When tragedy hits close to home

I got some really bad news the other day. One of my oldest and dearest friends has been diagnosed with a brain tumor. This is a wife, daughter, sister, and a mother of 2 minors. She is a wonderful, innocent, uncorrupted soul who cares deeply for her family and friends and I can confidently say that she would not hurt a fly. She found out about her predicament after suffering from headaches and loss of vision. Because of current virus stupidity/insanity she must wait who knows how long to get vision/life saving medical treatment, even though her state is very time sensitive. Her family is rightfully terrified as she is.

I am reluctant to offer anything to her or her husband, also one of my oldest and dearest friends, other than my heart felt sympathies. I am afraid that to preach courage and strength would be shallow and insensitive. After all, everyone has their own way to deal with their burdens and to offer any unsolicited advice or to speak of courage in face of their terror would not be helpful. But what I can do is wish them courage in my thought and prayers. Courage to fight and courage to be able to enjoy what time they have left together. Courage to make peace with the inevitable so they do not spend what time is left in paralyzing terror. I know this is near impossible as when it comes to matters of life and death even the bravest soil their pants. But in my impotence that is one of the very few things I can do.

I can also brace myself and face my own fear of losing my dear friend so that I am not paralyzed but can offer what help they need, if nothing else a kind word or a warm hug. In our quest to avoid pain, discomfort and fear we often tend to shut our eyes and ears to suffering of others. But the pain and suffering are a lot more tolerable when one has close friends to share it with. So then, my job in this tragedy is to be there and available, not to shy from pain but to be wholeheartedly available to take on whatever part of their pain they are willing to share. And I can only hope that that makes their burden slightly more bearable.  

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