Sunday, January 3, 2010

When there's nothing else you can do

This is not what I planned to write about tonight.

Sharon and I just got home from helping to set up for a funeral, taking place tomorrow.



A young man, from a family in our ward (LDS congregation) lost his battle with cancer on New Year's Eve. He was sixteen, and was sick for fifteen months. We never knew Brian, he's been out of view for most of the time that we've lived in the neighborhood. But we know his family, and they are loved. His father was our bishop (ecclesiastical leader) for the first year that we lived here.

Nearly a year ago, when Sharon was diagnosed with stomach cancer, this humble man, and his wonderful wife were some of the first (of many) to come to our home. They saw to it that my little family was cared for, when I nearly lacked the ability to put one foot in front of the other. They came to the hospital. In the midst of the most devastating trial of their lives, they were there for us.


And we were not the only ones. Anyone, and everyone, who suffered pain or loss or heartache or grief or want felt the compassion of this man, and his family. And then they watched the life slowly drift away from their son, and there was nothing they could do. Eventually, there was nothing anyone could do, and Brian, aware and prepared, left the embrace of his family and entered into the embrace of his Savior.



At a time like this, it's natural to want to help -- to somehow make it better, though you know you can't. You can't say the right word. You can't embrace anyone long enough. You can't make the pain go away.  Grief is an inescapable, and inevitable part of life, and there are no short cuts through it. We cannot heal this family. God, and time, will see to that.

But we can make sure that the floors they walk on tomorrow are clean.

We can be sure the tables that they eat at are properly set, and beautifully arranged.

We can see to it that the chairs are set up, and that microphones are working and that hymnals are accessible, and that windows are cleaned.

We cannot change the path they must walk, but we can see that it is as smooth as possible.



It's the least we can do, but it's something.

15 comments:

Corey~living and loving said...

STunningly written. you will surely be a blessing in there lives. I'm so very sorry to hear of this loss.

TuTu's Bliss said...

Thank you. Sometimes I get so overwhelmed feeling that I am not doing enough that I stop doing anything at all. I need to remember that sometimes the least you can do works just fine.

WackyMummy said...

Time WILL help and changes much in its path. I do know this... I lost my father when I was 14, from cancer. It's unfair and seems disrespectful, but the world doesn't stop turning. The world moves on without much notice in fact. Because everyone is moving on in their own private grief which most don't know about.

But your sentiment is true, and beautifully written. Being there, helping, and sharing in the grief is the only thing that makes the time bearable.

Kelli @ Gohn Crazy said...

What a devastating loss. May the Lord comfort them in this difficult time.

Mom24 said...

It's a lot, it truly is. Also, it's love, and that always helps.

I'm so sorry for their loss. It's unimaginable.

kris... said...

Beautifully written... and I'm sure your kindness, no matter how insignifigantly it may seem, will be much appreciated.

Heidi said...

Sometimes the hardest things happen to the best people. This life is a trial of our faith and our hope. It is constantly being tested to see which way we will choose. Faith is sometimes the most difficult thing to keep hold of, and yet at the same time it can be a comfort and a guide.
Your pictures really show that lying below our cold, heavy burdens lies life still worth living. They are beautiful and your words are as well.

Kristen said...

I had never met Brian but Kennedy took dance lessons with his 2 younger sisters so I know the family and have been receiving updates about his condition through emails. What a tragedy. He was so young. The truly amazing thing is that through this trial, they have remained so strong in their testimonies of our Savior and Heavenly Father's love for them. Even when there was nothing but bad news to share, they remained full of faith and love for our Father in Heaven. What amazing examples. My heart aches for them.

Suzanne said...

And your setting up looks great! I was at the church last night for the choir practice and I admired the chairs that went all the way back tthrough the overflow, the gym, and then the Primary Room. I didn't even know it could be done! I didn't know who had done it, either, until now...thanks for your help!

kaye said...

so true--grief is a hard road

Emily said...

So sad. I'm sure you are a blessing for them as they walk this sad road.

Michelle said...

Beautifully written as always. I can not imagine the pain your friends must be in, but I'm sure it will help knowing they have families around them that care.

Avtcoach said...

It is those small acts of kindness that they will remember, and the feel of support that they are not alone. Bless you and your wife!

puna said...

I'm sorry that your year started this way but what a nice post to articulate how you are feeling. So wise.

Kelli @ writing the waves said...

I'm so sorry to hear about their loss. Sounds like a wonderful family. Even though it's hard to know what to do, little things like that really do mean a lot. I'm sure they were appreciated.