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Monday, June 5, 2017

Do not go gentle into that good night...really?





I've got a lot on my mind today...things that are so big and weighty and feel like they could crush me if I didn't have a strong-shouldered Lord.

All my plans to plant and clean and plan for an upcoming trip are taking a backseat to my need to sit and think and pray and wait. Funny how life butts in and flings our best laid plans into the wind.

As many of you know, my mom is back in ICU, sedated, strapped down for her own good, waiting for who knows what. My dad and sister will be going to the hospital today to meet with her doctor and talk through a plan of action.

Dad called last night, and I knew from the moment I heard his shaky voice that something was wrong. And something wrong always has the word "Mom" attached to it these days.

He wanted to talk...about life. About death. About living wills and how hard it is on those who are called to figure them out.

We talked from our hearts...a sacred place that both of us have guarded for years...him, in his Swamp Yankee upbringing where emotions were to be kept private... and me, not sure if I could risk being that vulnerable. Our relationship has become a gift...still a work in progress. God knows it had to be, for such a time as this.

So, as my world narrowed and all I could hear was his bleeding heart pouring out in words, I listened. I had no answers. I am not God, though Heaven knows that many times in my life I thought I was. All I could say at the end was that I believed with all my heart that if/when the time came to make that decision, that God would give him peace that it WAS THE TIME...with no doubts or regrets. How could anyone go on if not for that?

Like I said, no one should be put in that situation. Especially after almost 60 years of marriage.

Oh, I did say one more thing...Please don't do anything until the daughters can get there to say good-bye. I don't know why I said it. It made the words he had just shared way too real.

So here I sit this morning. Waiting. Dad and my sister are now on their way to the hospital...to Mom and Doctors and words and emotions and more words and emotions. And Decisions, with a capital "D".

I have the easy part. Writing is my catharsis...it keeps me sane. Oh, and the other trick I have to keeping my sanity? Go to the bathroom, wherever you are, when you are stressed, and text someone for help...for prayer...for words of encouragement. I just told that to my sister and I'm sure she laughed, remembering how I accidentally left my phone in the nursing home bathroom last time I was up to see my Mom. I'm expecting to receive many bathroom texts today...

Something I read this morning keeps resonating through my brain...it was written by the Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas...

"Do not go gently into that good night..."

Irrationally I find myself wanting to whisper that in my mother's ear...I see myself standing by her bedside, bending down, holding tightly on to her hand...

Fight death, Mom! Your husband and your family need you to!  And besides, it's the American Way...don't back down, don't give in, don't give up.

So I read the rest of the poem...the first stanza of which is...

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.


What's funny is that I don't see my mom raging or raving. And that's not how I want to remember her. Yes, she could fight for one more day, one more week, one more month or year, but in the end, she, like all of us, must die. There's no other way to go Home.

I would not wish for her to continue on this earth forever. There is so much wonderful about this world, but there is also so much broken and fractured. No one should be here forever.

So that is where I am resting...that no matter what the outcome of today's meeting, it is good. 

And Mom, if I could say one thing to you right now, and I believe the Lord can whisper in your ear 800 miles away, this is what I would say...

"Don't rage. Just rest in His love and goodness for you. And please, please, don't be afraid...you have a Heavenly Father who will never leave you nor forsake you...He knows the way Home. And your family? Don't worry about us...we have enough memories to last us the rest of our lives...you have made us rich. Whether its here or There, Mom, we still have so much to look forward to...this is just the first Act...the best is yet to come. I love you with a never-ending love."