best transition ever: grandparenting
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I Can’t Do It

May 27, 2020 | by Natalie Caine | No Comments

“I need to be cheered forward,” the phone session caller shared with me. Continuing she added, “I was raised to always do what has to be done. Get it done.  I just can’t.  I hate this coronavirus. Can you help me?”

I wanted to reach through the phone and hug her, sit her on my sofa, add a blanket, Kleenex, and tea.  None of that is possible in Covid-19. Telling her I wanted to do that felt comforting.

These times bring up parts of us that we never met before.  Vulnerability. Awkwardness. Loneliness. Defeat. No control.  Actually, this is POSITIVE. We haven’t had support for the humanness we secretly feel. “Just get it done,” got too loud in our heads and there wasn’t the opportunity to feel the deeper pain that includes, “I just can’t do anything today.”  Change happens all throughout our lives. We need each other to help us see blind corners, as well as, to cheer us on in the moments of ease. Weep and celebrate. Over the decades of loving my work, I have learned from people I work with that they forget to celebrate. It is as if they need permission to feel good for something that they made happen.  It is not ego. It is happiness wanting to be acknowledged.

I have times during these days of Covid-19 where I just feel sad. Nothing happened. I just feel down, unnamed.  The mind always wants answers.  Sometimes I go on the hunt for what is this and why and other times, I just feel it and let it be what it is for now.  I know myself well enough to know that in the big picture of life, I am fine, and in the moment, what is being asked of me is probably to have a good cry.  Van Morrison or Andrea Bocelli can drop my tears when I am guarded.  Thank you to them. What music engages your heart?

In this time of shelter at home or safely re-entering the world, losses get triggered. “I can’t believe I have no way of being with her. I can’t handle the ache of wanting to be with her.  I just want to take a risk, pop on an airplane and get to her.” Those are the words I once said, years ago, when I wanted to be with my best friend who was in pain.

Many times, I have heard that longing from the brave people calling these past months. What can I do to help?  Each time, I remember, add a safe place for them to talk and talk and let them feel they are not alone.  I know this to be true for years and years,  and at times, I still want to fix the pain fast and get them what they want instantly, which is to be with their loved one who is far away.   So, I learn again, to hold opposites.  I cannot fix the pain and I can be present and real with them, always sending love over the phone that I hope they feel without my saying it. Asking if they want some suggestions of how to be with this unbearable pain.

I want someone to be with me that way when I cannot get it done and my inner pusher says, “just do it.”  I want me to be with me that way, listening and gentle, soothing, and offering some tools for coping.   This is hard stuff we are living. I am more than hopeful we will learn, grow, grieve, over and over, and find a different way in the outer world. Isn’t it comforting that we aren’t alone on this broken bridge?

Take extra good care,


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Natalie Caine, M.A.