A good friend of mine will bury his daughter in a couple of days. She was 21 years old, was married three or four months and had just graduated from college.
It was a ten-day ordeal for them. She was on a lake in Alabama Saturday before last, boating, skiing and ‘tubing’. Apparently, while tubing (riding tethered 30 feet behind the boat on an inner-tube-like float) she struck something stationary with her head at 20 or 30 miles per hour. She arrived at the Huntsville, Alabama hospital in bad shape and comatose, but hopes were high. However, she simply wouldn’t stabilize enough for the surgeons to operate. About three days later, still in a coma, they transferred her by helicopter to the Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga, Tennessee. At Erlanger, they hoped to save her left eye and brain function. She did seem to improve, but the coma lingered and it became obvious that the eye couldn’t be saved. There were some hand movements in response to voices late last week, but she suddenly slipped into a deeper coma on this past Saturday. She succumbed to her head injury and infection last night.
What do you say to a person in this position?
I’m terrified to think about it. I’m scared to think about her death and I am very nervous about what I will say to him. And I’ll be going to the funeral visitation this afternoon.
Romans 8:18: “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed in us.”
It almost seems trite. Flippant, if you will, to remind someone of this when they are at this point in life.
If I remind him that she is better off? Again, a little cheesy.
If I tell him that it will get better? Who am I to say that?
Tough. Very tough.
No doubt this will be a difficult time for that family. But how can a friend comfort them? What have you found to be helpful to you when grieving or comforting others? Are there certain things that are inappropriate to say and do? Feel free to share your thoughts so we call can learn from this.