Although my life was/is one of much suffering, I never, even one time, suspected that my pain was brought to me as the result of an enemy (I do have them) casting an evil spell on me or that at the darkest moment of a witching hour the enemy had cursed me to forever live in pain. Spells and curses are things I leave to people who believe in them.
The fact that my back was broken and vertebrae fused almost 23 years ago in a construction accident ascertains the chronic pain I feel 24-7 will be with me until my dying day. But because I’m walking, swimming, jumping, skipping and so much more, I do not cry, I remind myself often that at St. Vincent’s Hospital there are people, some older and some younger than myself who were not as fortunate as I was when bad luck came a-calling and who live there now in need of round-the-clock care. I offer prayers of encouragement for them and prayers of thanksgiving that my accident did not remove me from my place in my family circle.
“Pain”, what an ugly four-letter word. It saddens me when I meet people who cannot cope with it. Their experiences of life did not equip them to suffer with dignity. It can be done, you know. I have a friend, Barbara, who lives in the New Liskeard Hospital. Barbara has been living at the hospital for 4 or 5 years now. Her body has been ravaged by diabetes. She needs to be connected to a dialysis machine 3 times a week. She has undergone amputations. Pain never allows her proper rest. Yet, I have never heard Barbara complain about her lot in life.
Barbara is ready to give counsel. She searches her heart and finds encouraging words to give hope to others who are suffering not even half as much as she is. She is jolly, and that special wit and humour of the Anishinabe Kwe is intact in her mind and is resonating in her spirit. Barbara is precious. Drop her a card, she’d be happy to hear from you. I know I will never be anywhere near as strong as she is.
If you are in pain, please know that you are not alone in your suffering. Many people care about you. Folks you have never even met, but yet, because they know you exist, offer prayers and sing encouragement songs for you and all peoples and things who are in pain. Offer your pain to Kichi Manido (God) so it will be as a medicine for a troubled youngster who is contemplating suicide somewhere in Canada. The youngster will find the strength to carry on because of your offering. At the very least, you will feel that your suffering is not in vain. Our way as Indigenous Peoples is to stand next to one who suffers, spiritually, and pray for peace and healing for them. Never feel alone, because you are not.
Keep the Circle Strong,
Albert “South Wind” Dumont
Copyright Albert Dumont. All rights reserved. Nothing may be copied without the written permission of the author.