Monday, June 4, 2007

Learning to Cope with a Not On-Purpose from Oprah's Guests

Some great news about Bama
Today one of the vets told me with a wide smile that Bama looked "awesome!" when they changed her bandages today. Also, she's getting feisty again. Shoving pills down her throat is becoming a huge challenge--much different from when I first started doing so. At that point, she was pretty much "whatever." Now I'm beginning to think she's a reincarnated wizard. I'm even trying to disguise the pills with her food. I'll think I have it down her throat, and then I turn around for minute. Surprise! There's a grungy looking pill stuck somewhere on her e-collar! It's all good, though. I would much rather have her acting like the old Bama, even though it's not as convenient.

Coping with a Not On Purpose
As you can imagine, what happened to Bama burdened me with incredible guilt. If only, if only, if only. I've compartmentalized the guilt as I've tried to make decisions and care for Bama, but it's still there.

I happened to catch Oprah last Friday when guests were discussing life lessons. A grandmother talked about the horror of accidentally running over and killing her grandchild with her SUV. (The person I bought my van from promised to get me sensors since he had misled me that the model I was getting already had them, but once he sold me the car, he never followed through. I wonder if those sensors would have warned me that Bama was dangling behind my van.) Another woman talked about how she fell asleep while driving and three of her six children were killed. It was agonizing to hear their pain. I am so grateful that Bama is improving. This mother and grandmother had no way to bring their loved ones back.

Dr. Robin Smith gave wise counsel regarding the false guilt we experience when we have a not on-purpose. She said letting go of the guilt would be giving ourselves a "get-out-of-jail free card." We punish ourselves, somehow believing that doing so will chip away at the pain and loss that happened from the accident. Not so. We must allow (not forgive, which implies that we did something wrong) ourselves to be human. You can read more of Dr. Smith's comments at the link I've provided above. ( )

When I first e-mailed people about what happened to Bama, some of my friends replied with stories of their own experiences with a not on-purpose. It was incredibly difficult to admit to people what I had done. In fact, when strangers ask me what happened to Bama when they see her covered in bandages. I usually reply "Car." Most of them will create their own story with that much information and not ask me any more questions. However, I realize from the responses of my friends who are burdened by false guilt in their lives that is important for me to share this experience. That is one of the primary reasons I have made this blog public.

The reality is that we are out of control with much of what happens in our lives, as much as we would like to believe otherwise. I think guilt over a not on-purpose is one of the ways we convince ourselves that we are somehow omnipotent. I have inattentive ADD, and my life is full of brain glitches that lead to a not on-purpose. This program helped me realize that instead of dragging a ball and chain of guilt around with me, I need to accept my humanity and move forward to bring as much good as possible from tragedy. I appreciate the courage of that mom and grandmother for helping me learn this important lesson. They have certainly brought good into my life by sharing their stories.

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