THEY SAID IT
“I don’t know where my husband is,” Martha said sadly. “Ophelia and Sophie are gone. My grandchildren - I don’t know what they’re going to do. I don’t have any family here anymore. I’m alone now.”
The truth was that Martha’s husband had died a year ago. They were married over 70 years and she just couldn’t face it. Her sister Ophelia had died a few weeks prior, making Martha the lone survivor of ten siblings. Her daughter Sophie had recently passed of cancer.
The losses were piling up, and Martha was reeling.
I reminded Martha that her other two daughters visited regularly and that her grandchildren weren’t going anywhere, but she wasn’t having any of it.
“Well, I don’t know,” she said.
When painful things happen, it’s like getting punched in the gut – or worse. Another blow strikes, and then another. If the wounds are deep and frequent enough, we can freeze. The magnitude of loss can mess with our sense of reality. Fear takes over, and one of our greatest fears is being alone.
When our world begins to crack, we need people to be with us in our pain - who will accept us rather than push us. These safe people are our bridge back to reality, and when we’re ready we’ll walk across. But right now we’re emotionally devastated and need time to recover.
Physical injuries take time to heal well. Wounds of the heart often take even more. Let’s take a deep breath and be patient with others, and ourselves.
Gary Roe is a Chaplain eith Hospice Brazos Valley. Visit him on his website at www.garyroe.com