I Listen & I’ll Keep Listening

November 4, 2021

I listen as you mutter the words you have to force yourself to say. Words that I have also had to whisper and acknowledge. 

“There is nothing else they can do. They’ve given her months to live.” 

I listen as you cry and ask questions about how to accept this fatal diagnosis and this catastrophic view of the future. As I listen I feel this pain multiplied, as I hurt for you, while at the same time being reminded of the familiarity of my own story. 

I listen as your breathing quickens and your heartbeat races. I listen as the cries become screams. I sit, paralyzed by empathy and experience. I’ve been in a seat so extremely similar to the one you’re in. I wish I could switch spots with you, like a game of musical chairs. I’ll keep circling, boldly ready to take the chair so that no one else has to experience this loss. If only this was a possibility. 

I listen, wishing desperately things were different and that there were words worthy enough of this moment. Words with the ability to comfort and soothe, but words aren’t what you need, a miracle is. The same miracle I needed years before, when my mother was given the same prognosis. 

I listen as you judge the credibility of the doctors. 

I listen as you analyze the accuracy of the results. 

I listen as you reject the answers. 

I listen as you declare an error and also the ability for miraculous healing. 

I listen as you proclaim hope and faith and a future different than the one delivered. 

I listen as you cycle back and forth between belief and denial. 

I listen, still silent but paying close attention to each word that leaves your mouth.

I don’t say a word. You don’t need me to. You simply need me to listen, so I do. 

I listen to the admissions of your heart and the vulnerabilities of your soul. I listen to your pain. I listen to your anger and your confusion. I listen knowing I’ve been the mirror image and sound of this very moment, like a painful dejavu.

I listen without the ability to change the outcome but with the fierce dedication to remain with you through it all, whether it be a miracle or a mess. I listen because I love you and I support you. I listen because a long time ago you did the same thing for me, you listened. 

So I listen, even though it hurts. 

And I listen, even though it stings.

And I listen, wishing desperately that you didn’t have to say these words or experience this heartbreak. 

I listen, and I’ll keep listening. And I’ll pray and I’ll keep praying. And I’ll be here, however you need me. 

xox, Chels

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Chelsea Ohlemiller

Chelsea Ohlemiller

A thirty-something wife, mother and educator who has Indiana roots and a passionate spirit. Chelsea is a sappy romantic, coffee junkie, book collector, and person who wears her heart on her sleeve. She’s sarcastic, full of jokes, full of tears, and enjoys writing most when life gets messy or complicated. In 2017, Chelsea's mother passed away. Through her grief journey, she decided to take her mother’s advice and share her writing with the world. One day she gained the courage to honor her mother's wishes and write. It turned out to be one of the best decisions she's ever made.

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