Posted by: rosanneromero | March 4, 2009

The Lord Lifts the Fallen

  I should have had an article ready first week of June but on June 5,  I couldn’t think of anything else but  dad’s ruptured aneurism.  The best doctors worked on  saving his life.  And they did too.  The operation was a  huge success.  I would have written an article right then and there.

 Except  something clogged  the circulation down dad’s leg and I couldn’t think of anything else again except him lying in the operating room a second time. 

 The doctors said he was  getting better.  In fact, they took him off the respirator.   I would have written an article again at that happy moment.

Except, he caught pneumonia.  They  had to put him back on the respirator.  And I couldn’t think of anything else except  how a tube like that  gets shoved down a person’s throat —.  down my father’s throat..    Day and night, all I had in mind was dad being  ‘re-intubated’’.   He got better again and then he  caught pneumonia a second time!  And then  something called sepsis,   and then massive bleeding.

 Seven weeks in the ICU narrowed my world.  The Abu Sayyaf  was wreaking havoc, the peso was falling — I couldn’t care less..  All my IQ could absorb  were the  notes he scribbled.  Like:  “Prayer better than medicine;  God always knows what He’s doing.”    Such solid faith.  He’s going to pull through.

 But one Wednesday morning in July, our family stood by his bed  as life ebbed out of him.  I recalled Psalm 30.

“What gain is there in my destruction…

Will the dust praise you?  Will it proclaim your faithfulness?”

 I was balking and sobbing like crazy—“What glory could dad’s dying bring?”   What is grief?  At the wake,  I looked at mom.  I looked at each of us who had lost dad and I realized that the  word heartbroken is not just a metaphor.   I’m not  sure why we hold wakes.   Trite platitudes abound..

                       “Keep busy.  Don’t cry so much.  It’s not good for you.”

                      “There, there, it’s okay…he’s in heaven now so don’t cry.  Be      

                        happy” 

                     “ There, there, it’s okay…he had 78 years of a good life, now the                               Lord has   called him home”

            Funny.  The last one’s like saying “It’s about time he died.”

 Believe me,  words don’t diminish grief.  Hugs and hands to hold work better.

 In the Hebrew ritual of mourning, friends come to be with the mourner.  They SAY NOTHING.  They simply sit close to the mourner.  Their mere presence brings comfort. 

Bereaved people need a place to grieve freely without having to dodge  ‘holy, good-intentioned  bullets.’    I’m not sharing this to heap guilt on anybody.  I say all sorts of stupid things, too, you know.   I’m sharing this so we can all be more tender upon someone’s death. 

          Scripture says in Psalms 145:14

              “The Lord lifts the fallen and those bent beneath their loads.”

 We can  make our friends feel this  more concretely.  Not with our words.  But with our presence.   (Kerygma January 2002)

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