Comfort Care

My soul is in agony. 

It’s torn around the edges. 

Jagged sharp edges that cut into my heart no matter how I twist and turn. 

Grief will do that to a person.  I guess.  

It’s done it to me.  

Every time I think those jagged edges have been smoothed…something comes along to remind me, they haven’t been sanded smooth.  Those edges will be there the rest of my life, ready to slice into my consciousness at any reminder of painful memories.  Whether those reminders come by smell, sight, hearing, or feeling.

What, you ask, has any of this got to do with the title?  

“Comfort care” is hospital speak for patients who have crossed that invisible line that all of us has in our journey of life.  The line between life and death.  The line between hope and grief.  The line between medical cure for the living and medical comfort for the dying.

This past weekend, I helped take care of a patient just placed on comfort care.  My heart hurt for the family.  I knew the helplessness, the pain that was written all over their faces.  I knew the hollowness carving a dad-made hole in their hearts.  There was only so much I as a nurse could do to bring the comfort to both the patient and the family in my care.  With one glance at their faces, I was transported back to my dad’s bedside. Comfort care is a time of grief and pain for the family.  Isn’t it typical of our paradoxical life that we attempt to muffle death by soft choice of words?  But Death hovers, mockingly threatening to disrupt life as we know it.  

Folks, I admit I left the hospital this weekend, struggling.  Fighting against God’s comfort care.  I wanted to savor the taste of the anger, the bitterness, the pain of loss and I wanted someone to blame it all on.  And so I mistakenly railed at God.  

      “Why, God?  I thought You said You took away Death’s sting, Death’s victory.  
       So why is it still able to sting deep within my soul?  Where are You when 
       Death is hovering?  Where are You when Death laughs at our helplessness?”

God was waiting there in the midst of my spitting fury.  He wasn’t deterred by my raw anger, my visceral pain, my biting bitterness.  And when I stopped screaming, He spoke. He soothed the pain with the balm of His presence.  He told me it’s okay to hurt, to grieve, to weep but to please allow Him to be right there in the pain with me.  

I still hurt yes, but it’s not a consuming chasm now that I allowed God to enter into it with me.  He created me.  He knows the depths at which I feel.  He knew the depths of pain that family was in this weekend.  He is here.  He knows what pain and loss feels like. We need only to invite His Presence to speak into our pain.

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