Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Nothing Funny Today

A good friend of mine will bury his daughter in a couple of days. She was 21 years old, was married three or four months and had just graduated from college.

It was a ten-day ordeal for them. She was on a lake in Alabama Saturday before last, boating, skiing and 'tubing'. Apparently, while tubing (riding tethered 30 feet behind the boat on an inner-tube-like float) she struck something stationary with her head at 20 or 30 miles per hour. She arrived at the Huntsville, Alabama hospital in bad shape and comatose, but hopes were high. However, she simply wouldn't stabilize enough for the surgeons to operate. About three days later, still in a coma, they transferred her by helicopter to the Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga, Tennessee. At Erlanger, they hoped to save her left eye and brain function. She did seem to improve, but the coma lingered and it became obvious that the eye couldn't be saved. There were some hand movements in response to voices late last week, but she suddenly slipped into a deeper coma on this past Saturday. She succumbed to her head injury and infection last night.

What do you say to a person in this position?

I'm terrified to think about it. I'm scared to think about her death and I am very nervous about what I will say to him. And I'll be going to the funeral visitation this afternoon.

Romans 8:18: "I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing to the the glory that will be revealed in us."

It almost seems trite. Flippant, if you will, to remind someone of this when they are at this point in life.

If I remind him that she is better off? Again, a little cheesy.
If I tell him that it will get better? Who am I to say that?

Tough. Very tough.


Blogger Andy Rupert said...

I feel the same way at funerals. When you walk through the line you wonder, "What should I say? I have to say something." But the truth is that just saying something for the sake of saying it isn't very helpful to the grieving person. What usually comes out is some line that makes the speaker feel better but does little for the grieving one. But later on, you usually find out that your just being there showed them that you care. And being available to cry with them does more than anything else.

When there is an appropriate opportunity to speak, I've found that the best way to comfort is to share your hope in "the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God" (2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NKJV). Hearing from someone who has learned to trust him gives hope to those who are grieving. In the end, He is the only One who knows why this happened. And those who know him can trust that (although they don't understand) he knows what is best and is doing what is best (Hab. 3:17-19).

I'm sure God will give you the words to say.

7:23 AM  
Blogger EggsnGrits said...

Thanks, Andy. Much appreciated.

1:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just your presence, your sharing in the lowest point of his life, is doing more than you'll ever, ever know. Words will never suffice. God is sufficient, though, according to His book. So have faith that your being there to share his burden is the right thing to do.

9:31 PM  

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