08 February 2015

Do we ever really know how someone feels?

When I was growing up, our family visited my mother's parents every Saturday afternoon. We'd do the grocery shopping together in the morning, come home for lunch, and then set out for the long drive across Sydney. This was the routine but the detail of those afternoon visits often varied, depending on who else was there.



One incident, in particular, stays in my memory. I was sitting next to my grandmother on the couch and she was recounting a story of something that had happened during the week. Even though I can't recall the details now, I do know that it was amusing and made us all laugh.

'Oh, you're so funny, Nana,' I said, laughing along with everyone else. She looked at me, smiled and continued with her yarn.

It was only later in the day I overheard her talking to my aunt about what I had said. 'I'm in such pain and I don't feel at all well,' she said. Yet she could still entertain us with a funny story.

That was the first time I realised that the way a person acts on the outside isn't always the way they feel on the inside - an important lesson for me (and for us all). 

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