Mixed feelings

Mixed feelings

I started writing this on 11 November, the day the Armistice was signed which brought the end to the First World War.  After millions of human beings, note the term, human beings, were killed, maimed, disfigured and mentally scarred.  For what?  A home fit for heroes?  Most went back to the same poverty they’d left when they’d joined up to protect their country from the enemies they’d been told they had.  

However, this isn’t about politics, this is about mixed feelings felt by the individual.  

The mixed feelings people have when they remember those who have died in war.  The First World War, the Second World War, Vietnam, Iraq, Israel, Egypt, Yemen, the list could go on.  And on.  And on.  The mixed feelings people have when they think about why people went to war and died.  The relief that people feel when they heard the loved one had died quickly.  The regret.  The anger at the waste.  The loss of someone you loved, knew, cared about.  All of that.  The relief when that person comes back apparently unharmed.  It needs to be remembered that the wounds might be hidden, sometimes for years.  We call it PTSD…

Then you have people having mixed feelings at a personal level.  When their Mum dies, or their Dad dies.  Or a friend you cared about lost a battle against an unwelcome ‘guest’ – liver cancer <here>  (Semper Fidelis, Bill.)  I find it with everyone I know, the mixed feelings they have when someone they love, or have known for what might be decades, is dying or suffering a lingering illness.  They love, care, respect them to the extent that they don’t want them to suffer.  They love, care, respect them to the extent that they want them to stay.  To remain and make them laugh.  To allow them to care.  To remain and continue to make them whole.  To complete, maintain the balance of their world.  

Then the person dies.  

It leaves those left behind feeling guilty that they wanted them to go and go quickly, with no pain, because although the body was there, the soul, the essence as it were, is no longer present.  And that’s where the mixed feelings come in.  Relief that the suffering is over;  anger at the person dying before you were ready to let them go;  guilt at wanting them to go because them staying was causing them physical and mental pain.  

Mixed feelings, eh?  Such a pain.  Such a load of confusion.  Such a maelstrom of emotions.  Good.  Bad.  Never indifferent.  

So very human.  

J J Mitchell

‘Never leave anyone behind’ 

A strange form of intimacy

A strange form of intimacy

An interesting week just gone. Had to have some fairly intensive dental treatment, part of a campaign to sort out things various that have developed over the years. Ah, well, so it goes…

Anyway, imagine if you will, there I am, laid out flat, a team comprising the dental surgeon, his assist and the attendant, gowned up, and doing their thing in a highly professional way. You hear the murmuring of the surgeon as he directs the team, quiet, authoritative, and enabling. Nice word that, enabling. There is trust developed by self-confidence and knowledge that the training and communication are effective. And there I am, gob open, with anaesthetic puncture wounds, unmoving, totally at their command – and conscious. I’m allowing people to control me and come into my space in a way that in other circumstances would be intimate and uncomfortable. That it is why I call it a strange form of intimacy.  Consider heart surgeons for example, that really is quite intimate when you come to think about it.  Let’s just not talk about proctologists, eh?   

Like all writers, I began thinking vague thoughts about where I was, the feelings I was experiencing and what could be used in the book I’m writing, The Kold Kronicles, Book 2:  Defiance. Y’know, the things you do when you’re totally at the mercy of someone else when they’re doing their job. Thinking also passes the time, something we writers do, sometimes for too long. However I digress.  I can’t move until I’m told to turn my head this way or that, directions gently spoken but not to be ignored, he has the needle and / or drill after all…  My respect for the dental surgeon increases as I listen to how he controls the operation, a tad involved and in some areas quite challenging. I think to myself, ‘he’d make a great pilot,’ based on my experience of having flown helicopters on the North Sea for ten years plus. It was the ease of a co-ordinated team, with similar professional belief systems, practised techniques and clear communication that impressed.  At the end of the operation, the stitches were in, my mouth still a tad numb, but the work had been done well.  

So why the heading for this particular blog? Well, for a start I’m feeling somewhat philosophical. I’m also aware that we’re in a world where we have a strange form of intimacy with people in power, be it financial, political or those aiming to achieve power in these areas. It is an intimacy that we have never had in the past to the degree we’re experiencing now. The problem is, I find, that the intimacy we imagine we have may not necessarily be the reality. When one considers where our information is coming from and the vested interests involved, be they traditional or social media, perhaps this intimacy to which we are subjected is merely a chimera. Something drummed up by those who wish us to act in ways that benefit the few to the detriment of the many, i.e. you and me.  

It is a strange form of intimacy in that we think we know the people involved, their ‘crookedness’, their boorish behaviours, but in reality all we’re seeing is a show that people want us to see. It is not intimacy, it is a show and that’s all.  How we see through it, how we act like adults and remain part of humanity, decide whether we allow this strange form of intimacy to cloud our rational thinking.  

The choice is ours.

J J Mitchell

‘Never leave anyone behind…’