The sacred art of listening is critical for caregivers

Those who serve the chronically ill need to be heard, too

Cazandra Campos-MacDonald avatar

by Cazandra Campos-MacDonald |

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I love the smell of a freshly painted room. The roller soaks up the new color as it moves around in the pan, waiting to be rolled onto the wall in big, broad strokes. The walls must desperately need a fresh coat of paint to soak up the new color like a sponge. The new paint’s crispness leaves a dewy glow as it covers the old, tired color that once was just as fresh and inviting.

Regardless of where it’s used, paint serves as a coverup. As the mother of two sons with severe hemophilia A with inhibitors, I know what it’s like to cover things up. I usually go into my coverup mode with two words: I’m fine.

Saying I’m fine is a knee-jerk reaction. Before I can even process the question, I’m fine is on my lips. I don’t want people to worry about my sons or me, yet I care for people in their darkest times. As a pastor, I sit with people as they pour out their hearts when grieving. I watch families cope after losing loved ones and listen intently to stories of abuse and neglect. My heart breaks for these people who come in and out of my world. I pray for them to find peace and hope through the worst times.

Why can’t I receive the same kind of care from others?

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The Art of Listening: Being Present When Someone Discloses Their Diagnosis

I have a group of girlfriends who meet weekly to have a book study and spend time supporting one another. One friend asked about my 17-year-old son, Caeleb. I had the words He’s fine on my lips, then I paused. I shared with my friends that while Caeleb isn’t actively bleeding now, the aftermath of the years of constant bleeding into his joints is causing him great pain.

While telling of my son’s plight, I felt a little embarrassed. I knew that other women in my group were dealing with terrible things in their lives. Surely, they needed to share more than I did, I thought. But in that moment as I spoke, I realized I was receiving a beautiful gift.

The gift of being present for others costs nothing but time. While I relish the moments I offer pastoral care to my congregation, I find that when I receive care, I’m overwhelmed. My friends don’t understand the plight of raising children with a rare, chronic disorder, but their presence reminds me that they love me. My friends want to comfort me and let me know I’m not alone, even though I often feel that way.

Some of the most sacred moments in life are when people are listening to each other. My mission is to use my time listening to those who are hurting. It’s time I allow others to do the same for me.

Perhaps today is the day to listen to someone.

Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.


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