It is an odd word, P-A-I-N, four simple letters that form a word that has so many uses………….

You walk into a wall, careless of you, and it hurts enough to say “ouch!!”, or similar, and often with expletives. The feeling is one of pain, a physical, and very real hurt. Toothache, a headache or just a simple spot, can all cause a sensation that is PAIN. The most literal use of a word, something hurts and that is PAIN, end of story.

Is this as far as the word goes? is a plain literal meaning the end of things, are other types of hurt to be classed as pain?

In acute situations of loss a feeling of pain swamps the body all over. Sometimes a physical feeling of pain washes over the body causing actual spots of hurt. The growth of the pain feeling spreads from a centre, from where the heart is, however is this imagined or is it real? A person says that the heart is breaking, and the feeling of loss grows with the pain, real or imagined the hurt is actually there, wherever the pain is actually hurts.

The feeling of pain caused by a broken heart need not only be caused by the ending of something, like a relationship, it is caused by loss of a more long standing situation. If a relationship ends there remains a chance of reconciliation, or just a passing meeting of the other person, a glancing view. This view may open old wounds causing more PAIN, but, it remains a view and not a total loss.

What if the loss, and therefore the pain, is caused by a total loss? What if that loss does not allow for a passing view, what if the loss is caused by death?? The hurt, or pain may never fully go, a chance thought, or occurrence, makes the PAIN resurface and hurt all over again. What if the person who, tragically, died has a grave to visit, is that visit like a passing meeting? Whether a physical body is in the grave, or, after cremation and it is symbolic, does that place cause PAIN? The funeral, either elaborate or simple, is a day of remembrance, a day to reflect on the life of the person. This day causes pain, it will cause lots of pain, but, that is what the day is for? The dead person can feel no more physical pain, the body within the coffin is really only an empty vessel, a carcass devoid of a soul. Is the day really for the attendees, a day to soothe the PAIN and ease the way forward without the person. Can the funeral lead to an end of pain?

Is there other PAIN?

Illness causes very real pain, critical illnesses will cause physical pain as parts of the body are attacked by the illness. An illness that is now acute, end of life, will cause immense pain to the sufferer, and the watcher as well. The ill person can receive drugs to lessen the physical pain, the watcher, the carer trying to ease symptoms, cannot take drugs to end their pain, is this not another example of a physical pain for a person causing more distress pain for the watcher?

The pain analogy, again, real or imagined, exists for other situations. A favoured sportsman, or team, looses a match, this will cause PAIN. Failure at work or in exams will cause pain, often long lasting and deep, but it is still perceived as PAIN. And the list of situations continues.

So, PAIN, four small letters, in cases it remains a physical hurt, an actual, physical spot where the inflammation of nerves causes real pain. However, this is a very small use for a word that is used to signify so many situations. A word that encapsulates a multitude of feelings, of loss, despair or angst, all of these remain classed as PAIN as well.

A person experiences a physical hurt, however the feelings caused from a real action, to others causes P-A-I-N that often is long standing or never properly healed. A small word with long lasting, and touching, ramifications.

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