Lately, I have been experiencing hot flashes…and it really is about time, given the fact that I am going to be 56 this year, and it was beginning to scare me that I hadn’t felt any symptoms of menopause. I was starting to look up to the sky and say, “Hey, did you forget me down here? …don’t need this anymore!” I had visions of being on the cover of the National Enquirer as the oldest living woman who still had periods. I could see the picture of me bent over with a cane, leaving Rite Aid with a box of Always Extras (possibly holding a half human half ant baby). I guess the message finally got through because in one fell swoop, the periods stopped and the hot flashes began!
We were raised as Catholics and whenever we got sick, and started complaining, my mother would say, “offer it up”. Somehow our suffering was supposed to benefit someone else…I can’t remember if we were “suffering for the suffering” ones, or for the newly departed who had possibly landed in Purgatory and were needing some bonus points to move up a level …but whoever or whatever the offerings were for, I don’t think they got much help from my pain.
The other day, in the middle of a whopper of a hot flash, the words of my mother came rolling back to me …like a 50-year-old echo….”offer it up”…and I, for the first time, thought, “If someone, somewhere in this world is cold, I wish I could send them some of this heat.” I meant it. I kept doing it with every hot flash. I have no idea if this “prayer” is helping someone else. I do know that my feeling about the hot flashes has changed dramatically. I do not dread them…so what if I am hot? When I am, I send my love and my warm thoughts out to the world , I remember how good my life really is, and I feel better…maybe my mother was wiser than I thought.