Then there's my mom, who lives in this cloud of pain, and again I can do nothing but listen. And as she said, in one of her more philosophical moments, pain is like the wind ... nobody can see it, just its effects. So today, as a strong wind blows in from the west, I imagine pain - somewhere there's pain, and all I can do is hear it howl.
Actually, there are painkillers, and they do work - but the pain always comes back unless something gets fixed somewhere. My daughter's infection is now under control with antibiotics, but for my mom - her pain - and her fear - have become one and the older she gets, the more she's that vulnerable little girl who just didn't understand why there had to be so much wind - so much pain - in her world.
I suggested to her, during one visit, that she had to take the pain and bury it. She looked at me like I was nuts. So I told her to remember some happy moment from childhood. This she could do. She remembered a time when she was ten or eleven and her dad took her into Zhitomir, and he let her have a sip of his dark beer and that she wasn't to tell anyone. Pleasures are good, but forbidden pleasures are even better.
Pain as wind - I like that metaphor. And Stalin was the mean wolf who blew down the kulak's homes. He huffed and he puffed all this anger out at the kulaks. So what was his pain?
What made him into such a cruel leader? I read somewhere that after his first wife died he lost his humanity. Still, it's hard to imagine pain in a monster.