This is all part of growing up, I guess.
Let’s leave aside how the setup of Rin and then Kouki’s mom getting sick in the last two episodes of Usagi Drop was an excellent showcase of how good a couple Daikichi and Kouki’s mom make. True as that may be, it has nothing to do with why they helped one-another. They did so because they’re both good-natured, kind people who know how to take care of others, and who seize opportunities to help.
I was childish for seeing myself this way, but I haven’t thought of myself as a nice person. I’ve always had a bitter, calculating attitude about what I say to others when they’re in trouble. I’ve been withholding my sympathy or simply denying it to myself.
When some kind of natural disaster strikes, you wouldn’t see me praying or wishing well on twitter or facebook, and you wouldn’t see me rushing to donate money to some relief fund. I don’t see myself as charitable—I see myself as self-absorbed and callous. The kind of guy who lies and cheats to get what I want, who ignores the problems of others and worries about my own. Maybe this is all just running away. Or maybe, really, it’s that I feel like I can’t do anything in the first place, so this is how I cover it up. I say that I don’t care about donating to charity, but then it’s not like I’ve got any cash on-hand to begin with. When the people at the grocery store ask if I want to donate a dollar to whatever, I always say yes, so it’s not like I’m somehow opposed to charity.
None of that really matters anymore, because my way of thinking has changed.
About 5 days ago, my mom was hospitalized with what has now been identified as Stage 4 Burkitt’s Lymphoma (tl;dr: cancer). I’ve been in and out of the hospital all week along with my brothers, my dad, and, importantly, a whole ton of other people.
My dad felt it was important to make public what my mom was going through, so he’s talked about it on facebook and told others about it. At first, my attitude about sympathy, especially towards myself, lead me not to do the same. After all, none of the people I know online know who my mom is, so why go around making some sob story about my life? But I learned quickly how stupid and silly that idea is, which is why I’ve started sharing it now.
My dad has a boss whom he looks up to and gets along with in a way very similar to how I am with ghostlightning. My dad’s boss had cancer before and was told that he wouldn’t live for more than a month by one doctor, before another doctor told him there was a chance he could beat it—and he kicked its ass. To this day he’s out running triathlons and shit, so he’s kind of a badass. He advise my dad thusly: “tons of people are going to come and say, ‘can I do anything to help?’ Let them. The fact is, people like to help, and when you don’t let them, you’re just hurting their feelings.”
The idea that people help others because it makes them feel good is interesting, isn’t it? It can sound pessimistic if you put the wrong twist on it, but really, it’s pretty fucking awesome. “I love you because I love myself.” That’s a hell of a good way to live, if you ask me.
Had his boss not given him that advice, my dad knew he would’ve instinctively told everyone, “no, it’s fine, you don’t need to do anything.” Now both of us recognize how foolish that would’ve been.
Nevermind that all kinds of people have come to the hospital to hang out and chat and have fun (yes, FUN), but people have brought food and gifts; one of my dad’s friends came and mowed the lawn since we didn’t have time, being at the hospital for days; someone picked up my dad’s dry cleaning—it sounds a little funny, but it means he doesn’t have to leave my mom alone in the hospital, which is the last thing we want to happen. We want her surrounded by people and fun and kindness so that she won’t get scared, and will always keep positive.
I’ve met people my parents are friends with whom I’d never met before, and seen some that I hadn’t seen in years. This is awesome. These are cool people. This has been fun.
Wow. So that’s what it means, huh? This whole caring thing? This kindness thing? I never knew. Maybe because I’m just now an adult.
I probably could’ve selected from a whole bunch of anime that show people being nice to one-another, but Usagi Drop is a grown-up series that I think really shows what I’m talking about (and I happen to have just finished it). It’s a show wherein adults are shown to be helpful, kind folks—a lot of them, too. It’s not that Usagi Drop is optimistic, it’s just true to life. People are fucking great, they really are. It’s not like there’s nothing wrong with the characters in this show, nor with the people who are coming to visit my mom, but does that even matter? I fucking love all of them anyway.
And I love all of you, too, which is why I’m saying this now. Thank you so much for everything, whatever it is. If you ever need anything from me, just ask.
Other people are baffling sometimes aren’t they? ^ ^
I think I said my piece on your situation in a comment on my Twin Spica post; however, I actually do understand what you’re going through, and you sound like you’re handling it fantastically. Best of luck to you and your family. I don’t know you very well, but if you need anyone to talk to, just let me know.
Thank you for sharing. Again, best of luck.
Let me tell you, seeing how happy these people are to be there for my mom is something I wasn’t at all ready for. It’s beautiful.
Love you too, buddy. :) I left you a PM on Twitter.
I know what you mean about receiving sympathy from others, especially if you perceive them as not knowing you very well. It makes me… uncomfortable, I suppose. Like as if the mask slipped or something, given the avatars that we present to others on the internet I think this makes a measure of sense.
There’s not much I can say, really. Other than: hang in there, buddy.
Yeah, it’s like, do they care? Is it an automated pleasantry? But the more important question I’ve found is, does it matter either way? I think at the very least, people mean what they say. They don’t have to stop the world and feel sympathy for you for that sympathy to be real.
I loved reading this.
I too loved reading this. <3 Much love.
You’re not just an adult. You’re on your way to becoming a DECENT adult. Which is a high accomplishment indeed, given how casually callous we all tend to be at each other – or, haha, assume each other to be.
And Usagi Drop is so pure and goodhearted, it kind of gives you hope for the medium too.
Best wishes to your mother – er, that *wasn’t* a urmom joke, btw…
Not that I ever lost hope for the medium for even a moment. Thanks for the compliments and well wishes.
Found the intro a bit scary, like I was reading a description of myself accurate to the last detail. People’s sympathy eh? Yes, it exists but it seems to manifest itself only on certain occasions. Sometimes I think they do it out of guilt, to comfort their own conscience, the cases of those who do it honestly are less IMHO.
In the end, perhaps it doesn’t matter at all as you say, just take what you’re offered.
Good luck with your mother.
I think it springs up all the time. We just don’t take it seriously until we want to.
I was raised to be distrustful of strangers, of friends, of people outside my nuclear family. My parents’ upbringing turned me into a private, reclusive person, not wanting to get close to most people for fear of getting betrayed.
But I’ve learned. A lot of people are scumbags, so much that it’s hard to find genuinely good human beings in a sea of bad eggs. But kindness is such a nourishing water that it just disarms all my defenses. To this day I’m still trying to prove my parents wrong. I love humanity!
I hope things go well on your side.
You certainly do love humanity, I believe it! Thanks for the well wishes.
A wonderful, wonderful post. I think what’s currently going on with loved ones visiting also reflects this – your family must be quite awesome to be loved on so much.
Keep us updated – even if we don’t know your mom, we care. :)
Thanks. Knowing how religious feeling is real is a part of this as well :)
May your mother totally kick ass. I have an image of her prancing out of that hospital with a grin. That’s the most sincere way I can put it.
Digiboy, I feel a bit ashamed. A couple of months ago my grandmother was hospitalized with a bunch of shit (she lives with us), and was the opposite. Bacterial infection led to reduced eating, which led to other weird stuff, even a really bad impaction. It wasn’t like I said, “You don’t have to do anything,” to my family and friends helping out. I was like, “You don’t really care. You are just making yourselves feel better. Leave us alone.” I realize now that that was probably one of the most childish things I’ve ever done. Especially that I myself never really visited her all that often. Thank goodness nobody ever listens to me.
And, ha- I’m the inverted version of you, in that I do everything I can to be nice (in some sense artificially), but I’m really a self-centered, leave-me-the-hell-to-my-activities son of a bitch. I don’t hide that side of me or lie…um, lie all that much. Kind of like Shinkuro said to Murasaki. Guess it’s just another side. I don’t like it when I’m hurt, and most of the time I don’t like it when others are either. I grin, squint my eyes, and go all the way to make things easier for people. I mutter and metaphorically punch a wall later. It’s no way to live- I’m working on a compromise.
Every so often you need that jolt, just to figure who the hell is a part of you and how. Seeing the “yourself” in others and the “others” in yourself. I’ve even questioned my relationship with my own mother that way. It’s okay to doubt. But, man, is it beautiful when you have those moments of certainty.
You know, that “part of me” thing you said certainly isn’t a new concept, but it reminds me a lot of War and Peace; in one scene, a character’s wife dies and he decides to give everything he can for the son she left behind. If you can get through the philosophy rants, it’s a pretty awesome book to say you’ve read.
Damn. Well, in this respect, you’ve kicked my ass- and I’m older than you are. So there. You’re ahead of me. XD
I ought to have taken Usagi Drop more seriously. I mean, past the first ep. It’s now in the roster.
I think beating up on yourself means you know you’re going to move towards something better. Just as long as you do move and not mope over it standing still.
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The idea of one of my close family members becoming sick frightens me to no end. When my grandmother was paralyzed and in a nursing home I only really visited when it was somewhat unavoidable thanks to my parents. It’s not a situation I am the least bit comfortable with. Also I wasn’t super close to my grandma, but I worry about being able to take care of a loved one that I am close to. I suppose I just hope nothing happens before I become more secure in my feelings.
Anyway, please wish your mom good luck and to you too.
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