Wednesday, May 25, 2016
This afternoon, I sat in the hospital listening to a dad who lost his infant son the day before. With tears streaming down his face, he looked at me and said, " I never knew how hollow words could be until now." The mother of this same sweet baby looked at me with wide eyes and said, "WHY would you CHOOSE to be back here with me and relive this Hell? I don't understand." As a bereavement doula I have had the sacred privilege of standing in the space where birth and death meet. It is an uncomfortable place. As a society, we shy away from the uncomfortable or we over compensate with meaningless words. In the last two days, I have had several people ask me why I CHOOSE to sit there, in that uncomfortable place.
I gave whatever answer came to my mind but as I have processed the last couple of days, I have given it much more thought. Isaac and Asher taught me a lot. They have changed my whole world, and it is true that I want to be able to walk with families and help them as they navigate such difficult circumstances, but truthfully, I think society needs an overhaul on how we view grief and it is my hope to help facilitate that change.
As a society we are very uncomfortable with death. We see someone suffer and we want to fix it. We want to make it better and make them better, and as a result we rush people through their grief. We want to see them happy again so we push them along sometimes kicking and screaming and encourage them to "move on" and "get over it".
In the Jewish culture, when a close relative dies, they practice a tradition called "sitting Shiva". Shiva is a seven day period where the bereaved are expected to do nothing but grieve. People visit and sit with them, not to talk or offer platitudes but to just be, in that grieving place with them. No rushing, no blaming, no moving on no attempts at fixing anything...just sitting with the heavy grief and honoring the memory of the loved one. I believe they got grieving right.
It is hard to enter into someones suffering and just sit there with them. It is uncomfortable and awkward and we screw it up with our hollow words and empty promises. When we are able to move past offering solutions and move toward offering our very selves, we are becoming more Christ-Like. When we draw near to the broken hearted and offer our whole self to enter in and share their suffering, we are acting much like God did through Jesus. My hope is to maybe be an example of God's love for us and love others with that same love, to comfort others with the comfort I've been given through Him. Maybe through me, they can feel the nearness of God. That is my prayer as I walk into every hospital room I enter.
Posted by boltefamily at 10:21 PM