Monday, November 14, 2011

Standing Still

It was 9 years and 3 months ago that my husband and I were at Seattle Children's Hospital sitting in a room with various doctors, nurses, a social worker, and a chaplain. I soon discovered that if a chaplain is there, the news is seldom good. We were told that nothing more could be done for our youngest son. Based on their prior experience, the doctors told us that most infants who experienced a severe Grade IV intraventricular hemorrhage like our son usually died. In the gentlest way possible, we were advised to take our son home and enjoy what family time was left. Palliative care services would be provided to ensure that he was comfortable and in no pain.

After the meeting, my husband and I both numb and in shock decided that we needed to go somewhere, anywhere but home. We went to a little mall near the University of Washington. We had a mission: we needed to find a teddy bear for our son to be buried with. It was so surreal. College students were there doing last minute shopping. Other people were meeting for lunch. No one had any idea that the 30-something couple with the glazed look on their faces had just been told that their newborn son was dying. I remember thinking, "Our world is falling apart and everyone else is pressing on with their day." That one experience taught me how wrong it is to judge other people because we have no idea of all of the things going on in their lives. It also taught me the sometimes painful truth that life really does go on.

This past weekend reminded me of this. A friend who I don't get to see very often has had her world come to a standstill. She is grieving at the recent passing of her 20 year-old son whom she had to bury this weekend. I can only imagine that time is standing still for her. And I'm painfully aware that life moves along for everyone else around her. Yet I also know that when we take time out of our busy lives, when we stop and stand still with our grieving friends even for a few moments to give them help and comfort, that's what gives them the strength to eventually go on. We can't take away their pain, but we can provide help, a comforting presence, and hope.

I can't exactly say that my situation turned out all right, but our lives did move on. My son did beat the odds and he survived albeit with moderate disabilities. I'm grateful that he did not die and that I did not have to bury my child; but I have to say that we do grieve the loss of what could have been. Each year that grief becomes a little less but it never completely goes away. I also have to say that I am grateful for the people who took the time out of their busy lives in those early days to stand still with us - to bring us meals or to offer hugs, prayers and comforting words. And that is my prayer for everyone whose world has come to a standstill:

May the God of all strength and hope give you peace and comfort as you treasure your memories and continue on your journey. May God provide you with family and friends who lift you up and carry you for part of the way. Amen.

"Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn." Romans 12:15

1 comment:

  1. You are an amazing woman and I am blessed to have you in my life.



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