Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 79.djvu/371

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THE IMPORTANCE OF MENTAL PAIN

hear the deeper revelation: "One is misjudged," she says, "misunderstood, called unreasonable, when, if I could explain, it would be the other fellow," And how full of suggestion for all: "This life of inaction and repression is full of misery. It is only with the thought of putting yourself in her place, can one get any idea of the awfulness of living in a body that refuses to do anything for you." Ah! that thought of putting yourself in her—in any one's place. What a field of enlightening, constructive imagination is here, always. "I never dreamed of such a combination of conditions and circumstances of physical suffering for one to endure," she continues. Nor was the mere fact of personal suffering all; for she so regretfully adds, "I drink my cup of poison every day, and give a portion to every one around. It is awful to live and be such a disagreeable burden. I am like a lead sinker around—[her husband's] neck. It would be easier if I felt sick and weak; but I feel all the springs of life and energy to be and do." And how the realization of soul-body anguish deepens as one reads further; "People think I am comfortable when I am quiet; but I can not be anything else. I can not move an inch, no matter how cramped I am, or how things hurt. My suffering is constant and its name is legion." Yet, in spite of all this, note how characteristically it was to be added to: "Father [her father-in-law, a fine old man who had constantly, lovingly cared for her all the days, for years] has gone home [i. e., died] and left me adrift on a sea of helplessness and silence. I suffer for want of him every day. He had grown into knowing my needs as no one else could. He was hand, feet and tongue for me. It was a sore trial to him, but he was ever sweet and patient. He filled a large place in the house, and it seems very empty without him. His was unquestioning trust, child-like faith, and so free from criticism of others. He was a lesson to us all. Oh, we felt so sure to trust him." How satisfactory in every way, that so much of this letter is devoted to such an appropriate tribute to devoted efficiency and kindliness. "When you were here in May you asked me to write you a letter. I wanted to tell you there was one in the mill, but that it grinds slowly." This was probably two years or longer before surprise at receiving it came. Going back to an earlier portion of the letter, written probably about the time of the asking for it, she says: "I dread spring and summer. If every day were a zero-blizzard, conditions would be easier to bear. When all the world is alive and stirring, it is harder to hibernate. In my corner, tied hand and foot and tongue, I am like a rat in a trap—the only thing left to do is to squeal "—a pathetic bit of the native humor which when she was well had ever irradiated her whole life.

Finally, to show how clearly appreciative she was, how inwardly responsive to even such poor desultory effort as was doled out (too often when most convenient, one fears), and especially to suggest how if a