So much of life

for many

boils down to

mostly pain-

management.

I remember

grandma, who’d

escaped commies

during WW2, but

just barely, and

with my five-year-

old, starving future

father in tow. After

that she smiled and

drank her way

through the

decades; but

then one night,

when she didn’t

know I was still

awake, I saw her

shaking on the

couch, her face

contorted into

one I couldn’t

recognize.

Later I found out

it was bone

cancer. Then I heard

her yelling at my father

because he’d been

praying to keep her

alive.

The other day a

pain like a switchblade

struck the back of my

knee and kept striking

for several days and nights–

right past the pain meds.

At first I could hardly believe

it when I heard the doctor

say it was just a sprain, but

then he added it was

pinching a nerve that was

setting off others.

And then there was

Larry, my fat, furry cat

and adopted son, whose

tumor grew back after a

costly operation; and the

cries and moans he made

finished off what was left

of my heart. Well, if you’re

reading this, you’re alive,

and you already know

(or soon will) that

much of life is pain.

And that pain is often

too much, despite those

who say that the “Good

Lord, never gives us

pain that we can’t bear”

and those who maintain

that pain teaches us

lessons we wouldn’t

otherwise hear.

Now, I find that an

internet friend, a lovely

soul, suffers constant

headaches, and I wish

that I could cure those,

don’t you know, and I

do have hope for her;

but when it comes to

pain in gneral, I’m

haunted by the words

of a buddhist monk,

who said that if the

Buddha could have

eliminated suffering

once and for all,

he would have.

Wouldn’t you?

 

— Fyodor Bukowski, author of Mail-Order Annie

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