We’ve made lots of trips to the hospital recently to visit family members. We spent time in ICU waiting rooms not knowing. Praying. Everybody’s okay, or will be soon.
Mother called this morning. “Remember when somebody brought us a watermelon? It was July 1983. Right before your daddy died. The woman almost dropped it coming in the front door. We got so tickled, we doubled over laughing. It felt wonderful. I thought I’d never laugh again.”
“Yeah, I’ll never forget. I took one sweet bite and my mind left our circumstances. At least for a few minutes. I thought about childhood. Barefooted summers. Sprinklers in the backyard.”
“That was the moment I began to believe everything was going to be okay,” Mother said. “And somehow, life would go on.”
We chatted some more about how to help a family through sickness. About what matters most…
1. If you can laugh about anything, laugh. Difficult situations don’t always have to be somber and serious.
2. Bring someone a really good cup of coffee or a fountain drink with crunchy ice and a straw. Don’t ask first. Just do it. I love Starbucks Sumatra, real sugar, and half & half. A bag of Hershey’s kisses is wonderful too, or a few pieces of fruit. Something small with lots of love.
3. My friend Robin from All Things Heart and Home suggests toothbrushes, toothpaste, pretty wash clothes and face wash for those who spent the night in the waiting room.
4. Share a happy memory–something you both remember.
5. Smile with your heart. The nurses who helped us never stopped smiling–genuine smiles from way down deep inside. The kind that lingers.
6. It’s not about what you say, but how you listen.
7. The tiniest things matter most. I promise. A four dollar watermelon brought hope.
Any other ideas?