Thursday, April 26, 2012
It's Never Going To Be Like It Could Have Been.
"... As we grow older
The world becomes stranger, the pattern more complicated
Of dead and living. Not the intense moment
Isolated, with no before and after,
But a lifetime burning in every moment."
I speak to a lot of people in a lot of really messed up situations. As part of my job - for which I have next to no formal qualifications, other than the one year diploma of education - I have to ask questions about whether a kid's parents hit them, how the death of their mother felt, if they are capable of reading, communicating, completing basic tasks, et cetera, et cetera. It's getting so I have a particular tone for these questions, sympathetic but curious, never challenging or confrontational, but never apologetic or pitying either. Actually, those are a bunch of descriptors that paint me as more reflective than I really am. Mostly I just ask, "What happened there?", "What's up with that?" or "How'd you deal with that?" or just say, "Shit dude, that must've really sucked."
Lately I find myself trotting out the same tone in my non-professional life, and keep finding it to be completely inadequate. All of a sudden I'm surrounded by all of these stories of death and dying, or grief and grieving, and am completely without the skills to deal with any of it. I ask the questions, listen when I can, swear in response, and offer up the Roberta Flack record that really helped out last time it was raining hurt in my own neighbourhood. That's all I have.