Please help my welcome Emily as a guest to my blog. Today’s post is part of the series, Walking a friend through the fire. I pray that you will be blessed!
When my daughter lay in the hospital bed, and we learned about seizures and tumors, grief and worry surrounded me. I needed sleep and a cup of coffee and I needed to read her a book without crying. I needed help.
I needed help from other people, but I did not know how to ask for it, or even what I needed. This is how I would have asked had I known how to do so. Your child is sick. How can I help?
Take care of me
Someone tell me where I left my keys, and remind me to eat something. Someone decide for me what it is I might like to eat, and bring me to that place to get it.
Pick up the things I am dropping
Do you know what I am forgetting while I am here with my baby? Perhaps you can help with that. Show love to my healthy kids. Make dinner for my husband. Mow the lawn. Take over the Sunday School class I agreed to teach before everything fell apart.
Let me hide
When things were at the worst, and we began to prepare for my daughter’s brain surgery, it became utterly exhausting to me to talk on the phone. I simply did not have the strength to share the details over and over again, to “keep it together” so that the person on the other end of the phone did not have to worry too much about how I was handling everything. I was suffering, and it was all I could do to put one foot in front of the other and keep doing what was in front of me. I blogged when I could, but had very little to say to people by phone. I appreciated that people seemed to understand that.
Remind me what else is out there
During the weeks in the hospital, I remember feeling like our world had become so small. Everything was Aggie’s condition, everything was hospital and worry and trial. Yet some who shared our grief were bold enough to share bits of their still normal lives with me too, and I was surprised at how I appreciated that. A funny story about what someone’s kid did that day, news from home or school that had nothing to do with us– those were blessed reminders that life was still going on outside the hospital, and I could hope to join that world again someday. I had wanted to talk about something else, even just for a minute, but I had no idea what else there could be other than my sick child.
Just be with me
It is not fun to be the person or family that reminds everyone of such an enormous sad thing. Some withdrew, and I understood, knowing that it was usually those who were carrying too much grief already to take mine on as well. Some loved us through it, even though it hurt them to do so– love in a hospital room means sharing worry and grief– those who were willing to have their hearts ache along with ours were pictures of grace and compassion to me.
Acknowledge my pain and remind me of Hope
Don’t deny my pain with clichés, but look it full in the face, and then tell me that Truth is still Truth. Tell me what I already know. Scripture or hymns, things I have heard a thousand times: I need to hear them again. Nothing fancy or profound, just the basic faith we share: Suffering is awful, but temporary, because Jesus loves us. Even when we hurt, we are safe in His love for us.
If you have a friend with a sick child, you can help! Give a meal, a hug, a prayer, or even just your quiet presence: even these little things communicate God’s care.
Emily blogs about life with six children, faith, and motherhood. Smile, think, cry, pray, gag, and laugh with her at www.weakandloved.com.
She is also the author of Weak and Loved: A Mother-Daughter Love Story. Read the incredible story of suffering and hope, and experience God’s grace in times of trial.
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