The Hardest Thing

I used to think that the hardest thing in life was pain.
In part, it’s true.
But there’s something worse than the aching of a physical body, or the emotional heartache of leaving a place or person you love.
The hardest thing is knowing that someone you love is hurting, and not being able to do anything about it. To watch someone suffer and not be able to take the burden off their back. To know there’s nothing else you can do….
That’s why People on their deathbeds don’t spend their last breaths talking about how bad the pain is. They call their friends and say goodbye, they cry with the family and say, “I love you.” Because soon enough, they will be gone, and then their loved ones will have to face the grief alone. They won’t be able to reach down from an eternal destination and wipe away any more tears.
The hardest thing is being helpless to take the pain away for someone else.
My mom told me that. “You know, the hardest part for me, with you, is seeing you upset, and seeing you lonely, and knowing that I can’t fix it for you. I could always fix it before, when you were younger. But now, I just can’t do anything about it….”
My dad told me that. “You said you’ve never seen me cry? I cried in the hospital, when you were in such bad pain that you couldn’t stay still and I cried because I wanted to take it away from you but there was nothing I could do.”
I would tell my ex that. My family and friends. That the greatest thing in the world is knowing that I can help somehow–a hug, a phone call, a late night sitting on the curb talking. The worst thing is watching someone else cry, sit alone in the dark, and know that there isn’t anything I can do to make it better.
The hardest thing to hear from a doctor is, “There’s nothing I can do.”
Nothing I can do…
It’s even harder to realize that you have to leave a person in God’s hands. When you’ve done all you can but they are STILL drowning. It’s heartrenching to have to accept that some people are out of reach, the being with them in spirit is simply not enough sometimes. It’s hard to pray for someone and go to sleep at night saying, “There’s nothing else I can do,” and knowing that it’s true.
That is the hardest thing.


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