Thin Place – Joan Higgs

On the day I left the hospital after my granddaughter was born still, I wanted to be anywhere else. It was the most awful, helpless, heart wrenching situation I had ever faced. As I understand it now, it was my “Thin Place,” a Celtic term used to describe an event that jolts us out of our comfort zone, a place where the veil between Heaven and Earth become more transparent, a place that often changes us forever.

I did not know how my family would survive this or how I would be able to get myself together to help them. We parents always want to help our children even our adult children who are quite capable of living their lives without our help. But this. Oh, how I wanted to take away this burden from my son, his wife, and our grandson. I didn’t know then what I know now: This “thin place” would become our new normal.

We often hear from psychologists that sudden loss is the worst kind of loss. We have no time to prepare and it sometimes destroys us. While I believe that a loss is a loss, there is no easier or worse loss to endure because they all take time from which to recover and they are all difficult.

On December 23, 2007, I learned first hand about the devastation of sudden loss with the words, “There is no heartbeat.”

As I started down the hospital corridor, tears streaming from my eyes, quietly sobbing, I felt someone place an arm around my shoulder and whisper, “Are you going to be OK. Do you need anything?”

“No,” I answered. “I just need to get home.”

I couldn’t imagine whose arm was comforting me, whose voice this was. I knew nobody here. I soon learned the voice was that of a hospital custodian, a kind woman who had seen my sadness and helped me with a gentle hug. She said, “I’m not a nurse, just a custodian, but I am sorry for your loss.”

I will always appreciate the kindness of this woman who didn’t have to stop and assist me in my grief, but she did and with her direction I found my way to the car.


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