How to be a Comforter

While I was in Belize, I was working on a second book idea about how to be a comforter–how to help someone who is hurting. During my time away I received a powerful email from one of my blog readers. She sent me a piece she wrote about helping her sister. I am honored to share her private journal with you today (used by permission.)

My publisher asked me if people are really seeking a book on how to help someone through a difficult situation. I would love my reader's opinions on this subject! Please feel free to share your ideas on this topic as well as offer messages of encouragement to our guest writer today. 

A Birthday–A Story of Sisters by Sharon O.

Today is my sister Mary's birthday. It is a miracle we thought would never happen.

2006, she was put on hospice with the diagnosis of death pending. She
was wheelchair bound, as she slumped over in the chair, with her 90
pound starving frame. One really won't understand it all, without the
pictures. They paint a picture of our reality in ways, that words can
never do.
Her husband died before she did on July 26th, 2006. He was
her caregiver.

It was a sad and horrible day for us all. Unexpected.
Shocking. Numbing.

My sister who was dying just became a widow.We
brought her home in the quiet silence of the car, each of us in our own
thoughts. She slept.

Soon our family room became a resting place for
the dying.
Instead, she lived. Her desire to live was
stronger, than the force within her, to die.

Even though we helped
save a life. It was a journey none of us would ever want to repeat.

was drowning in the sea of alcoholism, and like life guards, we jumped
in and saved her. It was hard, it was really hard. I don't know how
to swim, so it was very exhausting for me especially. We gave round the
clock care. I slept by her bed on a cot for 6 weeks. Giving medications,
every two hours, and spoon feeding her bites of mild foods.

the demons out of her daily.

It was an incredibly hard experience,
yet in the midst of the difficulty, we had some comedy relief.
the middle of the night, when I was SO exhausted to take her outside to
smoke. I gave her one that was unlit, as she laid in her bed. She
smoked it for 4 days. The same cigarette. Not ever realizing, it was
never lit. I just leaned over her hospital bed with a dish, and said 'dump
your ashes', and she did. There were none, but she didn't know or care.
She wanted her cigarette. I would watch her inhale and exhale pretend
smoke. Feeling relieved I did not have to go out in the dark of the

The hospice team said it was a great idea. We have all laughed
at the image of her, in bed smoking the unlit cigarette. I was just
very tired and smoking was not important to me.

In six weeks, we
brought her down from a massive amount of straight vodka, to two small
doses, prescribed. You can't totally remove all alcohol it has to be
removed slowly. Her doctor was marvelous and knew what he was doing. He
believed in the process, and helped us through many difficult moments.
The hospice team extremely helpful, and most of all the chaplain.

four years later, she is alcohol free. Healthy. Living in an assisted living home, and
thriving. She weighs 156 pounds and her brain is coming back.

is a story of love, sacrifice, hope and sisterhood.

It is a story of family. Our

A journey of life, death, and life again.

So today I wish my sister a Happy 57th Birthday. I am thankful that she can enjoy her grandchildren now. Be healthy for
her children, and even be healthy for us. In
fact I tease her now; saying to her, "you better take classes on how to
take care of the elderly. You will probably be taking care of ME some

If you would have asked me, could I ever do all that? I
would have said NO WAY. I am not a caregiver.

God brings to each one
of us different seasons of our lives. If we are not prepared, He will
give us the strength, the patience and the willing heart to do what
needs to be done, for that season.
We brought my sister home to die,
in a safe place so she would not be alone. We had no idea what we were
doing, but God was with us through the process.

This story is about her journey.

It is a story of

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