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Location: Midwest, United States

Monday, July 24, 2006

Blinded By Suffering

I've spent approximately 25% of my life roaming the halls of nursing homes. That’s a big percentage of my life. Too many of my years have been spent in the company of infirm, incontinent, wailing, frightened, incoherent, drooling, shattered, angry and abandoned souls.

Those days are over for me now. I will never set foot in a nursing home again. I would rather die than do that ever again.

I have been transformed this past week. Although I have cried copious, searing, blood-streaked has not been a bleak week.

I have been transformed.

The fog of pain that has enshrouded me for (far too many) years has finally burned away. My eyes are clear again. I had been blinded by suffering, but now my eyes can see. At long last, I can see the world and all its promise and its beauty again.

It wasn’t my suffering that blinded me. It was the suffering of all the poor souls I met in the hallways of those nursing homes. One cannot behold another hurting human being without suffering some measure of their pain. The forlorn would grab my arm, a desperate grab at human contact. The incoherent would stop me in the hallway, trying desperately to communicate…fear and frustration filling their eyes. The abandoned would sit down beside me with an awkward smile. I could sense they were not comfortable sitting with a stranger, but I guess a stranger is far, far better than no one at all.

I’ve seen naked women in their eighties fleeing down hallways, running from demons I could not see...demons I could only feel. I’ve seen…and felt…their frustration, fear, anger and despair. My ears have been filled with incessant, horrifying screams…and countless, garbled pleas for whatever it was these tortured souls craved, whatever it was they needed as they agonized in their private, living Hells.

Those days are now behind me.

I have been transformed, in ways I never expected. I have experienced a miraculous rebirth. There is so much I have to tell you, so much that I’ve experienced in this past handful of days. My head and heart are bursting, so much so that I am momentarily struck dumb.

* * *

I am reborn.


Blogger ever_trying said...

Jonas, just wanted to say hello. I came upon your blog thanks to the comments you left my co-author, and I wanted to say that your writing made an impact on me. Looking forward to more :)

Tue Jul 25, 01:09:00 AM  
Blogger Jonas said...

Hello Ms. Ever Trying. Thanks for stopping by.

There will be more (whether that is a good or bad thing, I leave to you, dear reader, to decide). My head is exploding with words, feelings, questions...and precious few answers. My blog is a form of personal therapy. (For you see, I, too, am ever trying.)

Tue Jul 25, 01:19:00 AM  
Blogger soul_rebel said...

I see you've met my partner in crime, a fine young lady I refer affectionately to as E.T.

Your optimism in the face of all that has happened is inspiring. May you continue to find peace going forward.

Tue Jul 25, 04:00:00 AM  
Blogger Amaris said...

No more suffering, please.

I do believe the purpose of our existence is to be ever trying.

Fri Jul 28, 07:58:00 AM  
Blogger Jonas said...

"I do believe the purpose of our existence is to be ever trying."

I do believe you are right, Amaris.

Fri Jul 28, 03:39:00 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

I am always surprised and saddened by the number of nursing home residents who apparently never receive any visitors ... people basically discarded by their families. But you chose to share your mother's suffering and the suffering of many strangers, Jon, without expectations of any sort -- and that is really admirable.

Mon Jul 31, 01:05:00 PM  

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