The Best Kind of Pain

by Katie Paul on April 22, 2014

 The Best Kind of Pain • short, sharp & over quickly • from

On the fourth anniversary of my husband’s death, my lover and I sat on the balcony watching lorikeets swoop from tree to tree. I smoked a cigarette.

‘I’m sorry you had to go though that,’ he said.

‘It’s okay,’ I said. ‘In the scheme of things, it was a the best kind of pain.’

‘What do you mean?’

‘Like when you’re a kid and you rip off a band aid. The pain is short and sharp, but it’s over quickly.’

It seems to me everyone encounters sad, painful and difficult things in their lives. No one is immune. But some pain is long and lingering.

A parent slowly fading away from dementia.

A cancer that grows again after it’s been cut out.

A child you have loved growing inside you, born blue and cold.

The pain that severed my life into two halves came without warning. I didn’t have time to consider alternative futures, or worry about how I would cope. I came face to face with the angel of death without the option of bargaining my way out.

The band aid was ripped from my skin four years ago. The red angry welt that was left has all but faded.

Now, I can go days, perhaps weeks, without remembering.

And that’s the best kind of pain.


{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Sharon Greenthal April 22, 2014 at 2:25 pm

I think you have a point. Watching someone suffer and then die is horrendous. Maybe quick and abrupt is best.


Katie Paul April 22, 2014 at 2:39 pm

I am thankful that life has so far been kind to me. Gratitude for the good is what keeps me going. Thank you for your thoughts Sharon x


Walker Thornton April 22, 2014 at 10:15 pm

Interesting point. I sat with my ex-husband as he died last year…long and slow process that was challenging. But at least everyone got to say their goodbyes–and in some ways that was good. Death isn’t easy any way you look at it, even when it might be a welcome release.


Katie Paul April 24, 2014 at 3:19 pm

I’m sorry for your sadness. You’re right – death is never easy. ♥


Carol Cassara April 23, 2014 at 12:09 am

I always wondered how my husband could remarry so quickly but learned that his wife’s long illness gave him plenty of time to suffer and grieve. He was ready for fresh air.


Katie Paul April 24, 2014 at 3:20 pm

Fresh air – how lovely that’s what you were x


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