If I were still writing a column for the local paper, what I think I’m about to write would not be sent. It borders on the “too much” and the “not my story to tell.” That is, when I write in my head what I think I’m going to write.
My eldest daughter is in a lot of pain. In the last month, she has been diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder much like mine. I don’t know if she is feeling more pain than I am or if she just yelps about it more than I do. It is hard to tell. But what really is dragging her down is her anger: anger that she has it; anger that she is 16-going-on-17 and excited about all the activities she wants to do and now can’t; and just general anger.
It all blew up last night—again. And I can’t write too much more right now because it is time to wake the household to head toward church, but I asked her last night when she was done be belligerently angry: how are you feeling? She is in so much pain right now and so narrow a focus is put on her physical pain. How are you spiritually, I asked and she said, “What do you mean?”
I had hoped, I told her, that we would have given you a better place to land when life isn’t easy than in anger. Anger is a good and fair emotion, I told her, but if it is all you hold onto when life is hard or painful, well, you’ve got a hard life ahead of you.
We have a lot of work to do, this kid and I. This is, I suppose, my prayer today. Help us help her, dear God. Help us help her find her way.
Update: I guess I saw this coming. Here’s what I wrote after my diagnosis last year. We went to pick up our medications this afternoon and when she heard how much it costs to fill one for her and one for me, I said “and that’s WITH insurance.” She became even more upset about her situation, realizing that there will come a day when she won’t be on our insurance. You can be on it until you are 26, I told her, and you will be a lawyer by then and you will fix healthcare. I’m so hopeful that in the next 9 years there will be a seachange of understanding of what universal healthcare will really do for all of us. til then, I guess I understand her anger better than I thought I did.