We learned on Friday night my husband’s dad received a grim prognosis. Without chemo, he may have only two months. With chemo, maybe a year. The grief on my mom-in-law’s face when she shared this with us tore at my heart. She has already known so much loss. My husband, too. There’s a deep ache in my soul for them, for our whole family.
I know – rationally – the coming weeks and months will be difficult, but I wonder at my emotional readiness; the strain will leave us less than our best selves, and things like patience and composure will slip. We will be raw, tender. I hope in my capacity for empathy, to find it in myself to be more compassionate, dependable, and solid, to be there for the people I love who are hurting so much.
Wish though I might, I can’t ease anyone’s suffering. No amount of ‘I’m so sorry’ will lessen their pain.
The truth is, death and loss render words meaningless. The only authentic, loving response to a person who is grieving is our presence. To be with them, cry with them, laugh with them, listen to them, hug them. No worldly wisdom compares to the simple feeling of not being alone in one’s sorrow.
I believe in my arms, and their capacity to hold. Perhaps right now, that’s all that matters.