Wednesday, April 29, 2009

privacy, dignity, and information

Those who've begun reading this blog only recently are probably here because they've been told that this is Update Central-- this is where the latest information on my mother's health and treatment can be found. And that's proper: I myself have been encouraging people to follow the blog for updates, because the blizzard of emails during the first week of this crisis made it difficult for me to respond to everyone in a timely manner. Many of those emails contained essentially the same questions and remarks-- another reason for me to use the blog as a podium instead of endlessly repeating myself in individual emails.

I also felt that the blog format, which already resembles a diary without actually being one, seemed a bit more human than a form letter beginning with a sterile "Dear Sir or Madam." Journal entries strike me as more personal, less stiff; I can address you as "Dear Reader" without knowing who you are, and you can see yourself as having been invited into our family's story, wherever it leads us.

But I can't invite you too far inside, as you surely know. Mom has taken only the first few steps on her very own via dolorosa, and as was true for that ancient path of suffering, indications are that this journey will not end well, either for Mom or for those who love her.

Because Mom's suffering will take its toll both on her and on us, there is much about this story that I won't reveal here. For that reason, this blog can't be thought of as a journal in the truest sense, for it will never be an expression of our deepest, most private thoughts. At best, all I can promise you, Dear Reader, is a series of highlights, not the internal reality. Those among you who have undergone similar trials will have some idea what all this means, what its stages are, what it's like for hope to soar and plunge. Others will simply have to guess. I will do my best to make guessing easy, to open the door a little way, but beyond that, I will have to ask your forgiveness if I gloss over certain matters for the sake of our privacy and Mom's dignity. I recently expressed my dilemma to a friend this way:

My instinct is simultaneously to curl up in a ball and remove myself from all human interaction, and to write about every little detail in an effort to blow off steam. Obviously, I can do neither.

I hope you understand where I'm coming from. I ask your pardon in advance; readers are still free to write me, but as I think I've mentioned elsewhere, please be sure to read the blog entries from April 16 onward before asking questions that may already have been answered.


1 comment:

Elisson said...

Kevin, our thoughts and prayers are with your Mom, you, and your family for a speedy and complete recovery... and, at the very least, a minimum of discomfort.

When my mother fell ill some 21-odd years ago, we didn't have Mondo Electronico with which to disseminate news and express our thoughts, hopes and feelings. As far as what you choose to share with family, friends, and readers on this site, that's entirely up to you (of course). I'm sure you will find the appropriate balance between getting things off your chest, keeping people informed, and not compromising family privacy.

God be with you, my friend.