“My closest childhood friend died last year, and I spent many long days and nights by her hospice bed. Here’s my simple advice: Take off your coat, put your phone away, and find something to do – leafing through a magazine, knitting, working on a crossword puzzle – that communicates that you’re available to help or chat but don’t need to be entertained.” Old-Fashioned Niceties for the Modern World, by Catherine Newman, Real Simple Magazine, April, 2016

My daughter-in-law knew just what to do after my surgery.

“Get her some ice chips.”

She knew my throat would be sore.

She wouldn’t let anyone tell me about a possible complication of my surgery because it was late in the evening. She told me she would come back in the morning and explain everything.

And she did!

I didn’t have the complication, but the explanation and procedure they would do to correct it was scary!

She didn’t stay with me all of the time; but when she was there she was busy:

  • straightening up the room
  • arranging my get well cards and gifts where I could see them
  • making sure I had something to drink
  • trying to get me to eat
  • making my other visitors feel comfortable (a toy for that infant visitor from her purse)
  • calming me down…

At one point, the pain was getting me down and I asked about her recovery when her gall bladder was removed. (This is my first, and last, surgery.)

She answered my question, and then stated, “Remember, I have had 6 surgeries…and the first one was brain surgery…and I was 13!” (That put everything in perspective!)

Yes, she understands suffering. She knew what I needed because she has been the patient in the bed.

She didn’t talk all of the time, she read the paper, and watched TV with me. That’s what you do when your friend is suffering in pain or in grief.

Job 2:13, “Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and nights. No one said a word to Job, for they saw that his suffering was too great for words.” New Living Translation

How do you ease suffering?

Just show up!

Dear Father God,

Thank you for the things I learned following my surgery. I have the tools I need to comfort my family when it is their turn for an operation. I pray for those who are suffering now, whether it is from pain, grief, or a difficult test. Comfort them. Let them feel Your love.

In Jesus Name,


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