Pain and Grace

I’ve known her for a really long time, but I don’t remember our first meeting. I do remember our first road trip. I drove and she told me stories the whole way—there and back. I was totally engaged, listening and laughing and wondering which parts of the stories I should actually believe.

She was fun, totally fun. Life was an adventure, a joy, something to relish with friends and loved ones. Until it wasn’t. Until it all came crashing in and it was too much.

I’m smart, and I’m interested, and I’m curious. But it still took me a while to notice the pattern of her life. Happy, lively, engaged, generous and fun, crashing and burning. Dark and stormy. Tears. How to keep going? Too much pain.

Menil Magnolia

Menil Magnolia, salt print on silk
by Gika Rector

Once, I kept her going, when she had decided to end it. It took her a long time to forgive me. What’s the most loving thing to do for someone in pain? Simpler to say than do: be with them, love them unconditionally, let them be as they are.

Eventually her heart was breaking physically and surgeons cracked open her chest to make the repair. More pain, more healing, some lighter moments, more pain, more healing.

Years later, a mystery and a miracle. A strange accident, a silent heart attack. The miracle: her body had created new arteries, bypassing the surgeons’ bypass.

More recently: new choices, new opportunities, a glimpse of light, rediscovery of self and friends. Not easy, not without pain, but with glimpses of grace.

So much can happen, given just a touch of grace.

Blessings on all who suffer and go on, who wonder what it’s all about and go on, who think it might not be worth it and still go on.

With gratitude for blessings.

With gratitude for grace.

With gratitude for life.

With gratitude for friends.

4 replies
  1. Anne
    Anne says:

    I will keep this in mind as I talk with my friend who has a mother who has been hospitalized/in nursing care for several years. Now her mom is facing open heart surgery due to blockages, but she might not survive it (diabetic, 83 years old). Thanks for suggesting a gentle approach…and a touch of grace. I think I needed to hear this.

  2. Gika
    Gika says:

    Anne, You’re so full of grace and kindness – how lucky for your friends. And, I totally concur: gentle approach, grace, and allowing her to make her own choices. Such choices – not easy.

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