A couple of weeks ago my wife had a surgery to remove her leg about 8 inches below the knee. It was and is a traumatic time for her especially and for all who know her. As we have reflected on the experience it is apparent that the same signs of grief that accompany the death of a loved one also accompany this kind of loss as well–disbelief, anger, guilt, acceptance, rage, disappointment, sadness, disbelief/denial, guilt, anger, acceptance–you understand how that process goes and goes.
Her mother and I have been with her from the time of that surgery and I was with her during the two weeks prior to that dealing with the events that led to the surgery. But one of the greatest outpourings of emotion was from fellow church members when they saw her the Sunday after she returned home from a week of rehab. Lots of smiles and words of encouragement but also the shedding of tears for her loss and shedding of tears as some realized how healthy she now is–tears of relief and joy.
Who do you know who has experienced a loss? We are usually attentive to those who have lost loved ones in death. We sometimes minister to those who have suffered the loss of a loved one in divorce or through child custody issues. Children are often big-time losers and are much less capable of dealing with grief–even though they experience it. Others lose jobs or homes or property and experience grief. But consider those who have dealt with a loss due to surgery–if they view it as a loss they DO experience grief. Understand the anger that may be expressed and the guilt and sadness and denial, and help that person work through those things. I am reminded of the statement from the apostle Paul to the Corinthians: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Cor 1:3-4). God comforts us and we take His comfort and use it to comfort others with their troubles.