My husband and I were preparing for an early morning flight to Texas for our life coach training. We had just packed our suitcases and our daughter safely on her way to stay with my parents. The house was cleaned up and ready for us to be gone for the week. Within minutes of us sitting down to watch a show on TV, my husband gets up and leaves the room. Next thing I know he is hollering my name and I find him in our bedroom writhing in pain. He said he was feeling this sharp agonizing pain in his chest that just wouldn’t let up. I didn’t know what to do. Was it a heart attack? Do I google chest pain? Do I call the ambulance? I was totally conflicted. But he said, don’t do anything, just be with me, so I did.
Seeing someone you love in pain is a very difficult thing. With cancer, the pain I’m talking about usually comes from the treatments, not the disease. Surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy as the go-to treatments for cancer are often accompanied by severe discomfort, if not outright pain. The pain is not a break-your-leg-type of emergency pain, its a pain that just has to be endured and this is very difficult to watch. I have lived through this several times now. Some of the worst times were after my husband’s chemotherapy sessions when for days on end he would feel utterly and completely horrible.
The worst part of witnessing the pain that accompanies cancer treatment is that there is little you can do to sooth it. And it sucks, for them and for you.
But that is not entirely true. There is one thing you can do in every situation.
You can love.
Seriously, that may sound like such hokey, but love is way more powerful than you may at first realize.
Our Thoughts Cause Emotions
When my husband is in pain and all I can think is, “I don’t know what to do!” I feel complete and utter fear and uncertainty. Those emotions drive me to be panicky and unable to think straight. They certainly don’t help me figure out what to do. I’m tense and distracted. I’m not present and able to be with him.
Instead when he’s in pain and I think, “I can love him right now” a calmness comes over me. From a calm place, I think more clearly. Maybe there is action to take take, someone to call… or maybe I just sit and be with him and love him. Often, that is all you can do, but it can make all the difference.
Why Love Is So Powerful
My coach and mentor Brooke Castillo would say, there is nothing that isn’t made better when you add love. No one needs to be taught how to love. This is a skill we all come into the world knowing how to do. Love is calming. It forces you into the present. It feels good to love and it feels good to be loved. The other night when my husband was in such pain, he just wanted me to be there with him and love him. So that is what I did. I was just present with him and loved him.
We don’t know what caused the pain, but eventually it did subside and we made it on the plane to our training.
Love IS Always An Option
When your loved one is in pain, you won’t always know what to do. So remember, love is always an option to you. You may take other actions as well, but it will be from a place of love.
Cancer will give you plenty of opportunities to love, don’t let those opportunities go by.