It appears that we have a sort of sickness floating through our house. I continue to be grateful our family is not full of pukers, because vomit – and the smell associated with vomit – is the worst. BUT, so far three of the four kids have a high fever and yours truly woke up in the middle of the night with a migraine.
Life must go on.
I came out of the bedroom this morning to see that one of the kids had crept onto the sofa last night for sleeping and our miniature poodle, Penny, was curled up on her lap.
It makes me smile because two months ago, when my husband had double knee surgery, you know where Penny could be found? Right next to him, snuggling her body against his.
She has a radar in her body that senses when someone is wounded in some way and she just heads right over to that person to sink into them, offering comfort from a sweet willingness to sit with them.
I’ve seen her do it with physical as well as emotional hurts and it’s just amazing to me.
Grief. It’s invisible but it can be debilitating.
Because it can’t be seen, oftentimes it’s easy to overlook or discount. People, not trying to be harsh, say, “Aren’t you feeling better yet?”
And the answer is yes, sometimes I am feeling better. And also, no, I’m not feeling better at all. Other times I feel guilty for laughing out loud, or silenced, incapable of speaking because if I say a word the dam holding my life together will break and I will lose pieces of me in the rush of emotion that floods out.
I lost my dad five years ago and some days I cry in the shower with the depth of missing him. Other times I can laugh out loud at the memories of his antics and phrases. Time truly does heal wounds, but I don’t hold an expectation I will ever be “past” the pain of loss.
I have a friend who was widowed and she posted this on her wall:
I believe the grief from losing a dream can be just as powerful as the grief from losing a person, just in a different way. The dreams give us a security and hope, and when they are gone… or changed, it affects us deeply.
The reason my dog can be such a comfort to emotional pain is because she doesn’t distinguish or judge between what she thinks is an appropriate hurt – she recognizes the need in her people and does everything in her ability to meet it with the simple act of presence.
Sit with Me
I believe that the greatest gift we can give another who is grieving is the willingness to simply sit with them. To not shy away from the emotion, or refuse to speak about it because we don’t want to make them uncomfortable. The person grieving… they haven’t forgotten, even if they’re laughing. They’re living with their grief every moment.
Offering a nonjudgemental space for our friend to rest, a shared tear when the occasion warrants, the loyalty that says that we choose the other person even when we don’t understand their pain intimately… these are great gifts. This offering is healing and beautiful.
This life is full of ways to get nicked and knocked around. We’re surrounded by bruised and aching people, as well as people who have such joy and passion it’s inspirational!
What are you offering to the people around you today? Are you allowing people to minister to your broken pieces?
I’ll be over here with a thermometer and the BRAT diet in our house today, but tomorrow? Who knows what tomorrow holds?! The potential is exhilarating!