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What do you do when someone you love is hurting??

Posted Dec 29 2009 10:08pm

What do you do when someone you love is hurting? Her puppy died a sad death from a wound that was really no one’s fault.  Sometimes dogs cannot fight the infection and trauma of a wound, and in this case, the vibrant, playful spirit just couldn’t fight anymore.  So, what do you do when someone you love is hurting – not just hurting – but saddened beyond words?

My inclination, my nature is to rush over, offer sympathy, condolences and try to help hurry the healing.  But I’ve learned that when a heart is broken, saddened and hurting – there is no amount of good nurturing from a Mom that can hurry the healing.  Sometimes suffering and mourning need to take their course – and it’s okay if I stand by without being able to hurry the healing .

Part of parenting is allowing our children to experience the fullness of life – and thereby allow them to develop resilience and mechanisms to deal with the good and the bad.  But there’s really no amount of preparation a parent can do to prepare their child for loss, for heart ache, for guilt and despair.  My children are adults.  They work, support themselves, make life decisions and are responsible for their own health, physically and mentally.  But it never means I don’t want to reach out, touch them, hold them and reassure them when the waves are high and beat brutally over their heads.  It never means that I turn my back on their sadness and grief.  It means I’m there waiting for them to reach out to me when (and if) they need my assistance.

From the minute we take our first breath we are preparing to die.  That lesson was an easy one for me to learn with so much loss around me in my life.  But my children have not had to face so much death and loss.  Instinctively, I’ve sheltered them and stuck close to them whenever death drew near.

But now they are adults – fully grown and facing the realities of adulthood – life and death.  What do you do when someone you love is hurting and mourning the loss of a dear one – their puppy?  I’m searching for the answer to that question.  But all I can do is be here to listen, offer comfort, prayers and support.

Just as she had to learn the multiplication tables the hard way – she must learn about death and loss the hard way too.  Until I allow them to walk through that experience and quit trying to protect them – they won’t face it fully.  But, as I stand here with my heavy heart – I hope she knows that I do love her – I did love her puppy – and I pray for them.  The resulting loneliness won’t be easy – and it will take some time.  But I think it’s better if I keep my distance right now – ready to comfort if the call comes to me.  Because in reality – there is nothing I can do to really solve the problem when someone I love has a hurting heart.

Posted in Grief, Pain Tagged: death, hurting heart, loss of animal
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