Do you ever read the newspaper with shock at the unbelievable tragedies? You read, you feel, you may even say a little prayer for those involved. What do you do when it happens to your family?
Unfortunately, we are facing that right now with my brother. He was in an explosion which happened recently. When you get that call, it doesn’t sink in right away. You hear the words, and you just assume it isn’t that bad. But then it really hits you. Something in your mind triggers on the news… you hear the words “we don’t know if he is going to make it…” and then you are staring at a real story, with real people who you know well.
And then it just becomes a series of motions and decisions. Do we need to come now? How can I get there? Has someone told Mom and Dad? How do we tell them across our distances? What will things be like when you arrive? What is the state of everyone’s emotions? What is the state of my own?
Somehow, your subconscious mind kicks in, and you act rationally to a certain degree. You are stunned. At another level, you just want to break down and cry; and you do. In normal circumstances, you may be hesitant to say “I love you” or give a hug. These cases tear down all those inhibitions or second thoughts. You just say it, and you just hug.
You sit in the hospital room and just watch the care and the discipline of the RNs, the doctors, everyone… There are more bags of liquids hanging from poles you wonder how they keep it all straight. All the lights and ornaments of medicines flash of some Christmas memory of when you were kids.
The thoughts and memories which seep into your mind cannot even be explained. The pain of a long recovery; the state of what his life will be like after the healing; the thoughts of why you weren’t closer and how the distances came about; and the question of what you would want done if it was you lying there.
My brother is an exceptionally strong person, which others have described as stubbornness. He always had the inner strength and seemingly clear idea of what he wanted to do. He absolutely enjoys what he does; one of those rare people who get to do what they love, even if it isn’t an easy life.
Through it all, you realize certain things. You discover the support of the church… multiple churches from where all family and friends now reside. Somehow you do feel the power of the prayers. You understand the power of connections through family and friends as dormant networks all of sudden come alive, just like those Aspen trees. The roots spread through the Internet and telephone lines, and the relationships are re-engaged around a common purpose – prayers and thoughts for survival and healing.
If you read what a blog post should be, this isn’t it. There is no neat list of things to do or consider. There is no moral to the story. It is just a story that has jumped off the newspaper headlines and landed in our family’s laps, and now it is our story to write, develop, support, and live. Our part is easy; my brother’s part is beyond challenging.
So, we deal with it. We re-bond with family; we pray; we laugh; we talk; we care…
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Have You Lived a Newspaper Headline?
Yes. There is something awe-full-y holy about the waiting rooms of hospitals. It’s as if time hangs in the balance there, in the midst of the waiting. I like the way you wrote this – just as it is. A true story of love and pain and grief and life. Thanks for letting us in…
Thanks for your comment. Appreciate it greatly…
When my wife had a stroke three years ago and the world came crashing down around me, I learned what prayer is — being supported and surrounded and sustained by droves of people, near and far, who expressed their love and care. And I learned how profoundly difficult — and holy — the “waiting room” in the hospital is. I had visited dozens of people in the hospital before (as a pastor) but this was the first time that I was dwelling there… not just “visiting,” and I saw it all from a new perspective. You are living those holy days of waiting and crying and hoping. My prayers are with you and your family. Thanks for sharing your story.
Kent, Thanks so much for your comments and support now and over the years. You are so right about the “waiting room.” I, too, have a completely different perspective. Grateful for your prayers and comments. Jon