I have been overwhelmed lately by my friends crises. When I think about the things that others are facing tears come to my eyes. If only we could fix whatever we wanted. Sadly, life is not that way.
As we get older we have to face the reality of others traveling with us are also aging. With age come health issues. We cannot live forever. I know this and yet it still hurts to see those we care about struggling. I tried to express some of this in this poem.
I have loved this song since the first time I heard it. I have been blessed with people in my life who have held me up from my parents and family, to my husband and friends and my God. They have all been so patient through my struggles with anxiety and IBSD. The song always brings tears to my eyes remembering how their love has held me in the midst of trials. My life would not be the same without their presence. Some are gone now but their love is never gone. Others have filled in the spaces especially my children, grandchildren and wonderful friends.
This is a re-blog of something I wrote a while ago. It came up recently and so I thought it needed to be said again.
People can say stupid things. It is amazing to me that they don’t really think about what they are saying. When I ran a grief support group I heard some goodies.
You can have another baby (to someone who just had a miscarriage)
God needed another angel in heaven ( to someone who lost a child)
Your husband wouldn’t want you to be sad (to a new widow)
I’m sure things are better now (to someone whose wife died a few months ago)
God never gives us more than we can handle (to someone who lost two teenagers in an accident)
Everything will be alright (to someone diagnosed with a fatal illness)
Sometimes when we don’t know what to say we can fall into the trap of saying something stupid or offensive. We may not mean it that way but that is how it comes out. When people are going through tough times they don’t need to hear these kind of answers. They need to hear
Can I bring dinner by tomorrow?
I’m going to a movie tomorrow can I pick you up?
I am so sorry
I will call you soon (only if you really will)
Give a hug
Cry with them
Solid concrete help is what is needed. Only say what you mean. If you can help try to do something specific. Don’t just say “how can I help?” Instead ask if you can pick up children, run an errand, offer a day out. Each individual needs different things. You have to gauge what will help.
Most importantly offer compassion and love. Nothing is more needed. If you have suffered a similar loss you may understand better what they are going through but don’t assume it will be exactly the same. Just being there is critical. Don’t just say something…..do something!
I don’t know how many of you have good friends but I sure hope you do. A good friend, a lifetime friend is a treasure beyond compare. Most of us are blessed if there is one such person in our lives. Some people in our lives are friends and they may be kind a caring but they are still not the one who would back you up if the whole world was against you.
I have been thinking about this because three years ago in January I lost one of those friends. We knew the good and bad about each other and it didn’t matter. We didn’t live close for quite a while but on the phone it was as if we had seen each other the day before. Nothing ever changed the link we had with each other.
During her illness I was blessed to live close enough to help her and was with her when she faced her death. She was the kind of person who drew people to her and many mourned her passing. She, like me, was not perfect but she was my friend.
Following are some excerpts from Proverbs that have to do with a wife but they apply to her friendship with me also.
A good wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. 11 The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. 12 She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.
20 She opens her hands to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy.
25 Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. 26 She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
29 “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.”
Today I cleaned my office. Until today it has been impossible to even walk through it. Literally! I should have taken a photo that I could post. This room was used for storing and wrapping gifts and it got completely out of hand. It is so nice to look around and not see chaos.
Life has been reasonable this week and I am glad. Things seem so much more normal. (if there is such a thing) Sometimes settling into routine can be boring but at the moment a little boring is good.
Several bloggers have posted how difficult the season has been for them and I hope that things will get better for them. I have had my ups and downs but right now feels better. I will wallow in it for as long as it lasts.
We are heading into 2019 and I can remember wondering if I would still be around this far into the 21st century. That may seem strange to most of you but if you were born in the first half of the 20th century it is not strange at all. I can remember reading 1984 and thinking it was so far in the future. I remember all the predictions of the strides in gadgets for the future and I want to know why I don’t have a flying car! I was promised one and I am disappointed.
I don’t think anyone foresaw the leaps in communication. If i heard anything about the impact of the internet (before it appeared) I don’t remember it. When I think that my grandmother was born in the 19th century it is hard to believe all the changes.
I hope that as we head into a new year that younger people (than me) will make communicating over distances a way to bring us closer together without losing the importance of being able to physically touch someone. We are social beings who need touch. It is critical to our well being. Without it we can end up with attachment disorders that can make our life and the lives of those around us horrible. Humans need bonding. We can’t let that get away from us!
I know this kind of relationship is difficult for some and that might be attributed to their upbringing. I hope that in the new year you may each find your comfort zone with another person and be able to get a hug when you need one.
At last! Christmas is over for another year. I love it but it is also good to be done with the busyness. It is also good to have the days spent at the Mayo Clinic done and hopefully only one more visit before he is finished. As a nurse I have been so impressed with the patient centered care and the organization of everything there. Appointments of any kind are on time. When in the hospital you can order your own meals at any time, within certain hours, and the food is delicious. It is medicine as ideal as possible.
Now I feel that I can move into my “new normal” doing court mediations and supporting my friends who are struggling. Unlike many people with anxiety and depression I don’t do well staying home all the time. I have to get out and be with people. I still need my down time but somewhere there is a happy medium.
I slipped on my routine during this time and I know I have to maintain it or else. Tomorrow will be day one of routine maintenance. Back to morning quiet, meditation and writing. It is so easy to slip from routine and so easy to not go back to it. I thrive on routine and hate missing it. That may be part of the getting old (I really don’t consider myself old) thing… getting stuck in my own ways but it sure feels good.
I hope that everyone survived the holiday and will continue to do so through New Year’s. This season is so hard for many people and I wish everyone peace and joy. Remember…the light is coming.
Today I have been feeling stressed. I started obsessing about dec 18th through 21st when we have to go back to Mayo clinic for therapy for my husband. We have no one to keep the dogs and so if all works out will take my friend’s 27 ft, camper. It is a real luxury but easy to drive since it is not one of those ones that looks like a bus. It looks more like a truck and has all the bells and whistles that we need. She bought it recently and has not used it so we do have to check everything out and be sure it all works.
I can’t say that I am looking forward to those days with the dogs. I don’t know how two bassets will respond to the trip. However, bassets are not know for their energy but are know for their incessant talking. (read that as barking). I will also have no internet to blog unless I can find a hot spot.
I should take this as “time out of time” and relax into it but I haven’t wrapped my head around it yet. Maybe I will after we get the camper all set up. I can spend time reading and walking the dogs. If it is not cold I would love to walk them on the beach.
Today I began something new and it really helped me to back down off my anxiety. I watched “the great bell chant” on you tube and another video that taught how to use the bell. Since I have a bell from Tibetan monks I used that and found that the sound is very calming for me. Another tool in my tool chest. Something I will continue to work with.
I have been so good about my meditation, prayer and writing time and that has helped also. The place I have failed utterly is cleaning my office and my house in general. I don’t do well with cluttered space and usually my office is my “sacred space.” Right now it is filled with Christmas presents that need wrapping. Oh well. My mother used to say that I don’t have to worry that the elves will come and clean it for me and that after I rest or go out it will still be there for me to take care of. A very wise woman, my mother. She lived to be 95 and was wise ’til death. I hope I am that blessed.
Advent continues to slide toward Christmas. I have decided to live by the prayer I use each night before I sleep. Hope you enjoy this prayer as much as I do.
From “Night Prayer” in the New Zealand Prayer Book
it is night.
The night is for stillness.
Let us be still in the presence of God.
It is night after a long day.
What has been done has been done;
what has not been done has not been done;
let it be.
The night is dark.
Let our fears of the darkness of the world and of our own lives
rest in you.
The night is quiet.
Let the quietness of your peace enfold us,
all dear to us,
and all who have no peace.
The night heralds the dawn.
Let us look expectantly to a new day,