Tuesday, February 28, 2012
I remember seeing pictures of people in iron lungs. I always thought they looked like some kind of torture device. Rows and rows of poor sick people laying around, trapped in a metal tubes to prevent them from dying.
But, actually, an iron lung is a good thing. An amazing thing. When disease has ravaged a patient's muscles and the diaphragm is no longer strong enough to expand the rib cage and force the lungs to draw in air, this machine does that for them. It helps strengthen weakness when there just isn't anything left to give.
For me, grief is a similar condition of the soul. It can eat away until it feels that taking a carefree breath is next to impossible. When in it's throws, I desperately yearn for there to be something or someone who can just take over for a little bit. Prop me up. Move my feet. Help me move through my normal routine without having to exert the monumental effort it takes to accomplish the mundane tasks on the to-do list.
Lucky, for me, I have that in amazing friends and family.
Admittedly, my experiences with grief have been minuscule compared to some people's. I have not had to personally deal with serious levels of tragedy that change a person. I would never compare what I have been through to serious personal crisis and would never assume to be able to fully comprehend, offer them advice, or attempt to give any kind of critique.
But for me, on my small scale, there is a small part of me that is grateful to have had my crises. Because they give me compassion...and empathy. Because as horrible as it is to be the patient inside the device it is an unbelievably humbling opportunity to be the iron lung for someone you love. To be there when someone else needs help. To be there to do the dishes, cycle the laundry, make the dinner, or have the shoulder of your shirt used as a towel to soak up tears.
Posted by Katie at 3:38 PM