By Sister Pam Nosbusch, OSF
(All names have been changed to protect the privacy of those I am writing about.)
I recently attended a funeral for a man who was killed in a senseless murder. Sam was at a family gathering when a neighbor tried to pick a fight with Sam and stabbed Sam twice. Sam’s ex-wife, Jill, who is an RN, was present and provided First Aid until EMS arrived. Sam and Jill were on good terms even though they are divorced.
The family gathering was to remember Sam and Jill’s 16 year old son, Dave, who died unexpectedly and tragically in January of this year. Needless to say, this family is still hurting from Dave’s death and now have the unexpected and tragic death of Sam to deal with.
I attended Dave’s funeral and provided support to Jill and her family. It was a time of just being there and letting Jill know how much she is loved. Fast forward about 5 months where I am once again just being there and letting Jill know how much she is loved. In other words, it’s about presence.
There are times when we have no words. There are times when all we can say is “I’m sorry,” and/or “I love you.” Even though we might think we have to say something, we really don’t. There’s an awkwardness when we don’t know what to say. However, it’s been my experience that it’s not what I say that’s important but that I show up. In other words, it’s about presence.
There’s a saying attributed to St. Francis, “Preach the Gospel always and use words when necessary.” Times such as the two tragic deaths mentioned above are times to preach the Gospel of love and use words if needed. In other words, it’s about presence.