Saturday, July 20, 2013

Empathy: The Human Connection

This video takes place in a hospital but it could just as easily take place anywhere. We never know what someone else is experiencing or going through. A smile - the easiest gesture to give away can really make a difference in someone's day. And road rage? We never know what's going on in that person's mind or why they're in a daze or in a rush - just let it go, and give him the benefit of the doubt.

When my mum died I was shell-shocked for a long time.  The time when I most thought about her death was while sitting in traffic - when the mind is free to wander. Many a times people honked their horn at me or gave me the 'bird' for pausing at a green light. How could they possibly know what was going on with me? 

The day my mother died I had left her hospital room after living there with her for 23 days. On that particular day I had 'let her go' so she could let go of the suffering and allow death to consume her. Well several hours later I knew that she was dying and I was panic stricken that I wasn't there with her and that she would die alone.
I jumped into my car and raced through downtown traffic to get to her hospital room. I was driving like a crazy person. I was beeping my horn, running yellow lights, passing cars - and although I'm not making excuses for my erratic driving I think you can understand why I was driving like that.
Anyway, a truck got in front of me and the two guys in it kept slamming on their brakes. I tried to pass and they would cut me off, give me the bird, etc. Tears streaming down my face I was yelling "Please let me pass, my mother is dying!" I tried to take side streets and they kept cutting me off. We continued like this all the way to the hospital where I left my car on the street and raced up to her room. She had just died. I don't blame those guys, they thought I was just an idiot driver but if they had given me the benefit of the doubt...

On the flip side when I left my mother's hospital room for the final time I was alone. I stepped into the elevator and there was just one lady inside. She made eye contact and smiled, she was so kind. Numb to the core and without thinking I said, "My mother just died."

She put her hand on my shoulder and said she was sorry and asked if she could drive me somewhere or at least sit with me. I declined her support but I have never forgotten her kindness that started with a simple smile. I try to remember her kindness when I second-guess myself at smiling at a stranger for fear of coming across as 'weird'.

"It's all about love and how we are all connected." - Mark Wahlberg, Actor

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