enduring empathy


I sometimes feel as if my heart has been ripped wide open. It isn’t on my sleeve, but it is oh-so-vulnerable. I am exposed to the elements. Feelings come easier, but they are not easier to withstand. They have the power to topple, to open the floodgates. And they do.

News that a suicide bomber visited a mosque in Yemen made me angry. A car accident that took the lives of a local mother and her son made me weep. A needless plane crash made me question. Another person “likes” the online magazine for bereaved parents, and I sigh. Tragedy happens to people everyday. All salt on the wound. The empathy hurts – it physically hurts. The universe can be a cold, senseless place.

Last week, a little boy named Seth asked the world to wear yellow for him today, March 27th (#wearyellowforseth). Seth has an immune disorder which isolates him from the world. I watched the video he and his parents posted and wept. The little guy touched my heart. He is living his life in a sterile hospital room, and is still able to muster a smile, to summon the courage to make such a public plea for human connection. A little act, like wearing a yellow t-shirt, has the ability to make someone’s day.

The willingness to feel for one another is not for the faint of heart. To be able to feel for someone who is hurting while you are hurting is hard, but it is human. To understand that terrible, terrible things happen in the world that we wish no one should have to endure, but that somehow people do. Together is how we learn to carry on.

We all have our struggles. Empathy and acts of humanity have the ability to bring us a little closer together. This grief isn’t easy to endure. I am so grateful that others have decided to feel with me.


2 thoughts on “enduring empathy

  1. Jessica April 12, 2015 / 1:57 pm

    I’ve always been like that — I never liked watching sappy movies or the news because I find myself shedding tears. But since we lost our daughter in November, empathy is almost unbearable. I weep for people I don’t know, even fictional people. I find myself jealous and angry with people who use their gift of life to inflict pain on others…I know my Imogen would have been a good person, but she never got a chance. If you’re still suffering from physical symptoms of your grief, I would like to share a few things that helped me. I found that laying off caffeine and substituting a tea called Nerval Tonic from Flora was helpful in controlling the chest pains and tension in my shoulders, back and neck. I also use an adrenal support tincture.


    • robynedmondson April 14, 2015 / 12:24 pm

      I agree with you about the feelings of anger and jealousy. I want everyone to cherish and make the most of what they have. I want everyone to realize how fragile life is. Thank you, Jessica. xo


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