Thursday, August 28, 2014

Unable to Find the Right Words

This past week (and especially the last couple of days) have been a little strange for me. I've found myself speechless more often than not for a multitude of reasons. The two biggest reasons have something in common -- the potential loss of a parent.

A few days ago, the mother of one of my oldest friends had a hemorrhagic stroke and today the doctors said she was brain dead. Right now the family is waiting for guidance (and/or a miracle) to make the decision on whether or not to "pull the plug." At the same time, the father of another good friend is not doing too well (he has a brain tumor that can't be treated with chemotherapy) and he may have days to live. I've found myself not being able to come up with anything to say other than they're in my prayers (which they are) and that I'm there for them (which I am). I've been in their shoes before but I find myself unable to say the right words.

Are there any right words to say in these types of situations? I had some incredible friends who knew the right things to say 5 years ago while my father was living his last weeks. Other friends gave me my space and I suspect some of them did it because they (like me, right now) didn't know what to say. I feel like everyone says the same thing (or are more eloquent) so all I can say is what I've already mentioned ("you're in my prayers", "call/text me if you need me.")

I know myself well enough to know that if I speak exactly what I feel, I'm going to end up sobbing or making them (unintentionally) cry. I feel things very deeply and I'm sensitive to seeing others in any type of pain. If you don't believe me, read the article I wrote for Envoy Magazine about my experience with my father's death; I've never had so many grown men tell me that my words made them tear up. I'm actually sitting here, trying not to tear up as I type this out. Just knowing that my friends are going through one of the most difficult things (losing a parent) is hard.

I don't live close enough to my friends to be able to physically be there for them. If I could, I would be there, at the hospitals or helping in any way that I could. They're in my heart and on my mind all day. They're in my prayers and in the prayers of my friends whom they don't know. I still hope and pray for miracles but I don't know what else to do. Why don't I feel like that's enough? Before my father's death, I didn't have much experience in this field... and I still haven't had much since. I'm at a loss of what to do. I'm just "typing out loud" at this point.

Can y'all please pray for both of them and their families? I may be unable to find the right words to say but I can, at least, help spread the news so that we can all storm heaven with prayers.

That's it for now. Sorry this post is kind of a bummer but this is what's been on my mind lately.

As always, thanks for reading and God bless. :D


Stephen said...

Death, loss of a family member, the pain of a loved one that our friends go through is hard. Sometimes God gives me the right words; sometimes all I can do is say, "I'm so sorry. You are in my prayers."

Distance can make it even harder. Again, thoughts and prayers do help, even if it feels so inadequate at times (most of the time!). I've gone to the church to pray for friends and family when this has happened and I couldn't be there. Also, while it's easy to send an email and/or text, I find that taking the extra time to either call or write a letter can be more impactful. I think the biggest thing is letting our friends (and family) know that we are thinking and praying with them - especially when distance separates us.

But yes, it is very difficult at a time like this. All we can do is pray them into health or into heaven, as God wills.

My prayers for you and your friends during this difficult time in their lives. said...

What a tough time friend.

I haven't experienced the loss of a parent yet thankfully, but in other losses I've found that sometimes it helps to offer a simple "I've been there and I know what you're going through if you ever have questions or just want someone to listen." But of course you have to know yourself well enough to gage if you're emotionally available enough for listening when dealing with something so triggering for your own grief.

Absolutely praying for your friends and their families...and for you.

Unknown said...

Just being there -- even there in the larger sense of not leaving them to deal with the aftermath alone once the initial storm & the busy first days are over, even if you can't be there in person -- is probably enough in it's own way. I remember how many friends I lost after my mother passed suddenly (a series of strokes) when I was 25 because they didn't understand how to deal with it; they would gather around someone who had lost a job, but couldn't fathom that sort of loss.

As someone who had to do the on-off part-time college thing myself to help take care of my father, then take off entirely for my mother's last days and the time with my father's initial widowing, I hope that you don't take it the wrong way that I take some heart in reading another peer's experience with the same sort of things -- even down to being the one to work friends (or lapsed friends) through what I had gone through. Now on-offing my way through grad school at the cusp of 35 while caring for a deteriorating father at his cusp of 80, I have to question both of our futures (I realize how I've lost the "dating years" of my life to being a caretaker and am coming to terms with the physical effects of years of caretaking and the knowledge that I'll be without a child or spouse to care for me when I get to that age...)

We always hear about Carrying Our Cross -- some get to multitask in the Stations. It seems from what you write that you're ready to play whichever role is needed. God Bless!