September 4, 2009

The Letter that turned the tide

A week ago, Mom K woke up and prayed as usual. She felt somewhat peaceful about the idea of making Dad K comfort care, but as soon as she stopped praying, she started to get anxious, fearful and to feel guilty about the idea.

Then she checked the mail and found this letter from my Dad*:
Dear Mom K,

These are tragic times for you. I can imagine many of your emotions because I lost my wife twelve years ago. Know that both you and Dad K are in my prayers – a gift of peace for you -- a gift of healing for him.

And healing takes many forms. With My Wife’s cancer, we had prayer teams stacked up in our living room waiting to come upstairs to pray with her. At times she was too exhausted to see them, and we had to send dear friends away. I confidently expected Jesus to heal her – and He did – but far differently than I expected.

He healed her real hurts:
  • Her lack of trust for her father; her gut feeling that she’d never had a father who loved her.
And as a result –
  • Her lack of trust for her heavenly Father.
  • And her fear of dying.
He healed all those hurts before she left us on September 28, 1997. Jesus gave her a new father – my Dad. In the final two years of their lives, they truly became loving father and daughter to each other. They talked on the phone. They corresponded. At times, quite independently of me. Because she could trust my Dad, it became easier and easier for her to trust the LORD. And then, during the last two weeks of her life, she looked forward to death. She said again and again, “I’m going home.”

All that’s background to an understanding the Holy Spirit gave me this past week. I was talking with OTRgirl on the phone when I remembered an insight that My Wife and I learned from Catherine Marshall. She made the obvious comment that, as we age, our bodies and minds deteriorate. But then, she followed up with the startling comment that for Spirit-filled Christians, our spirits continue to grow and expand, even when our minds or bodies are useless.

And if so, Dad K’s situation may be far different than what we naturally assume. We tend to see a person in a coma as being partly gone. But, if Dad K’s spirit is flourishing under the blessing of the Holy Spirit, then these may be the best days of his life.

Dad K may be longing for release from bodily imprisonment, so he can be with Jesus in his glorified body. As it says in Hebrews 11:6, he may be longing for a better country—a heavenly one. If so, what’s holding him back? Perhaps his loving care for you.

That’s the leading I’ve been getting from the Holy Spirit.

Christ’s and yours,
OTR Dad
The letter confirmed much of what had come up when she prayed. She called Jrex and his sister and told them to call the nursing home and start the process.

Then she spent the rest of the weekend going back and forth emotionally and mentally. On Sunday night, she called Jrex in turmoil. I sat and prayed while they talked. Jrex was SO articulate and compassionate: "Mom, I feel completely peaceful about this decision, emotionally, theologically, ethically. But. The most important thing is that you feel peaceful. We don't want you to feel pushed into this." Then, a little while later, "Mom, you've been a good wife. You've loved and served Dad very well. You don't need to feel guilty about this decision." In the end she felt very tired and very sad, but peaceful.

Tomorrow is the day they are supposed to withdraw care. Jrex and I are on (separate) planes at 7 am, to get to NYC by 4 pm. I'll have my laptop with me and will try to keep you posted.

*He ran it by us first and we both thought it was great.

11 comments:

Snickollet said...

What a beautiful letter. I have chills.

I know this will be a very difficult time for your whole family. I'll be thinking of you all, and I'm so glad you can be together and talk about these difficult things.

Harmless Drudge said...

We're praying--e-mail us if you need anything.

julia said...

I am not exaggerating when I say this: I am totally tearing up. And I am an Asian that doesn't cry, unless I'm watching a movie in which case the water floweth.

Here's to a peaceful farewell.

Anonymous said...

Truly beautiful, peace and comfort to all of you on the journey.

Lots of Love,
lil'sis

mary said...

And a little bit later in the same passage it says:

Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ

Thank you for sharing this amazing letter with us. Praise God that he can turn our mourning into dancing. I can't wait to meet him in heaven.

Mama Nabi said...

xox Thinking of you and JRex... it will be a tough weekend/visit. I thought your dad's letter was eloquent and heartfelt... but what JRex said to his mother got me tearing up. Big hugs.

Inkling said...

praying for you....your dad sounds like a special man...praying for mom k as she lets her husband go be with Jesus

OTR sister said...

Dad and Jrex are amazing guys. I pray you all have a loving and peaceful time in New York.

In all my life, I've never seen Mom so torn up as when her father died. I think because all of her hopes and dreams for that relationship died with him.

But yet now she's in heaven with her dad, her father-in-law and her heavenly father. A multitude of riches perhaps?

swallowflight said...

wow, what an amazing and complex journey this continues to be... i too was moved by jrex's conversation with his mom. thinking a lot of you all...

ps. i know your time in the east will be full, but i am sending you my # on fb just in case.

Anonymous said...

Praying for you all...
julie

B.E.C.K. said...

Your MIL is blessed to be surrounded with so much love (even love she doesn't know about) as she makes this difficult decision. I'm very touched by how sensitive you and your husband are to her feelings and fears. May your FIL know he can go home, secure in the knowledge that his loving wife is so well cared for.