Yesterday I visited two ladies; one in hospital, one at home. The one in hospital is recovering from a stroke, the one at home is recovering from her husband’s funeral. It struck me how much they have in common, but also how differently we tend to see their situations. Stroke has robbed the one of half her body. She now faces a daily battle to regain a life in which she can function with a ‘new normal’. Death has robbed the other of half her being; she too faces a daily battle to learn how to function again in the ‘new normal’. Neither can be certain what the future holds for them.
But for the one who has just passed through the funeral, we focus on the shock of the grief, and find it all too easy to ignore the long period of readjustment that now follows. For the other we focus upon the long readjustment that she now faces, and can all too easily ignore the grief that inevitably goes with such a terrible loss.
Both ladies are faced with grief and a long period of recovery. I don’t think it’s helpful for us to wonder who has suffered most – for every person, their own suffering is what dominates their day. What we can do is to see that in both cases we have a similar role; to be silent and sympathetic before the reality of loss and grief, and to be a cheerleader for every step towards recovery.