I’ve seen these words about beautiful people crop up lately and I truly appreciate what they say. It is this very concept that I’ve thought about for years – mine involves invisible capes.
We’ve all had friends or loved ones who have experienced traumatic loss or hardships. And as most of us know, issues like death or divorce or hardship are truly uncomfortable concepts. But there are those who really just don’t know how to process it at all. In turn, many times they shy away from supporting those in need of support for fear of saying the wrong thing or being uncomfortable. Or they put it on their list, and get busy and forget.
The remaining population, in my estimation, are usually members of the invisible cape club. They wear an invisible cape which they have earned from evolving through whatever loss or hardship they have endured . A cape that can only be detected by others who are wearing one. A cape that enables them to sense when someone might need support, and to know what to do and what to say (or at least be willing to take a shot at it). A cape that makes them nicer to the Walmart checker who accidentally overcharges them or the waiter with the late food, at least most of the time. A cape that makes them a little more human.
Not all who experience loss or hardship are lucky enough to get a cape. Only those who have learned from their hardships, evolved as humans, and deepened their compassion for the human condition. We all shut down after tragic events, it’s expected. But those who choose to make it all the way over to the other side get the cape.
They’ve put aside anger and resentment (and I know from experience that part isn’t always easy). And they’ve learned that each of us has a choice of what and how we want to be every minute of every day. And that there is no time like the present to make positive changes, or to write that letter or pick up the phone. Or volunteer for that committee they’ve been thinking about for years. Because life will always be busy and as a previous post of mine discussed, if it’s important, you make it happen. Plain and simple.
I’ve made a new friend who has a very sick sister who she may have to lose to Cancer soon. She has the cape and we talk the cape language. My niece who lost her mother at age 12 has a cape. My friend who lost her father has one, and my dad who lost his brother at a young age and then his own daughter has a big cape which offers me protection when I need it. Many of my friends who have suffered through painful divorces have capes. And my friend who lost his wife and whose children lost their mother to Cancer have them (the kids have junior capes for now but they are just as powerful).
Also my dear friend who suffers depression and my neighbor who lost her husband after years of suffering, but whose beautiful smile greets me each day. And my second Mom (my stepmom) who is one of the most selfless people I know who has herself experienced pain and loss. She is the epitomy of a card carrying cape member – a woman who sets aside her needs for others more times than I can count. Who forgives, who doesn’t get angry or feel sorry for herself – who is there for you when you need her before you knew you needed her. This is all part of the cape language.
Cape members can usually spot each other or at least recognize others of their kind when real conversations can take place. And once you experience cape language, it’s hard to go back to surface level conversation and falsities except in short doses. Afterall, we have to recharge our capes at some point.
Today I am ever so thankful for my cape. And I think I’m going to throw it in the wash more often and remind myself of its powers.