Imagine you are at your best friend’s wedding.  The ceremony has ended and the reception just begun when a trivial matter comes between the two of you.  You end up in an explosive fight, and she is so upset that she rushes out of her own reception.  She drives away, tears impairing her vision, and has a fiery car crash in which she is killed.

Imagine the pain you would be in.  The shame over ruining her wedding day.  The guilt over her death that is seemingly your fault.  The anger that you can’t go back and apologize.  Imagine those images playing over and over in your mind.

Now imagine that you feel this pain, this shame and guilt and anger, every time you think or say or do anything wrong.  Imagine that every minor mistake and every real or perceived criticism triggers gut-wrenching sobs.  You cry so long and so hard that you vomit.  Your nose gets so congested you can’t breathe.  Your heart physically aches.

Imagine being in this much pain on a regular basis for days, months, years, decades.  Imagine that you barely remember the time before this pain.  Sometimes it abates, maybe even for months, but the pain always returns.  It is the one part of life you can always count on.

I wish Sadie could feel this pain just once.  I wish she could know that I would never choose to stay in pain if I could find my way out of it.  No amount of caretaking by others would be worth prolonging such a horrible feeling.