But I understand.
I understand this virus is lasting around twenty-four hours, and I understand there is absolutely nothing I can do to make the roiling stomach feel remotely better. I also understand being alone in misery is more miserable, so I lay a blanket across her aching body and plop a pillow on the floor beside her. I lie close enough for my hand to touch her back. She moans but says nothing.
And we lie there.
She slips in and out of sleep, and I stay where I am.
Sometimes when there is nothing you can do to make things better, the best thing to do is just be.
My mind wanders through care bags for caregivers, Thanksgiving Day possibilities, and the hope that no one else in the house gets this bug, and as it wanders, her voice steps across my mental path. The words are weak, and the voice is tired, but I hear her heart loud and clear.
“Thank you for staying with me. You’re amazing.”
I smile and give a finger pat. “I love you, too.”
She knows, and it isn’t the words that tell her. It’s the warmth.
It’s her mom lying on a floor less than four feet from a comfortable bed because she knows the tile floor understands stomach upset in a way a pillow can’t. It’s everything else that isn’t getting done while I lie there and do nothing…except love her.
Is there anything like the paradox of love that screams its powerful active presence in its quiet, gentle being? Is there anything that affords me the opportunity to be so amazing by being so…nothing? Is there anything else in the world that shows me to be so useful when I really am so useless?
How outlandishly absurd is that?!
But it works.
And when you’re lying on the floor thanking God for cold tiles because of a stomach virus run amuck……or at the hospital waiting for news because things look bad…
...or staring at a life gone wildly wrong and wondering how it got that way...
…or face down anywhere else where life has left you feeling no one knows your misery or really can understand…
Love…even when it can be nothing but present…isn’t absurd…or insane…or silent.
That is when it is most amazing.