Loss & Grief Survival Kit
Module 4 page 3
To share the sorrow
of another person is painful,
but it enriches your spirit - Larry Yeagley
Every time a broken heart is healed we witness one of the greatest miracles through the care of the Great Physician. The healing of personal afflictions such as cancer or paralysis is indeed inspiring. However, the healing of a life broken with grief, which enables the person to live and love creatively again has to be the greatest evidence that God has intervened and restored that life.
Broken hearts are everywhere craving to be healed.
It is God's business to heal broken hearts. Jesus said, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed." (Luke 4:18). He calls each one of us to be partners with Him in the ministry ofhealing broken hearts.
While God can bring a life to full recovery through the caring concern and help of people like you and me, it is important to remember that although the hurt may be gone, the scars remain.
The following story is quoted from the last chapter of Grief Recovery to illustrate how healing takes place. Larry Yeagley speaks with Maria who introduced herself to the group in one of his grief recovery seminars.
"I am Maria." she announced, "and I had cancer of the breast a few years ago. I couldn't believe it at the time, but I felt sure they'd take care of it."
"Is that the most recent loss that you have experienced, Maria?" I asked.
"No. You see, I just came from the hospital a week ago and they told me I have cancer of the lung."
As she broke this news to us she was smiling and laughing in a nervous manner.
"I told the doctor I don't want those treatments," she continued. "I'll go through without them."
Sitting next to Maria was a fourteen-year-old boy. It was his turn to introduce himself.
"I'm Joey. Ah ... I ... ah, I'm not as old as a lot of you here, but I've been having some trouble with sleeping and eating and all," he shared in a thin voice.
"How long has this been going on, Joey?" I asked.
"Well, it's off and on. Just about the time I think I am OK, all of a sudden this comes on me. You see, my brother ran away from home four years ago and he hasn't come back. I never hear from him. My little sister, - she died of leukemia three years back. She was real sick." Joey paused at this point and put his head down. With a great effort he lifted his head and continued.
"I don't want to upset you or anything, but you see, my father murdered my mother two and a half years ago. My sister and I came home from school and found her. We called the cops and they came and then my father got put in jail."
A great sigh came from his thin chest as he said, "Whew, I guess I never told anybody like this before. It feels good to get it out."
I looked over to Maria and noticed she wanted to talk again. She told us more about her illness - again with smiles and nervous laughter.
"Maria," I asked, "how is it that you tell us such a sad story with a smile and laughter?"
At that point the smile vanished from her face. A torrent of tears came. Angry words against doctors and family came pouring from her lips. The mask was taken away to reveal the ravages of the disease.
For the next four weeks Maria engaged in thinking, writing and talking. She participated in the group process. She was very honest about her feelings. I could tell that the slow process of healing was taking place.
Several months after the therapy sessions had ended I received a phone call from Maria. She was hospitalised in another city. She asked me to visit her.
I entered Maria's room in the oncology ward. Her first words saddened me.
"Larry, the doctors just told me that the cancer has spread to my brain. I guess this is the last trip," she said. "But you remember how angry I was in our sessions. I want you to know that I am not angry any more. I was able to get it all out in those sessions. Now I find myself having a lot of love for everybody. When the nurses are here I tell them that God loves them and I love them too. I told the doctor that the other day and he gave me a big hug and a kiss before he left."
"Sounds like you've been doing a lot of growing, Maria," I added.
"Oh, I guess so. . . . Larry, do you remember Joey?"
"How could I forget him?" I said.
"You didn't know it, but after our session I hugged Joey with all my strength and told him that if I were twenty years younger and didn't have cancer, I'd be his Momma. I love that little boy."
As I left Maria I gave her a hug and a kiss. She told me that God loves me and that she loved me too.
I walked to my car in a state of shock. I had just seen a miracle - the healing of a broken heart.
That night I received a phone call from Joey.
"Larry, this is Joey. You remember that grief recovery thing I went to? Well, I got a letter from one of the ladies saying she was putting $300 in the bank for me for when I go to college." His words all ran together.
"Did she sign her name?" I asked
"No, Larry. There's no name, but I know who wrote it. It was that lady who sat next to me."
"Maria," I said to myself. "The miracle is now confirmed.
It is God's business to heal broken hearts
It is our business to help