And you yourself a sword will pierce. (Luke 2:35)
When Joseph and Mary take Jesus to the Temple for the customary rituals for a first-born male, Simeon, whom God had promised would not die before he had seen the Messiah, looks at Mary and utters these fateful words. The Gospels record that Mary stood and watched as her son was crucified thus fulfilling the prophecy of the old man. Ever since that moment, she has become a powerful patron of parents who must watch a child suffer and die.
As the life expectancy average continues to grow through advances in medical science, more and more children are also having to care for their parents in old age. Sometimes this means caring for a parent in his or her final illness. Caring for a loved one who is ill is a daunting task. The physical task itself is difficult in itself, but the emotional toll is far worse. The feelings of helplessness and grief are surely as hard or harder to bear as one watches a loved one suffer.
Whether we are speaking of children who find themselves caring for a failing parent, a parent who must watch as a child succumbs to a terminal illness, or a spouse who is forced to watch a beloved life partner slip away, the emotional toll is significant. Caregivers suffer a special kind of pain and suffering. It is no easier than the pain and suffering of the one afflicted. Truly they know the pain of being pierced by this sword of suffering.
For over sixty years, CUSA has given people with chronic illnesses and disabilities the support of others who suffer the same fate. Through prayer and support CUSAN’S have reached out to one another in times of need and loneliness. For the first forty years or so, this was done through the post office. Ever since the advent of e-mail, a new mode of communication has replaced that kind of mail. No matter whether they receive the support through the mail or through their computers, CUSANS have found solace in the words of people who know their pain.
At this point in our history, CUSA is opening itself up to those who suffer as they care for another. By linking such people together, it is our hope to bring them the benefits of having an understanding family of friends who will keep them close in thoughts and prayers. Through mutual correspondence CUSANS have realized the redemptive nature of suffering. At this time, we would like to offer the same experience for those who care for another.