My father is old and very ill. My mother is taking care of him. She is very sad, stressed and weary from this task. I try to help when I can. My question is, what can be done for her emotionally? Also, can I do anything to help my father be less frightened of this? My son (15) is also having difficulty with this situation. I guess we are all just not sure what to do. Thanks for anything you can offer. (From student correspondence)
None of us can do for anyone else, be this parent or child, what we haven't first done for ourselves; how can we help another understand a situation that we've yet to master? And we are able to "know" the fear of death (before the time for it comes in our own life) so thoroughly that it loses its power. The same holds true for all negative, self-limiting states including anxiety, confusion, and the stress associated with these dark thoughts and feelings. So, go to work on yourself; Christ put it this way: "Physician, heal thyself!"
The more we learn the truth about ourselves, the freer we become to help others do the same and find the same freedom; and this kind of celestial courage -- the light of it -- is all that really counts in times of darkness, regardless of who is visited by them.