Archive for Suffering

Suffering: When Truth is a Lie

tearsShe said, near the phone call’s end, “At least he’s no longer suffering.”

He said, as if sharing a secret confession, “I couldn’t stand that she was suffering.”

I hear those comments every week in my hospice work. When talking with the bereaved, on the phone or in person, they will offer a version of the suffering statement.

No one wants a loved one—a teen with dreams of a college scholarship, a once vibrant fifty-something spouse, or an elderly grandmother who baked the best apple pie—to suffer. In hospice, diseases have often stalked patients for years. In many cases, lengthy efforts to destroy the disease before it destroyed the body had success. Chemo and radiation can have extraordinary results, but they create suffering—physical and emotional—as a “war” is raged in your flesh and bone. But isn’t suffering worth the cost of pain—the headaches, sour stomachs, and sleepless nights—because today’s agony means you’ll live tomorrow? And tomorrow? Yes, many will put up with great suffering for the hope of a day when life returns to . . . normal. Normal, of course, is negotiable. But suffering the pain can seem a bargain worth making. Read More →

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