Program D-7793

Fran and her mom are in the hospital emergency room waiting for information on Fran’s dad, who was rushed to the hospital from his office. All they know is that he had a stroke and they’re running tests on him, but they haven’t been allowed to see him; it’s been four hours since they arrived.

Fran’s aunt volunteers to pick her kids up from school and keep them till she’s home. While they wait, Fran texts many friends and family members, asking for prayer, and soon her mom’s pastor comes to sit with them, as well as some other close friends and family. It’s beginning to feel very serious, very ominous, and Fran is trying to help her mom cope with this while keeping herself from falling apart.

Suddenly there seems to be a flurry of activity with doctors and nurses going in and out, and what sounds like lots of dire messages on the intercom. A nurse comes to her mom and says, “Mrs. Taylor, we think you should see your husband now. Come with me.” She agrees that Fran can accompany her, and they walk into a room where her dad lies with all kinds of monitors and tubes on his body. But Fran notices that they are beginning to remove the tubes and turn off the monitors.

“Mrs. Taylor,” a doctor says to her mom, “your husband had a massive stroke which eventually led to heart failure. We have done everything we knew to do, but I’m so sorry to have to tell you that we were not able to save him. His heart just gave out and that, very suddenly. Our efforts to revive him simply didn’t work. I am so sorry to tell you this.”

Fran’s mind goes into denial—no, this simply is not true! They’ve made a mistake. But then she realizes that she can’t think about herself right now; she has to be there for her mom, and her mom has almost collapsed, her knees buckling beneath her. They want her to sit, but she insists on being near her husband, holding his hand, talking to him.

Their pastor and friends gather round, and with many tears and sobs, prayer is said. Someone starts to sing a hymn. Arms are all around her, offering comfort, but Fran has no idea what they’re saying. Her mind is simply not functioning. The shock is more than she can bear.

When life throws you this kind of horrific news and, in a matter of a few hours, your dearest loved one is taken from you, what can anyone do to make it easier? How do you weep with someone who is weeping?