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Sunday, December 9, 2007

On Death

This is that time of the year that can be depressing. I go back and forth from having a blast with silly Christmas carols like "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" to being very depressed.

Here is one of the reasons. My mother died the day after Thanksgiving about ten years ago. The miracle we wanted didn't come. At least not the way we were praying. Her birthday was December 14th. A very good friend of mine died December 16 two years ago, and he was very young. He was like a brother to me. So Christmas is depressing.

While my mother was in the hospital dying I learned everything I know about comforting others through Dr. Villarreal. Dr. V, as he is called, was a counselor from our church. He was with us almost every night. He did not offer
clich├ęs. Sometimes he prayed. Sometimes he didn't. All the time he sat. He sat with us quietly. He waited. He waited without offering pat answers.

I'm thankful for Dr. V. When people offered answers or said, "She's in a better place," I wanted to smack 'em. That's the truth. You can tell me I'm a bad Christian. That's OK...I'm not sure I ever claimed to be a good one. Dr. V. was there with us.

So here is everything I know about caring for people in the hospital or maybe while they are grieving, and I learned it from Dr. V.:
  • Don't offer pat answers.
  • Learn how to be silent.
  • Sit and wait.
  • Be sensitive to others and the Holy Spirit.
  • Sit and wait.
  • Learn how to be silent.
  • Pray. Silently and maybe not silently.
  • Sit and wait.
I'm not a people person. I do better with animals and books. So, if you can help me with some of these thoughts, please pitch in.

Grace and peace this holiday season.


Bryan L said...

I'd want to smack people who say that too. It's like acting like death isn't the great terrible enemy that needed to be defeated. I hate death!

I'm sorry that this can be such a rough time for you. Let us knwo if we can help in anyway.

I have one more to add. Cry. Sometimes people just need people that will cry with them.

Another strange thing that I found that helped when Jen and I went through our two big tragedies is that one of our friends would come over and just be goofy and make us laugh and take our minds off of what we were going through. It helped a lot.

Bryan L

Pascalian Awakenings said...

Yeah...distraction can be so helpful just to get through the rough times.

Brian said...

yeah, this can be a hard time of year for a lot of people - I lost my older brother to brain cancer this last July 8th - it's gonna be hard getting through Christmas...

Brian said...

I think you asked for a little help, if possible spend some time talking about the good times, the memories (maybe a favorite one) that sort of thing - this isn't denial its just part of the process of working past the harder parts of the loss and working to save the good memories.

getting through grief can be hard.

Pascalian Awakenings said...


I am truly sorry for your loss. I pray the peace of Christ comfort you and your family.