Holding Space~~by Christine Larsen

One beloved, long-term partner is in pain. The other fusses around, plumps the pillows, tweaks the blanket a little smoother. “What can I do for you? Should I call the doctor? The ambulance?” And the suffering partner says, “Just love me.” The carer thought that was what they were doing with all their attentive actions. Gradually they realise the act of ‘being there’; touching, holding, emotionally walking close alongside on this final journey, requires only the quiet but steady warmth of their love. Only? That is only everything to the needy one.

That’s ‘holding space’.

Another long-term couple share her last hours exactly as she has wished; not in a hospital bed, not connected to countless, soul-less machines. She lies on their old, worn lounge, just a shadow of herself now. Surrounding her with his love, he holds her hand and reminisces about so much they have shared from that amazing first meeting of eyes… of hearts… and souls. They whisper, “I love you forever,” and her peace is absolute.

That’s ‘holding space’.

When you’re giving your full empathetic attention to another who’s distressed, lost, ‘in need’ — with no judgement, no rush to try to solve their problems with platitudes; when you totally accept them, warts and all, whether or not you really understand their sorrow and fears, you are empowering them. You are telling them by your acceptance that you believe in their strength and ability to deal with their crisis.

That’s ‘holding space’.

Allowing another person to express themselves without fear of judgement or whether they are ‘telling their story right’ is like creating a bubble around them to protect them from the world and its intrusions; like giving them freedom to think and feel exactly ‘in the moment’. Remind yourself, over and over, it is not your job to solve their situation. It is your job to just be with them, loving them through this part of their life journey; hearing them with your heart; echoing their thoughts and emotions; always acknowledging their right to feel the way they do.

That’s ‘holding space’ in a most special way.

And what of the survivors of those first stories of long-term partnerships? What of their space when their loved one has peacefully slipped into that final sleep? Woven into their grief and loss will be a precious ‘knowing’ they recognised exactly what their loved one wanted… and willingly, lovingly, held open the door to their new reality, to simply ‘be there’, fully embracing the moment.

Having learned the lesson so well, the survivor’s greatest reward will be the ability to accept the hole in their heart that no other can fill; comfortably and comfortingly indulging in a large dose of self-kindness. It’s not suppressing or denying the pain of the loss; rather an acceptance of the inevitability of Life and the risk we take when first we love.

That’s ‘holding space’ for themselves.

OMP Admin Note: Christine Larsen is a writer, farmer, wife, mother, and grandmother from Australia. She has never been homeless or had significant cancer – yet – but has had exposure to both – creating a great sense of empathy and desire to help in any way she can. She is humbled by the opportunity to give one of her stories to the sincerely worthwhile causes of Cancer research and Homelessness.

Christine contributed A Bonny Wee Lassie to the One Million Project: Fiction anthology.

To find out more about Christine and her work:

ceedee moodling  (Christine’s website)

Christine Larsen, Author

 – on Wattpad

–  on Facebook

– on Tablo

– on Amazon

Old McLarsen had some Farms (farming memoirs)

ceedee4kids (Christine’s children’s book site)

Our short story anthologies written by over 100 writers are now available (links below) with all proceeds being donated to the charity organizations our group supports.

If you are a Kindle Unlimited member, you can read the complete anthology for FREE, and KU proceeds are donated along with the proceeds from the sale of our anthologies.

Our volunteer authors love to see reviews, and every review helps to make the One Million Project’s books more visible to Amazon customers, assisting us in our mission to raise One Million Pounds / Dollars for EMMAUS Homeless Programs and Cancer Research UK.






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