Sunday, November 29, 2015

When a hug isn't enough

Today after sacrament meeting, one of the ward members hailed me as she was leaving the building. She came over to me, and we started talking. She is in a terrible situation. Her husband is dying of cancer. He is on an experimental drug that may be helping, but the drug is very expensive, and not covered by insurance. I asked her if there was anything that I could do. She told me that things are pretty much under control. I asked her, "How are you doing?" At that, she broke into tears, and we ended up in a hard embrace, and her crying into my shoulder. We stood for a couple of minutes, then said goodbye.

A hug really isn't enough. She told me how hard this is for her, and that is something I do understand. I do know what it is like to lose a loved one. I know that being on that path can mean loss, loneliness, despair, a truly broken heart. I think that most of us will experience that loss sometime in our life: a bad breakup, a death, a divorce, a broken friendship. We have relationships with people we love, then the day comes when a person is no longer with us. Contemplating that loss is a little like gazing down at the Grand Canyon. It's an abyss. It's a daunting distance and journey to the other side, and it doesn't seem to come with any promise of actually being able to get there.

I feel helpless in situations like this. About the only thing I can do is offer my shoulder, offer a hug. It's a raw and human place to be. And that hug seems so very small.