Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Death of a Friend
A friend died last week. Actually, she was a co-worker friend. I found out by means of a yellow stickie note attached to the front of my shared computer. I had to read it several times. I thought it was a mistake. I thought I misread the name. I thought "How can this be?" Things were fuzzy. I felt confused. Disoriented. I walked around the hospital wondering "How did this happen?" I felt unnerved.
I sat with another friend, co-worker friend, who expressed disbelief and shock. She needed my ear, my heart. I sat with patients, who expressed disbelief and shock and who cried and cried. They needed my ear, my heart, my presence. I had nothing to say. I sat with their pain and wondered "How can this be? How did this happen?"
There are no easy answers to the death questions. And they were asked by my friend, by my patients. The "why?" the "what now?" And I had no answers, so I gave none, at least no easy ones. Mostly, I sat, I listened, I ached, I felt the pain of the death moments. And I realized that this is what "God with us" is all about. Presence. Presence in the death moments of life.
God is present with us. Moving through it all side by side in the mess of life. Not fixing it. Not giving easy answers that make us feel worse. Not patting us on the head with a patronizing smile. No. Instead, there is God ploughing the rocky row, mixing the manure, and getting dirty right along with us.
Somehow, that is comforting.
I think that is what I did for my friend, for my patients. I walked the rocky row with them. Saying little. Fixing nothing. Patting no one. I joined them. I offered my presence and my pain. Comfort.
Posted by Lisa Gonzales-Barnes