“Come on Mr. Frodo. I can’t carry it for you . . . but I can carry you!” ~ Samwise Gamgee, Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
From the very beginning I have been surrounded with a wonderful support system. Because of this I feel very lucky.
When my parents and I finally arrived at OHSU the hospital staff quickly ushered us past the ER waiting room and upstairs to our own private room. I was so thankful for this. I knew many people from our church had filled up the ER waiting room. I would not have been able to handle being around so many people in that moment. But I was so very grateful they were there. In a strange way just knowing they were there made me feel supported.
We had our own private room for the family on the floor of the ICU. There was also another waiting room on this floor. This second waiting room slowly filled with other supporters who showed up at the hospital as the news spread. Friends from college, an elder from our previous church, long time friends and new friends. I was such a mess during this time, I’m not sure I was able to talk to most of those who came. But I was so happy they were there.
When my husband was discharged the following afternoon the hospital social worker said to me “You have the largest support group I’ve ever seen”.
What she saw was only the tip of the iceberg.
The amount of support I have received over the years is truly inspiring. Family, extended family, friends, acquaintances, churches, and even complete strangers, have all supported me in one way or another. With the photography community I was involved in and missionary friends there were people praying from all around the world. Everyday I would hear of someone else, usually someone I didn’t know, who’d heard about the accident and was praying for us. I received cards and gifts from complete strangers. Even today I still have people tell me they’ve been thinking of me and praying for me.
Every time someone told me they thought of me that day, or prayed for me, or sent a card, or gave me a gift I felt supported. Everyone who came to visit or let me talk about the boys supported me. Every time I heard how the accident affected someone I felt supported. Every time someone talked about my boys or shared memories of them I was encouraged. Even to this day the support continues.
I could go on about the support I have received. And I will in future posts. 🙂
I wish everyone who has to go through such difficult times could have the support group I have. I’ve heard terrible things about how grieving parents have been treated. I breaks my heart to hear their stories, and it makes me angry. I get angry when I hear about people who are in pain and that pain is increased because of the insensitivity or downright mean spiritedness of others. And many times it comes from people who should know better. We are supposed to support each other in our pain, not make it worse.
I am so incredibly fortunate that I have not had to experience the mean spirit of some people. I’ve had people say things to me that hurt, but I know they had good intentions. I’ve had people say insensitive things, but not downright mean. Most of the time these people say things because they want to take away the pain I’m feeling.
One thing I’ve learned is you cannot, and you should not try to, take away someone’s pain. But you can make it easier to carry.
I love the quote from Lord of the Rings. It’s near the end of the movie when Frodo and Sam are trying to get into the heart of Mt. Doom to destroy the One Ring of Power. Frodo, burdened with carrying the ring, is exhausted, beat up, completely worn down and cannot move. Sam knows he cannot take the burden of the ring from Frodo, so he carry’s Frodo instead. It’s such a great moment in the movie. But after the accident I saw it a little bit differently, it became a metaphor for my support system. The Ring became my grief, a burden that only I can carry. Sam became my support system, all the people who prayed for me and supported me, were carrying me so I wouldn’t have to bear my burden alone.
Every time I felt the support of others, my burden was lifted a little bit.
I feel like God has given me an incredible gift in the people who’ve surrounded me and held me up during these last few years. I also feel like I’ve been given a glimpse of a vision God had for his church. I believe we are meant to help share each other’s burdens, to support and encourage each other through our pain and struggles.
“He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” 2 Corinthians 1:4 (New Living Translation)
When we share the burden of grief and pain, we make that burden lighter. We can then turn around and use the support we were given to help support others in their pain.
I can honestly say having the support system I do, has made all the difference in my life. So Thank You to everyone who has prayed for me, supported me, encouraged me and listened to me. I would not be where I am today without you.