Today I just wanted to say a few words about the perception of empathy.
Right now, my mother is in hospital. Her hospitalisation was sudden and unexpected but she is ok. I've checked. I've received an email from my father and my wife rang him later during the day.
I'm happily convinced that everything is fine and that for the immediate future her main priority should be rest.
She lives too far away for a "quick visit" and I haven't contacted her directly yet. Unless I hear of changes in her condition, I'm best off giving her time to heal.
No doubt once she comes out she'll rouse on me for not having gone to panic stations and talked to her directly. The thing is that I can't do anything and chances are that I'll end up calling during her nap time.
Does that make me less empathetic?
Some would say yes but I think that sometimes I put more thought into the physical well-being of people than I do towards self-serving information gathering exercises.
It doesn't mean that I'm not worried or that I don't care.
The perception of this empathy by others however is different altogether. Other people think that unless I'm waking her up and asking her how she is, then I don't care. She has doctors and nurses doing that already - and I've spoken to them. They're better qualified to give me a rundown on her condition.
Addendum: I wrote this post a few days ago but have been too busy to post it. I've since spoken to my mother a couple of times and she's home and getting better.