June 26, 2006
The Solitary Vigil
Against the wind, lone palm in the tidal zone Pohiki Puna Big Island of Hawaii
Hoku, Im sorry, your mother's wishes have been denied, and they have inserted a feeding tube. No one could stop this, and we here waited to tell you, because we were not sure what we should do...
As my cousin spoke I was reminded of this post written in December of 2004
, the last time I saw her, and we spoke of this time that would come in the future...
"I want to die"
"Why wont God take me"
Mom plays these video tapes of Bill Gaither, some are pretty old and a lot of the older singers are long gone to glory. She will recite who is and isn't here with us and then she pointed at Rich Mullins who was guesting on one of these recorded concerts... He was killed in an accident a few years ago... And Mom said " Why would God take that young man in the prime of his life and leave me here?"
There is of course no answer for that...
She says that she is not afraid to die one minute then is the next... That's pretty human, but we are a family that is so pragmatic about death that we shock and upset people with our casualness about it. This is because we are well acquainted with it, My father was a suicidal manic depressive and both he and Mom felt it was best that we children knew what that was all about and how to deal with it. I am grateful for that... So her comments surprised me.
It also doesn't surprise me. I would want to take the easy way out of I was in her situation at least I would be tempted to take a gun to myself, as I wouldn't want to live that way, but then if God wills it then He will give me a way to handle it. So I trust Him.
Moms crisis of faith surprises me. Remember the teabag... I don't want to be like this. We had a daily discussion of death. "Why wont God take me...?" I am afraid to die." I was able to tell her that she has nothing to fear. I have had a near death or actual death experience. ( the nurse overheard my talking and was fascinated. She said I was likely dead as my blood pressure was 65/40, and I was in cardiac arrest from anaphlyctic shock) I can tell you that it was the most peaceful warm fuzzy feeling. There was the light and tunnel like visual but my vision had a corona sort of light field around the peripheral of my vision. But I was not afraid.
I spoke of her brother who told her that" death was a part of living and her wasn't afraid of it" He died a beautiful peaceful death after a long illness.
For the Believer, death is the beginning, the door to the great adventure, to our real life. I was disturbed by the doubts in her mind.
It left me often deeply sad. I would leave the nursing home really depressed...Always putting her fate in the Hand of One Who Knows What is Best... For it is beyond me to do anything else.
I have been told that she is not in a coma but is in a non responsive state. She has shut down and is beyond us... she has given up, I think. I know that this last 4 years has been more than most of us could bear... unable to move speak or swallow at the last. Eventually she will not be able to breathe. The doctors fearing a lawsuit put the feeding tube in... it only prolongs the enevitable
As my cousin explained what had happened, I realized something profound was at work in my own heart. As I have spoken of in the past, both Woody and I have been studying Roman Catholic theology and while much of it is still in the relm of discussion and we dont agree either between us or with the dogmas directly, the church's position on life and the preservation of life is unequivicable, and we both profess to stand with it... You preserve life and do nothing to thwart it. This was illistrated in living color by the final days of the late John Paul II, and his own struggle with Parkinsons. Do we belive that God is the giver of life or not? Do we have faith to believe that He is in control of everything including the doctor that made this decision, perhaps to cover his own behind?...yes of course...
It was also dramatically lived out with the struggle for the life of Terri Schaivo... The discussion is, do we reinact that horrorible situation between Mother's caregivers and our family? In an instant I knew the answer...
No... Rather than fight it out in the courts of the law of the land, I am choosing to fight it out in the courts of the Almighty, on my knees. God is the giver of life and He will determine the date of Mother's Homegoing... and perhaps she is already there. I pray that in this in between state that she is in a place in her mind that is safe and beautiful and where she wants to be... That she is free at last of the shackles of a earthly body and if not in God's presence, in a place of peace and rest... I pray that her solitary vigil in between heaven and earth will be short and that soon she will be in the presence of her Saviour and Lord