My sister asked family to send care packages to her son in Sweden, whose girlfriend recently died in a horrible accident. He told me on the phone one day that he was having, “a hard time” and after we talked he said, “I feel the caring.” But what are some other ways besides listening to show care?
Asked for suggestions for our care packages, my sister came up with, “maybe send wool socks, a warm beanie, nuts and snacks”. But I thought of non-traditional supplies for my package. I put in a copy of my book, Communication Breakthrough, marking the pages about dealing with grief. Next, I placed medicinal teas, like throat coat, cold-care and immune strengthening teas in a baggy. In another baggy I placed herbal teas he can drink before bed. In a third baggy I put a foam ball that can be squeezed to the rhythm of the breath to de-stress and a small hard rubber ball to roll under his bare feet. This brings focus to the lower body, making you feel more grounded on the earth. Feeling grounded can help when your psyche is overwhelmed by a broken heart. Or any stress. What about when we can’t relate to another’s pain? What can facilitate more care in us toward the person who is suffering?
Yesterday, I gave a presentation with two other authors at the Poway Library. I brought my 10 year-old nephew, who was eager to attend. After my reading about how to respond to people in grief and how to cope with sadness, the other authors read from their short stories that were part of an anthology called, Shaking the Tree, short.braze.memoir. Both stories were from the point of view of a child who had to endure the terror and insecurity of escaping war torn Iran. They brought us into their true experience as children facing death and seeing horror at ages 8, 9 and 10. These presentations from refugees were heart wrenching and riveting. Both women escaped with their families and created successful lives in the USA. But what does this have to do with care packages?
When we left the library I asked my nephew, “What did you think of the refugee stories?” He responded, “Did you see my face?” I said, “Ah, no, I was so fascinated, I could not take my eyes of the readers.” He said, “Me either. Wow! This really happened to them in real life. Like at my age. This is not like in the movies or on television.” I could feel his world-view being impacted, being expanded. In this climate of demonizing the “other”, particularly the refugee population in the USA today, these writers pulled us into their world to walk with them on their journey. In listening to their stories we unwrapped a gift and inside we found human tales of pain and trauma, felt their fear and sorrow. As a result we left with bigger hearts, deeper understanding, and more compassion for the refugee experience. They gave us a care package that made us care more. When others feel our caring, it helps lighten their burdens. At least for a while. More care packages are needed. Where can you send one in your world?