End of Life

In the last few  years, I have walked with lots of people and their families through the journey of grief and loss as a chaplain. Death like birth can be a painful yet a very sacred moment.

I am currently home visiting my parents, and now I get to journey with my father as he journeys towards death. In the past year, my father discovered his kidneys have significantly being effected by his blood pressure medicine. In April of this year, my father’s kidney function was at 15% and he had a tremendous health scare before seeing a specialist at Duke hospital. Despite some critical changes to his meds, my father’s kidneys have continued to deteriorate: November it was at 12% and currently, my father’s kidneys are at 9% function.

The sadness is intensified by the fact that my father has chosen not to pursue medical measures like dialysis or seeking to get a kidney transplant. My father is a minister and he has told me that he is ready if it be God’s will. I respect my father’s choice and decision, but it still makes me deeply sad. I am not quite ready to let my father go…but it’s out of my control.

I have chosen to be with my parents the best I can and try to support my mom and dad. It feels different to navigate hospice as a son, even though I have helped many others navigate through the process of dying as a chaplain.

I usually have not been this vulnerable and personal on this blog, but I think I will continue to share my journey with accompanying my father through end of life and journeying with my mother as she goes through the process of grief. I don’t know if anyone is reading, but I need to write so the sadness does not swallow me whole.

I offer this prayer for both my family and all those journeying with someone as they approach end of life, and as they journey through the pain of it all:

Divine Creator,

May you bless this moment with all its pain, sadness, laughter and joy.

May we remember that each moment is sacred. May Your loving hold each one of us as we journey together to the unknown. Help us to walk with our loved one, and may You hold us in Your Light as we say goodbye and they journey home to You.

Thank you for the gift of Your love, the gift of family, and the gift of this very moment.

A Letter about Grief

Dear Friend,

I have no words…I wish I could simply hug you and hold you. But you asked me for words to help you through your grief and loss, so I will try to put into words what has been helpful to me.

I speak to you not as a chaplain, pastor, but simply as a human to a human…heart to heart.

Giref has no rhyme or reason. If someone tells you what stage of grief you should be on politely ask them to go away before you punch them in the face. 🙂 Just kidding. 

One of the hardest things for me has been to simply give myself to the process, and not try to control or judge myself as I am going through the grief and loss process. Some days I want to cry, laugh, punch a heavy bag of all of the above. No one knows how to feel except you, so let your own heart be the guide.

Sometimes you’ll feel like God has abandoned you, but God is so close. I’m not sure what it’ll b like for you, but remember you are not alone. Let the people that love you love on you and let them if they need to simply sit and hold your hand.

A lot of people suggested I write to process my grief, but there are days that all I could do was sit, breathe and blankly stare at the wall. Other times I wanted to scream, and once or twice words poured out of me. 

I will hold you in the Light as always.
Love and Love,
Your Friend on this Journey