Heart of sorrow

Life is full of unexpected twists. No rhyme or reason why they happen, but their impact is often unbearable: like when a healthy 82-year-old woman suffers two strokes in the course of a week. I found out the news via phone before my final exams. I was an hour away and felt helpless and heartbroken. It was hard to focus when all I could think about was her in a hospital bed.

She is my greatest role model. Her selflessness, strength, and thirst for life are two things I aspire to have. She shines when it comes to spreading joy and love to those around her. When I heard the news, the shock prevented the reality for setting in until the next day. The truth: she wouldn’t be at my college graduation and the strokes’ impact would change her life and ours.

My family has been doing their best to keep me in the loop, but I still feel disconnected. People have urged me to go see her, but I just can’t do it. If I see her, a reality is confirmed – she’s a stroke victim who can’t speak or swallow. She’s the ghost of a woman who always wore lipstick and had her hair done; who spoke in a soft voice and gave comforting hugs. If I saw her now, my heartache would only worsen.

I know I need to be strong because that’s what my parents keep telling me. The problem is when someone is suffering I absorb their suffering because of my empathy. Empathy is a blessing and a curse because it pushes me to take on more burden while caring deeply for people. I believe she will continue to fight, so in respect, I offer up this prayer.

Dear Heavenly Father, please shine your merciful love on my Oma. Show her the gift of strength and courage by allowing her to continue to fight through the complications left by this stroke. Let her know how much I love her, and that my love grows every second I think about her. And please, help me Lord. Help me to place all my burden into your hands and relieve all my sadness, fear and grief. Allow me to see the positive in that she will be alright. In your name I pray. Amen.

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