drama of that situation. You imagine the worst-case scenarios and assume they’re going to happen to you. Or you just wallow in your grief and simply cannot get out of it.

When that happens to me, I always try to tell myself, “Everything will be better in the morning.”

I think it’s cool that we’re created to sleep at night, when it’s dark, so that when we awaken we rise up at the same time the sun does. There’s a psychological metaphor that goes with what’s physically happening outside. In the morning, your outlook, like the sun, is brighter. Your attitude, like the dew, rinses away the grime of the day before, making everything fresh and new.

The pain might still be there. But in the morning, it’ll be more bearable, and the possibility of moving on will seem more plausible. Because with the morning comes the opportunity to make this new day better than the last.

So, Daughter, whenever it’s late at night and you’re crying over a box of memories, or pacing your room in anger, know that you’re probably only making things worse. Go to bed, get some sleep, and remember…. everything will be better in the morning.

Love,
Mom