My Beloved Fiance and her daughters had a major meltdown last night. The proximate cause was missing towels. We were looking for kitchen and bath towels, and there were none to be found. Beloved went into Daughters' room. As usual, it was a mess. It looked like a bomb had gone off inside of a Gap store. She immediately spotted several bath and kitchen towels.
We got a couple of trash bags, the big outdoor kind, and scooped up two bags of clothes, shoes, and other misc. items off the floor. Then we waited for the Daughters to come home. There was a giant uproar when they got back. Yelling, cursing, and crying ensued. Daughters were chastised for taking things and not returning them. Daughters were chastised for the lamentable state of their room.
Younger Daughter took it fairly well. Older Daughter did not. There was a long exchange between Beloved and Older. They were both upset, angry and hurt. From what I saw, they were talking (and yelling) past each other, not to each other. At one point, when Older was declaiming how her life has been turned upside down by her mother's choice to move her household in with my household, I inserted myself. I told Older that I was sorry she's having to deal with all these things. Change is hard. Living with Middle Son is very hard. It's not what she wanted, it's not fair, she doesn't deserve it, but she's stuck with it, and that sucks.
Eventually everyone ran out of steam. The Daughters retreated to their room. I sat with Beloved. We talked. There was something I wanted to say, but I couldn't quite figure how to say it. I told her that. I went off to take care of Middle Son for a few minutes.
When I came back, I knew how to say it. I told her that one of the hardest things in life is meeting someone else where they are, rather than where you want them to be, or where you expect them to be, or even where you need them to be. In that moment neither Beloved nor Older were able to meet the other where they were.
In that gap lies pain and suffering.