Several weeks ago, Dawn Longenecker, who supervises the Disciples House interns, asked me to come in mid January to do a presentation for the interns. I felt I needed to let her know there would be some uncertainty about my future capabilities. She, of course, expressed her concern and caring. Several days ago, she wrote me an email about some unrelated issue and then wrote, “I continue to be stunned about the news about your health.” “Stunned!” That word expresses what I would like to hear from people. It’s what I feel is often missing in others’ reactions; it’s why I was so grateful for Carol’s and my children’s responses.
Intellectually, of course, I know my expectations are not only silly but unfair. I can’t expect other people to have any particular reaction, to find the exact word I’d like, or to express it immediately … or ever. I know how deeply they care for me and how little the form of their reaction has to do with their love and concern. Nevertheless, my emotional sense of incompleteness from others’ reactions has been part of the swirling mix of feelings as I try to accept this new reality.