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.

Meditation Poem Series: #65

It’s difficult to post and meditate on weekends I have my daughter, but not impossible. I often practice metta, when I spend time with her. This weekend was full with my parents visiting from Friday to Sunday, along with having my daughter, and my girlfriend visiting. I’m not sure if I would have survived this weekend, if I don’t regularly mediate.

Meditation Poem #65
compassion for family
is often the hardest
than complete strangers

Meditation Poem Series: #33

Today was a full day. I was not able to post on the day itself, but I did meditate on my drive back to VA from NC, while my daughter napped. I did metta meditation, or loving-kindess meditation. I wished “May I be happy, May I be healthy, May I be free,” and then expanded that metta to my daughter, and then others on the road.

Happy Christmas to all. It was my daughter’s first Christmas with my parents, and it was wonderful to have my brother and his wife visiting from Seattle.

Meditation Poem #33
loving kindness flows from my heart
the universe embraces me

Meditation Poem Series: #31

It has been a day full of joy and quality family time. It’s been neat to see my daughter interact with my brother and my sister-in-law, and the continuing closeness she develops with her halmoni (grandma) and bpa-bpa (grandpa). It’s the first Christmas I’ve had her since the divorce, and the first Christmas my parents have spent with their granddaughter. Today was such a full day. I was exhausted, but able to sit for 15 minutes in the afternoon. I am truly grateful for daily practice even in the midst of a family visit.

Meditation Poem #31

gratitude fills my heart
even as i ache
peace within

Merry Cristmas

Merry Christmas Eve!

This post is a departure from my regular content, but I just wanted to thank all the people reading my posts, following and commenting.  I am so grateful to be part of this blogging community, and to find renewed motivation to keep writing and create visual art. 

오뎅국 (Odeng-guk)

I am blessed to visit my parents in NC. My mother made me 오뎅국 (Odeng-guk: fishcake soup) for breakfast this morning.  My comfort food of choice is homemade home cooked Korean food, and also good Southern cookin’.

My daughter and I at a Christmas party

I won’t be posting on Christmas Day, but I wanted to wish happy advent season and Christmas for those in the Christian tradition and happy holidays to all.  

My daughter is away with her momma visiting their family in FL, but I am blessed to be surrounded by my family and friends as we get through first year of major holidays coparenting.  

Thanks again to all the readers and writers who share their thoughts, art, and experiences. May you be held in the Light of a loving Higher Power. To my Buddhist friends, much metta and peace. May you be healthy, happy, and free from suffering.