Thursday, September 6, 2012

Guest Post: Doreen McGettigan

I am always humbled when people choose to share their stories with me.  When today's guest post was sent to me and I read it and I went and learned more about Doreen and what her family has gone through... I was again humbled.  There are bits of her post that I was nodding my head with- because I've been there.  Maybe you will feel the same way.

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When I am, alone I do a lot of thinking. I wonder what celebrities think when they see just plain down to earth mean comments or headlines. I wonder what Sarah Palin felt when she saw the photo of a dummy representing her hanging from a roof. I wonder what Hillary Clinton thinks when she sees a photo of herself with the caption ‘who let the dogs out.’ I wonder about the people responsible. Are they insecure? Perhaps they are mentally ill. Are they trying to be funny? They cannot possibly think they may swing you over to their way of thinking…could they?

I wonder what could possibly be going through a mother’s mind that videos and cheers on her teen daughter as she pummels another teen.

I wonder what your reaction would be if you saw and heard a neighbor taunting another neighbors child who was terminally ill. Would you shut your door and ignore her or would you confront her?  Would you quietly, simply ask her why? What would I do?

When I am, alone I remember what people said to me at my murdered brother, David’s funeral.  People really do say some stupid things. My favorite stupid thing was, “He’s in a better place.” Seriously, whenever I heard this, I wanted to scream, “What better place?” Heaven cannot even be better, now. The best place for David was here with his wife and son, with his family. Another favorite saying of mine: “Time will help.” My twenty-six-year-old brother was murdered. It hurt like hell. This is a funeral, and it is awful! Time will not fix this.

What I appreciated hearing was, “If you want to talk, I’m here.” In addition, I appreciated the people who actually did something, like bringing over food without asking what we would like or my wonderful, God-sent friend Tina, who was just there. I just think about her sweeping the floor that was so comforting. I also really liked it when people just said, “I do not know what to say.” I know everybody is different, and maybe these things would not bother somebody else. I especially appreciated people I did not know sharing stories with me about David.

When I am alone, I wonder, what I can say or do that will be the right thing to say or do for my friend with cancer, my daughter who’s child is recuperating from a painful spinal surgery, my 86 year old client that just lost her 25 year old granddaughter in a head on collision with a tractor trailer or my granddaughter who is being bullied.

I wonder why people find it easier to ignore a friend or relative in need.  Is it a fear of not knowing what to say or do? I have been guilty of this myself. I over-think, wonder if I have the right to intrude during such a tragic time. Am I close enough with the person?

Sometimes when I am, alone I take down a beautifully carved wooden box from the top shelf of a closet. It holds the 100’s of cards I received from friends, relatives, neighbors, co-workers and absolute strangers after David died. I reread them and remember how they felt like hugs when I received them.

When I am alone, I pray for the right words, actions and reactions in all of my life’s moments. I pray for the strength not to judge others for their words and actions but to pray for and forgive them. I pray for the wisdom to get the words correct in the stories I write. To speak the words that will touch someone’s heart at just the right time their heart needs to be touched.

I pray often, lately, for the silent nudge from God to be quiet and to listen with my heart and my ears when someone is speaking to me. For that gentle stub of my toe telling me, I do not have to have all of the answers, all of the time.

I pray for a blaring reminder not to spend my time alone worrying. I know that worrying will not change the outcome of anything other than the precious time I have left, alone.


***

Doreen, thank you for sharing something so personal with us.  Anyone who has experienced loss- expected or not- can certainly relate to your thoughts and feelings.


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3 comments:

C. Beth said...

Yes...I think we fear saying the wrong thing. Your reminder is a good one...just be there and love the person who's hurting. I want to remember that.

Garret Atherton said...

I had a friend recently post something on Facebook about dumb responses like when you say "I'm sorry" and the person responds "it's not your fault."

Doreen McGettigan said...

Thank you for having me Liz!