Mary H/ August 8, 2013/ Paul Brenner, MD, PhD

(Original Post from Dr. Brenner’s personal Blog, August 8, 2013)

A wish is a specific desire for something in the near or distant future.  When I was no more then nine years old ; my sister, Claire, a budding, fifteen year old actress, told me and acted out the story of the, ” The Monkeys Paw “.

In the story, a mother’s son is killed  by a train.  She is distraught by her loss.  One day, soon after his death, she meets an old merchant and tells him of her loss.  He searches  through his belongs and in front of the grieving mother, he unwraps an unusual object and says, “Here my dear lady is a monkey’s paw.  This monkey’s  paw grants the person who holds it three wishes. Would you want this my dear?”    “Of course, ” she responded.

She returns home and places the monkey’s paw on the mantle.  The next day she places the paw between her hands and and gently rubs it.   She  makes her first wish in the form of a prayer.  ” I wish to have my son alive dear God.”.  And then, within no more then a moment, continued,   ” I wish to have my son back home.”.   There was a knock at the front door and she runs to let her son in.  Looking down,  she sees blood streaming under the door.  Realizing that she has not wished for his health and wellness; without hesitation, she makes her third and final request: “I want my son dead.”.

I was reminded of this story recently during one of the Cancer Support Groups.  A young, distraught daughter wished that her mother, who has had a recurrent brain tumor and has had repeated surgery, radiation and chemotherapy for stage 4 cancer, would remain alive to see her wedding and first born child.   However, she never realized that her obsessive thoughts concerning the future was stealing the present moment with her mother and boyfriend and ultimately added to her suffering. The mother also had the identical wish, but neither one thought of the potential suffering that might occur in the time frame between the wish and its fulfillment.

The morale of the story:  Don’t wish for anything, because you never know what will come with it!!!!