I wept today. I had agreed to help my friend Jean B change a dressing on the face of an 11-year-old girl named Candy. It wasn't the wound that got to me (skip to the next paragraph if you are easily grossed out); I've had my arms up to my elbows in peoples hips and insides, I've smelled foul drainage, I've seen people in pain.
The tears rolled down Candy's cheeks, an occasional sob escaping her lips, this in spite of premedication with narcotics and ibuprofen, but she allowed us to do what needed to be done. When it became too much, Jean B cradled her against her chest and allowed her to cry. That's when it happened. Her father, who had been watching in the room as we tried to figure out a different way to secure the bandage, had had enough with her tears and rebuked her, telling her to stop crying and moving (I can only guess at the words for he speaks French, but the tone and movements made his opinion clear). I sent him out of the room with the translator, to wait until we were finished.
I couldn't help but be struck by the contrast between her father and mine. Thirty-one years ago Dad's arms of love and care held me as I cried and railed when he broke the news that my younger sister probably had a brain tumor and would die. I suspect his heart was breaking, too, can't imagine that it wouldn't have been. So, too, must Candy's dad's heart be shattered as he watches his daughter suffer not just the physical pain, but the rejection of people who don't want to be around her. Would you pray that Candy's dad would find a way to comfort her, even in his grief? That his grief, his frustration, would not distance him from the daughter he dearly loves?