Pain Doesn't Last Forever

"...Yet pain is part of being alive, and we need to learn that.  Pain does not last forever, nor is it necessarily unbearable, and we need to be taught that. 

Adolescents need to accept the fact that broken hearts, like broken bones, hurt dreadfully but ultimately they heal, and that there is life beyond the hurting.  People whose shameful secret is about to be revealed need to be assured that there is forgiveness as well as condemnation, that there are people in the world and a God in the world capable of forgiving and loving even the most flawed and imperfect of us.  The terminally ill need to be reassured that we will cherish them and spend time with them and take them as seriously as we did when they were healthy. 
Most of all, we have to learn to trust our own capacities to endure pain.   We can endure much more than we think we can; all human experience testifies to that.  All we need to do is learn not to be afraid of pain.  Grit your teeth and let it hurt.  Don't deny it, don't be overwhelmed by it.  It will not last forever,   One day, the pain will be gone and you will still be there."  
~Harold S. Kushner


Roommate Has The Bed By The Window

Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. One man was
allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the
fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room's only window.

The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back. The men talked
for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their
jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on

Every afternoon when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he
would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could
see outside the window.  The man in the other bed began to live for those one hour 
periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and 
color of the world outside.

The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on
the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm
in arm amidst flowers of every color and a fine view of the city skyline
could be seen in the distance.  As the man by the window described all this in 
exquisite detail, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes 
and imagine the picturesque scene.

One warm afternoon the man by the window described a parade passing by.
Although the other man couldn't hear the band - he could see it. In his
mind's eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive

Days and weeks passed.
One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to
find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in
his sleep. She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the
body away.

As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved
next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making
sure he was comfortable, she left him alone. Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up 
on one elbow  to take his first look at the real world outside.
He strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed.

It faced a blank wall. The man asked the nurse what could have compelled
his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this

The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the
wall. She said, "Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you."

Grief: Losing A Parent

Mourning is also prolonged when guilt is involved.
 Some adults are inconsolable at the death of their elderly parents because 
they recognize that their childhood has also died. 

 ...There is no grief which time does not lessen and soften.
From Love, Hate, Fear, Anger by June Callwood


Forgiving Our Families

A woman asked me for help in placing her father in a nursing home. He was 89 years old and had never been sick a day in his life; had worked construction until he was 81.

One day he had a massive stroke that rendered him incapable of caring for himself. It also made him incapable of controlling his emotions and he was crying most of the time.

The day we got him settled into his nursing home room; him with his huge hands and furrowed brow! The smiling courteous polite daughter asked me to step outside of his room. When we did she sputtered, with tears in her own eyes: "That SON OF A BITCH! He was a miserable ___ ___ bastard all of his life and now he's vulnerable. How DARE HE?! NOW he needs us to be kind to him?? It's just not fair."

This was her lesson in forgiveness. And actually.... the story turned out quite nicely. Forgiveness works. We are given opportunities to learn its power.

It's A State of Mind