Friday, April 18, 2014

Not just another Holy Thursday...

Hi all,  it seems like it's been forever since I blogged.  I've been in a weird place and haven't been the most pleasant person to deal with. I am looking so hard at 50 that I can taste it and it's freaking me out a bit.   I also started reading the "Bible in 365 days" and it is confusing and weird.  It's not so much that I don't believe there is a God...someone or something much bigger than me but the whole way things were back then and what are we are to take from it.  So, needless to say, I am falling away some and trying to wrap my head around faith, love and who we are supposed to be in this life. Tough to admit because I like my faith wrapped up all neat and tidy.  

Earlier in the week, I admitted a man to hospice that was pretty young and pretty sick.  I mean, this guy had been ill his whole adult life.  He went about his life, ill, and had kids, worked and set up his wife for the future.  As a matter of fact, I never even knew he was ill for most of the time I knew his family.  He just made the best of his life that he was given.

Sitting on his couch explaining what  Hospice care is, he asked a number of very direct questions that, at first, took me off guard.  "How will I die, and procedurally, what happens after with my body?"  I sat still...trying to act unfazed as his wife cried softly by his side. I answered each question one by one and waited for the next one. When he finished, I asked him to think of anything else he wanted to know.  He didn't think he had anymore questions and wanted to "get the show on the road."  I stated that he seemed ready and it must be hard to say goodbye to which  he replied, "I've already made my mind up, but I'm sure it's going to be hard for my family" and got quiet.

The show got on the road that day and I've been making visits daily, thinking he would have a few days before we got into the hardest part of the process.  Yesterday morning, I got a call from his wife saying he wasn't doing well.  I arrived 15 minutes later and could see that we were already getting close.  When he said he was ready, he really was.  I told the wife to go and get a breath of fresh air if she wanted, thinking we were in for a long day. When she got back, I had washed up the patient and fixed the sheets on the bed.  I told her to get in and she snuggled up next to him and grabbed his hands and arms.  She put her face next to his and told him how much she loved him and that he was a wonderful man.  She thanked him for their time together and I watched him settle down and relax.  I excused myself from the room because the intimacy of that moment was exactly what every human being wants when the chips are down.  They needed to be alone. 

About 15 minutes later, when I walked in to check on them, she was still with him, holding his hands and arms, her face close to his, with tears running down her face.  "I think he's gone" she said knowing it was true.  And he was.  He had a small grin on his face and the furrowed brow that had made it's home between his eyes was gone too.  He had let go in the arms of his cohort of 30 years, his fighter when he was too sick to fight himself...his soul mate. 

I stood there in shock at the profound quiet in the room and the peace that had taken over.  I quietly thanked my God for such a sweet and quick passing and for all the things that came together for it to be that way.  She just stayed in place, holding him and feeling the warmth drain from his body, trying to remember.  I could see she was so sad yet so relieved that he was finally out of pain and at peace.  Most of her last year was about supporting him and being his soft place to land when things got tough.  

As I finished my work at the home, I sat in my car and thought about God and religion and who we are supposed to be.  I thought about who I would be should Jim get ill.  Would I be able to support him and be his soft place to land when the chips were down?  So far, in our lives, I haven't been. I thought about the deep abiding love between humans, the deep love of our kids, our significant others and even folks we don't know. I thought about my understanding of God...which is  love and  how sometimes religion doesn't focus so much on that.  Some religions, probably all at one time or another, have it wrong. 

Yesterday was Holy Thursday and I didn't make it to the service.  I felt like I had already got to glimpse into what I think the face of God is...a grieving wife, now widow, who held and loved her husband out of this life into the next one.  Funny thing is,  she wasn't anything fancy or overly equipped...she just loved him her whole life and had the strength to keep going when she really would have rather given up.  They had  a connection and abiding love that is present through the good, boring, bad and even through death...what I know and believe of the love of God for us.  

Yesterday, I saw that love plus the test of time, illness and death...a glimpse of pure, holy love.  I think that is what we are supposed to be working towards here...in our lives...right now.  The love that transends the human issues and we get the heart to heart connection and really hear each other.  Seems to me lately, when I am farthest away or questioning my faith the most, I am witness to this kind of strength and love...what I call the holy times...the times when I get to see the face of my God in the people I care for.  

Yesterday was Holy Thursday or Maundy Thursday or Thursday, April 18 and I got to see the face of God in a sweet wife as she loved her man out of here.  I would say that was church enough for one day.

We'll tawk tomorrow,
I love you all,


Ms. Moon said...

You. Yes. I love you. I always have. The families that have you to help ease them into a death are lucky. Oh Terry.
I miss you.

Marcia Henderson said...

That was beautiful. I'm pretty sure this is my friend's husband. What a great tribute you've written.

Elizabeth said...

I've been reading your blog for years, Terry Joy, and this might be one of my favorite posts that you've ever written, and you've written so many beautiful ones. I think you're one of the purest people that I know, and your authentic spirituality is of great comfort to someone like me who wrestles more often than not with the dark angels.