Life has a way of testing you in different ways. As they say, “our lives in this world is like an examination, yet each one has a different paper.” Yes, a different paper, and that paper keeps changing also! “As you get used to one channel, life changes the channel!” Is another one of my favorite quotes. You can read as many quotes as you like. Take on as much pain on yourself as you can bear. But to watch a loved one in pain – whether it is physical or emotional – I think that is the hardest thing to bear. On top of it, when it is also your responsibility to look after that person, it can be even more painful, yet it is a relief to know you are in a position to do something about it. At least you are in an active position, not a passive one. Putting on a brave face is vital, to be able to relieve your loved one’s pain for a while at least.
So many times I’ve taken my father or mother in almost unconscious state to the hospital. – Hoping that I’m not making any mistake of some sort in the process. Thank goodness, physiology was my favorite subject in school and Home Nursing was another subject which I took in my first and second year in College of Home Economics. All that really helps. Now, on Google you can have every type of information at your finger-tips. Still it is tough. The doctors and staff of hospitals are a real consolation. With a few ‘incidents’ you find out whom to turn to, for which problem. God bless them all.
Love is a feeling we have for so many individuals in our lives, specially our parents and children, then our relatives and dear friends. Frankly, I can’t see a total stranger in pain either. So, how do you deal with it?
- Ask the person directly, how you can help. Remember, sometimes the person is too upset to think straight. Then you do whatever you can think of as the best thing.
- Get spiritual strength: Say two naffals for the person, specially Tahajjad, (when you are awake at night worrying about the person. Why not put that file on God’s table?)Read ‘Hasbi Allah ho wa nemal wakil’, ‘La haula wala quvvata, illa billa he’, and surah Fateha (which is one of the best for getting well from illnesses), la illahi illa, anta subhanaka, inni kunto minazzualameen. Each of these is awesome to be recited as much as possible to get strengthened.Reading the Holy Quran (preferably starting from one end, and read whenever you get time) is the best. Coming across incidents of stress and struggles of the prophets really helps. You realize you are not alone. The prayers here and there, sometimes really feel as if they are tailor-made for you!
- Get physical strength and energy: Try to get full sleep, six hours straight is the goal – and two more if you are lucky. You’ll need it to be your fittest. – Recitation of simple word Allah helps a lot. Even taking a sleeping pill sometimes is better than staying awake all night. Do some exercise, or walk extra in the hospital. Take proper meals, but focus more on fruits, juices, soups and veggies.
- Food is one of the best ways to help. Take along something for the person or their live-in guests. Fruit, sandwiches and soup always come handy.
- Perhaps, you can help those who are caring for the ill person. They need a great deal of support also. I remember, when my husband was seriously ill, his friends taking my children to a restaurant nearby or ordering food for us. We all need a relief sometimes. Especially when tending to long illnesses.
- Be careful what you say. Avoid telling them all sorts of similar horror stories, especially with tragic endings. Never use negative words like ‘bechari’ or ‘you poor soul.’ Talking about the weather or any other small talk works fine. Sometimes, say nothing. Just be with them. Keep alert to find out how you can be of help. Also avoid giving unwanted advice. People are intelligent and well equipped now to get any information they need. Unless, it is something really vital for them, and only you know it. Or if they ask you.
- It is also important not to impose on the person. Sometimes they need to be alone, or rest. So, keep the trips short and crisp.
- Be positive. Pamper and value your own contributions and enjoy the appreciation you get. Also, ignore if your efforts went unnoticed. You are just doing the best you can. That is enough. We owe it to our own conscience to do our best. Particularly for those who stood by you, in your hard times.
- Give yourself a treat to get strong again: Don’t feel guilty … Take a break: listen to music, watch movies to boost your morale. Once you’ve done your bit, it is okay.
There is an amazing book ‘The Anatomy of Courage’ written by a psychiatrist Lord Moran, during first world war, first published in 1945. Its about Courage – of course! The doctor says, that when a soldier has just returned from a battlefield, all you need to do is offer that person who is in shock, a place to sit in, give him a cup of tea and soothe him. Help him through the first few moments of shock, sit with him, he will be fine in a while. Its those first few moments that matter.
My dear Reader, we all need each other to ease the pain that we and our loved ones are going through. Stay blessed and very strong to be able to be there for your loved ones when they need you most 🙂