Thursday, September 14, 2006

My blogging is going to be sporadic for the next while...not sure if writing here will be helpful through this process or not. Bear with me.

Here I sit, listening to the rain pour down. My father is in hospital in town here, in the last difficult stages of pulmonary fibrosis. He was diagnosed four years ago, and has been in a slow decline ever since; but just as the summer weather ended and autumn weather hit us, he began dying in earnest. My sisters are arriving from their various parts of the continent, and we sit by his side, trying to help ease his discomfort in his last days.

He is at peace with dying. Mom is settled in a comfortable, easily manageable apartment, all his daughters are happily married and walking in relationship with God...so he is at peace. All his loose ends are tied up. He knows he is going to Heaven. But death is still something to be fought against, even when you aren't afraid of it. The body can't seem to help but fight it.

These aren't easy times, but I am glad I am here through this process anyway. The thing that kept hitting me yesterday was the reality of this. It doesn't get any more real than this. It felt TOO real, and I spent quite a bit of time crying.

Won't be long now.

3 comments:

toomanywhatifs said...

Hey, know we're praying for you...

Belladonna said...

Paula,

Years ago I lost both of my parents unexpectedly in the very same week (although they lived in different towns and hadn't spoken for years) and than after that lost an adult step-daughter. In each case, I had people come up to me and ask "is there anything we could do?" Some were just being polite, but others really meant it. However, I was too much of an emotional zombie to answer coherently, even though I was indeed struggling and could have used some support I could not name.

So what I have learned to be helpful to others who are facing major losses is to create the "blessing jar". I take a mason jar and in it I put a bunch of strips or squares of paper that each has something written on it that the person would be comfortable accepting from others. For some this may be physical tasks like "mow the grass" or "take my car to get the oil changed" for others it may be "write a letter telling what you remember about ____" or please make a copy of any favorite picture you have of ____ to go in our keepsake box. Whatever the things are depends on who the jar is for. (For instance, what would feel the most suportive for YOU might be different from what would be helpful for your Mom, so you could each have very different jars.)

Then, during the time when a family's energy is consumed with a bedside vigil, or later during the various stages of grieving, when someone wants to know what they could do you just point to the jar and say - "pick one if you choose, and may you be blessed for your kindness."

When I was a little kid I used to think that when someone died those left behind must get really, really hungry because all the church ladies kept bringing in food. We do that because we want to help and don't know what else to do. Sometimes a little nudge for something you could REALLY use is more helpful than another casserole.

Just a thought.

May the Holy Spirit be with all of your family at this sacred time.

papa herman said...

Paula,

You all are in my prayers.

~herman