I've been thinking lately about family and the overwhelming urge to keep them safe and happy. I am, by some fault, a people pleasing person. If those around me are not happy, I am not happy. So, I go out of my way to try to make things good for everyone. I see this trait in two of my son's, too. If they feel I'm down, I can tell that they drag, too.
With the things that are happening in my life, I have to reign in this feeling of protectiveness. As a friend, and sister, or daughter, or wife, or mother, all I can do is listen and offer advice on how I would deal with something. I tend to give more advice than maybe I should, but I still listen, still validate, still care more than most.
Cancer, financial problems, bullies. All of these things are problems that I cannot fix for people. I certaintly cannot put myself in my mother's shoes at this time. I was talking to my father last night (chatting on facebook, believe it or not!!) and we talked of the fear of dying. For the longest time, I was hearing the ticking clock of time going by and then talked to my friend Nikki who's mother also has stage 4 ovarian cancer. She said that she is not going to live her life waiting for her mom to die. She said it with such conviction...it moved me. I had a choice that I could make. Hang on to death, or embrace life. I am embracing her life. This doesn't mean that I don't fear the death of mother, I just refuse to think it will happen anytime soon. She is a survivor. She made a comment to me that she's sorry that I've been put in the situation to constantly lift her up. I told her that after 33 years of her doing the same for me, I think it's about time I could do it for her. If her spirits are lifted, then I feel better, too. I know that I cannot take the cancer away, but I can encourage her to keep fighting, to make it through one more day, and to help her see the light at the end of the tunnel that shines so brightly for me.
As for the other two things. I've lived through it and can only offer my advice on how I handled things. The people that I talk to have the choice to listen and then act how they feel is the correct way. I have to understand that it is their lives, their decisions that reflect on them...and in no way reflect on anyone else. I cannot make things better for them. I have to get out of the "fix it" mode or it will drive me crazy. Sometimes, I want to bang my head against the wall because I see these people making the same mistakes over and over again, but again, this has nothing to do with me.
At what point do we disengage ourselves from the situation? Why do I feel as if I need to know all that is going on? Am I just naturally nosy, or is it the need to protect?