Posts Tagged ‘empathy’

Why Am I Alive? Why Is She Dead? No. 3

(for Ann)

Everything seems
so distant

Is Life receding or
is Eternity

(Excerpted from Fine Black Lines, (c) 1993, 2003 Lois Tschetter Hjelmstad)


Why Am I Alive? Why Is She Dead? No. 2

This is August–the month in which I wrote several poems for my dear friend, trying to cope with her dying, trying not to be scared for myself, trying to find courage. (See No. 1)


how do you live
when your life has been
reduced to dying?

where do you find
some shreds of joy
amidst the crying?

when is it time
to cut the bonds and
give up trying?

(Excerpted from Fine Black Lines: Reflections on Facing Cancer, Fear, and Loneliness (C) 1993, 2003 Lois Tschetter Hjelmstad)

More poems for Ann to come…


How Can We Be Loyal Friends?

I found a wonderful post about loyalty over at (click on Loyalty on the right side. Nancy talks about feeling the loss of a favorite baseball player being traded and most of us can relate. I certainly can. Just when I get to know a player and develop an attachment to him (because he is a hunk or some other noble reason), he gets traded and the next new best thing comes on board. I wonder if a bit more loyalty from the teams to their players and the fans might be more important than the bottom line. Maybe our loyalty to the players should be considered.  

And in Nancy's post, this brings up loyalty of friends when your like suddenly tanks. Sometimes–just when we really need friends because we have had bad news of one sort or another–some of our friends slip back into the woodwork. I've done it myself when one additional thing seems more than I can handle.

So–how can we be there for another person when our own coping mechanisms are low? How can we extend ourselves when we are hanging on by our fingernails? Can we learn to be empathetic without losing ourselves in the process?