Tuesday, November 30, 2010


What is dreaded (then suffered) in the lingering death of a loved one is both the dying (since recovery is not possible or at least not expected), and the dying itself. Thus, one is deeply torn: my loved one should not continue in this advanced state of decay and debility; it should end in death. Yet death, how horrible it is when it takes your loved one! Such life--if we dare to love at all--"under the sun" (Ecclesiastes) and amidst this groaning cosmos (Romans 8:18-26).


Hearts should be




at the same time.

Friday, November 26, 2010

On Not Talking to Mother

My mother has been my irreplaceable confidant. I am so lonely for her: the mother of my past, of her younger days, the mother of our conversations, and the mother of all talkers! Now the words are few that she can utter.

Oddly, I want to tell my mother about my mother's demise. I keep wanting to pick up the phone to "call Mom" about this new beguiling anguish: Mom's dying. Mom had heard most all my other complaints, laments, yearnings, hopes, frustrations--and (far fewer) joys. Now the listening ear and the speaking voice are receding, retreating, leaving me alone. in the hospice, I can tell her I love her; read Scripture to her; touch her. But I cannot "talk to Mom" any more... Not yet.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Lamenting the Loss of Sacred Space

As I left my dear mother's hospice room (called a "comfort room"), tears fresh and hot in my eyes, my heart warm with both pain and love, I looked at, then walked toward, the Catholic chapel room. I pondered entering and praying there. But, no.

The jukebox in the reception room was playing loudly in the area right next to the chapel. Even if I entered the supposedly sacred space to weep and pray, the sound of "White Room" by Cream would have drowned out too much of what was needed in that poignant moment (no matter how aesthetically excellent that piece of music is in its own right in its own place).

Even a Catholic chapel could not save me from wrongful noise. I left and wept on my way...in the silence of the truck--and before the face of my God.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Last Chapter

No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were: any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee."--John Donne.

I will soon be with an aged loved for her last journey of this world. While tested in giving care for chronic illness (and with a very mixed record), I am utterly untested in helping someone die. Others have given counsel and prayer, but I have no experience; I feel fear and dread. Yet love compels me to take courage.

Monday, November 8, 2010

From The Book of Common Prayer

For Recovery from Sickness

O God, the strength of the weak and the comfort of sufferers: Mercifully accept our prayers, and grant to your servant N. the help of your power, thathis sickness may be turned into health, and our sorrow into joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

or this

O God of heavenly powers, by the might of your command you drive away from our bodies all sickness and all infirmity: Be present in your goodness with your servant N., that his weakness may be banished and his strength restored; and that, his health being renewed, he may bless your holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.