This side of heaven no one escapes pain, suffering and grief. The first response involves survival, whether someone we cherish dies, or a heart attack victim is in the golden hour of treatment. Let me give you a practical example: I began this blog almost 3 weeks ago before I succumbed to some sort of nasty cold/virus. Now, perhaps, I can finish writing and get back to reading to my grandchildren.
Our 911 means making contact with someone who can help immediately. We call professional helpers and healers, family, friends, and neighbors. We sometimes breathe a prayer, pleading with the God of the universe to intervene, to save the one we love.
When polio struck me at 4, I was an only child. My brother Ken would arrive 9 months and 2 days after my return home. 😘
My spinal tap, done in the doctor’s office, sent my parents and me directly to Vassar Brothers Hospital in Poughkeepsie. Not even a trip home for clothes. I spent one month there, determined to be in the contagious stage. Only after that survival month was I transferred to a rehabilitation hospital for five months of therapy. The crisis had passed, but I would soon learn that healing and rehabilitation would continue for years.
Now, 68 years after my month of survival, I try to remember and apply some principles when I hear of events affecting lives of family and friends. I keep a prayer journal, recording the names and situations of people I commit to pray for, and following up with cards, calls or emails. I try to send follow-up sympathy cards 4-6 months after the the funeral. That’s about the time survivors wonder if anyone remembers their loved one. I still make a phone call to my college roommate’s husband on Rosie’s birthday because I know he still misses his wife in so many little ways.
One of my daughters-in-law, a neurosurgeon, has gone back to the hospital tonight to help someone survive — perhaps a stroke or a brain tumor victim. But most of us are called on for the long period of healing. We are privileged to do our part.