Today marks the 9th day our Dad has been in the hospice home. This is the 9th day he has been without food or water. Just about every organ in his body has shut down, his body has withered to skin and bones, he can no longer see, he doesn’t respond to sounds, and he can no longer move on his own.
He is in a coma state, and yet he hangs on.
“I spoke to him about letting go,” the kind hospice nurse told us, “We talked about how it is okay for him to relax and allow God to take him home.”
My Dad is a Christian. He has trusted Jesus Christ as his Savior. He is not afraid of death. He has peace with where he is going when he dies.
And yet he hangs on.
Why does he hang on? He hangs on because he still has some idea that he has more life to live.
Witnessing the slow and painful death of our Dad has been a very thought provoking journey. Pain is the feeling that is sustaining him. As long as he feels pain, he believes that there is still hope for him to work through it and get better.
Our Dad is not going to get better. In this instance, pain is a symbol encouraging surrender. It is a sign that all is lost, and a reminder that nothing in his present state will get better.
We stopped by to see him yesterday in an effort to say good bye. We thought that might help him to relax and release himself into the arms of God.
It didn’t work. Apparently Dad isn’t looking for assurance from us. The only thing he is looking for is assurance from himself.
I’m thankful for the reality that beyond pain is peace. As our Dad rests peacefully in his coma state, I’m praying that God is speaking to him in this peaceful state.
I’m praying that God is reminding him that he has nothing left to offer this world, and encouraging him to let go and let Him usher him into the heavenly realm.
In the spring I read through a book entitled, “Necessary Endings” by Dr. Henry Cloud. The book reminded me of the negative impact of holding on to that which should be let go.
Death is a natural part of life. We see it in nature, relationships, and in human nature. “There is a time to be born and a time to die,” Ecclesiastes chapter 3 reminds us. Yes, death is a natural part of the cycle of life.
But even though it is a natural part, it’s not the most lovely part, isn’t it? Gardens overgrown with brown wilted stalks, couples that treat each other with contempt, workplaces without committed workers, homes no one has a heart to care for – these are all earthly reminders of the reality that death brings. Death brings the end of life.
My Dad thinks he is living, but in reality he has no life. He has breath, and that’s about it.
I think this time of watching our Dad hold fast to something that really isn’t there has caused each one of my family members to look at their own lives and consider what’s really going on in their own lives. I know that it has caused me to take time to consider.
I don’t want to be holding on to anything that I should be letting go of.
It takes courage to let go of things that are familiar. It takes courage to take inventory and accept the season of death in some areas.
I’m asking God to give me the same courage that I’m asking Him to give my Dad – courage to let go of that which has died, and to grab a hold of the beauty of life that is standing before us.
*Our Dad finally let go on Sunday, August 6th at 2:15 pm. There were three of us there holding his hand as he left this earth to spend eternity in Heaven with God.