A Time of Grief


Cancer  is no respecter of persons.  It doesn’t matter what your social status is, how many friends you have,  or what religion you are. Cancer  isn’t prejudiced against age or race.

As a wordsmith,  I usually don’t have a loss for words.  I  have an opinion to express, thoughts on any given topic, and sagacious witticism to lighten a mood. But not in this.

What do you say to  your family member that is writhing in the hospital bed while on the morphine drip? What  can be said to comfort the surviving family watching the inevitable end approach and helpless to do anything to stop it or help?

For anyone that feels they are in control of their life, you’re not. All the power of positive thinking in the world will not change the inevitable end result.

I lost my father  rather quickly several years ago.  He was happy and laughing one day, then didn’t wake up the next.  Of all the ways to go we could only hope for that. My mother was a different matter, we watched a steady decline as her heart failed her.  Nine months of hell with trips back  and forth to the hospital resulting in a stay in a rehabilitation center from which she never returned home. Now I  watch another family member fight as cancer steals his life from him – helpless to do anything to stop it.

I absolutely understand why there are support groups for survivors of cancer, and surviving family members. It’s a horrible disease. It’s cruel, unjust, debilitating, and painful.  I don’t think I’ve ever felt so helpless in my entire life as  watching as cancer has slowly, painfully destroyed another life has made me feel.

I’ve never liked hospitals.  Most of the time though you can say something to offer hope; something  to  encourage the patient and the  family. So I mostly sit and be there, squeezing a hand, offering a hug,  not having a clue as to anything useful to say.

These are the days that remind us we are never truly in control. These are the days that can make or break your faith, your mind, your sense of trust.  These are the days that will test your every fiber  as to whether you stand or fall by the wayside.

I would ask each of you to make a difference today.  Tell someone you love them. Help them with their groceries,  hold open a door, assist an elderly veteran,  offer a smile to the cashier.  Every one of us needs a little sunshine in our life, and  a hand up at times.  Be that hand up so that when it’s  your turn someone will extend a hand to you.

Be a true friend when your friends are down.  Be the light in a dark world when opportunity opens that door. Trust me,  when staring into the pitch black, even the most optimistic person needs a light.



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