Sunday, February 24, 2013


I shall know why – when Time is over –
And I have ceased to wonder why –
Christ will explain each separate anguish
In the fair schoolroom of the sky –

He will tell me what "Peter" promised –
And I – for wonder at His woe –
I shall forget the drop of Anguish
That scalds me now – that scalds me now!

~ Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)


  1. Today, I got a heartbreaking email from my mother-in-law's second husband J.

    My mother-in-law has end stage Alzheimer's. J had to put her in a nursing home in November 2009.

    When she gets to the point that she can't hold her head up, she won't be able to eat. That complication is coming soon. Poor John! He doesn't want her to have a gastric tube, nor does he want her to die of aspiration pneumonia. As an atheist (an angry one), J doesn't believe that he'll ever see her again after she departs this life.

    He goes to the nursing home to feed her every day and cannot bear to say goodbye.

    Anguish indeed!

  2. I'm so sorry they bit have to go through such an ordeal, AOW.

    Sometimes, however, happy endings are possible.

    I have always believed the kindest thing to do is let go when someone we love is suffering acutely.

    I have consoled myself all week saying "Priscilla is in God's hands, and whatever happens HAS to be all right."

    I actually prayed that she would find another family who would take her in and, perhaps, make a better home for than I did.

    I've had a very bad time, as you know, but I WAS able to endure it, because I have faith in God.

    Without God I would have found life impossible years ago, and might not be here today, but when you tell something like that to an atheist it only infuriates them.

    I never feel ANGER at someone who can't believe. I only feel compassion -- even when they appear fiercely smug in their unbelief.

    I do hope your mother-in-law passes n sooner rather than later. When life has become living death, and death is inevitable, it's best to get it over with quickly, I think.

  3. My mother-in-law has a strong constitution and is incredibly healthy physically.

    No heart trouble.

    No respiratory trouble.

    No diabetes.

    No cancer.

    But the brain damage from Alzheimer's is horrific. Her brain is all tangled up, and her limbs are twisted and contracted. She is little more than a vegetable. She lost the ability to walk and talk in late 2009. She CAN eat from a spoon and defecate. That's it.

    The family no longer takes pictures of her.

    I believe that, if she could speak, she'd say, "Start the morphine drip."

    J was an atheist for a long time -- even before he met my mother-in-law some 25 years ago. Now, he is an ANGRY atheist. His very words to me in that email: "Frankly, I cannot believe in a benevolent god."

  4. My opinion is that HE must RELEASE her.

    He may have more control over the situation than he imagines. We all do.

    A lot of what ails humanity is willfulness, selfishness, sheer cussedness -- and FEAR 0f LOSS and DEPRIVATION.

    His "love" may in fact be a form of selfishness. HE won't know what to do without her. Poor man!

    I can understand that. I've been there, myself, but sooner or later we MUST let go.

    It's better if we can do it voluntarily.

  5. She is a ward of the state of California. That said, there is a DNR, and she is basically being warehoused (palliative measures only, no meds to speak of). The matter of feeding is a gray area.

    My mother-in-law and J should have had "the conversation" when it first became apparent that she was in the decline of Alzheimer's.

    I have had "the conversation" with both Mr. AOW and my medical proxy (my younger cousin) and my doctor. I need to draw up the papers this summer.

    J has remarried -- and Mr. AOW and I encouraged him to do so. He loves his new wife very much, but, still, he is devoted to my mother-in-law.

    BTW, my mother-in-law just turned 93. The way she has been "living" for the past 4 years is not living. Hideous situation!



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