Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Death Startles Us

Death is not a subject that is easy to broach. Most people strive to stave off the encroachment of aging and the demise that is sure to afflict all of us.

A dear loved one is in a precarious state and all the concerns surrounding death are forced to the foreground.

I would prefer not thinking about death. I tried for a year to woo my mother back from eighteen strokes (some large, some TIAs--or transient ischemic attacks--mini strokes) and finally accepted that she was ready to move on, even if I wasn't ready to let her go. She died that afternoon, four hours after I accepted that I had to allow her to be at peace and acknowledged to God that I didn't want her to suffer for my sake--i.e. my desire to keep her here.

The quality of life has much to do with holding on or letting go. I would not wish pain and incapacity on anyone for any length of time. While pain is good for a moment; it teaches us to withdraw our fingers from the fire, to be suffering endless days of pain is not to be wished upon anyone. Functionality is important. Most people desire to feel necessary and profitable in this life. To lack capability to do anything productive or to feel unnecessary is to deny a critical aspect of what makes life worth living...leads us to feel dead even if we are not yet in the grave.

So for my loved one, I pray and commit to God the best outcome even if it does not meet my hopes of a continued vital relationship. On the one hand is loss. On the other hand is potentially a less than optimum existence, and like John Milton who wrote On His Blindness about losing that part (eyesight) which is death to hide, but lodged with him useless, we hope for more. 'Though my soul more bent to serve therewith my Maker and present my true account' I come to the resolution just as he did:'they also serve who only stand and wait.'

I feel the impotence of impending death. On the otherhand, miracles happen every day, and the rejuevenated soul is a powerful one. Life and death in the balance can be unsettling, but hope prevails against the odds. Being a 'glass half full' person, I unerringly aim for the good news and hope beyond hope.

8 comments:

Robyn said...

Sad but profound comments,Lyndsey. I hope your loved one passes from this world in peace, knowing your love is with them.
Thoughts and prayers ...
Robyn

直到遠遠 said...

辛苦了!祝你愈來愈好!........................................

Adrian Clift said...

Thanks for becoming a listener on blip.fm. I also have a public figure page on Facebook. Mostly geek stuff.

I am sorry for your loss. But it is the eternal change that comes to us all:

THE LAST HOME PLACE

PaPaw and Grandma built a total of six houses during their lives. For most folks, that is a lot. Looking back, I suppose they did that for a number of reasons, but as children we more or less took it for granted and didn't give it much thought. The last house they built, though, came to have very special meaning to us. It was where we all congregated on holidays, and the grandchildren associated the place with the loving grandparents they got to see every now and then, and with a relatively rare opportunity to play sports and such with their cousins. Brandon first "learned" to ride a bicycle there.

Grandma always loved things country, and I think for her this last house was sort of a return to her roots. Originally, the plan was to move back to Lewisburg after J. R. retired and build on 20 acres they had purchased for that purpose, but that plan was scrapped after he had a major bout with prostate cancer. After they realized he was going to be around for a while longer after all, PaPaw and Grandma bought some property at Indian Creek and Highway 72, just outside the Huntsville city limits at the time. What turned out to be their final home was built on an 8-acre plot, and I believe Grandma actually suggested the name for the street: "Country Road." Anyhow, when PaPaw died and we had to put the place on the market, I wound up eventually writing a little brochure highlighting some of the home's unique features, to supplement the materials already prepared by the real estate agent.

Getting the place ready to sell and then ready to hand over was quite a chore -- in more ways than one -- and it was on the market for a long time, but I never lost it emotionally until the very end. After all the 16-hour days, garage sales, trips to Goodwill and the city dump, etc., there was one thing left to do: remove the name "J. R. Clift" from the mailbox. Now PawPa had purchased large aluminum letters for his mailbox decades before, and had carried them with him each time they had moved. Each letter was affixed with two small screws. As I was standing alone at the road, a great distance from the house, taking off those aluminum letters one at a time with the beautifully landscaped property in full view, the gravity of what was happening suddenly hit me. At that moment I experienced a quite profound realization that things had changed forever. -ac

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