Borrowed Time

I guess we are all living on borrowed time. We never know how much time we have on this earth. My father would not listen to my words, but he did listen to his doctors saying that if he did not do dialysis that he would have less than three months. I am grateful that doctors, nurses, and staff at High Point Regional hospital took good care of my dad.

It’s been a month, since my father started doing dialysis at his local dialysis center, and the funny thing is that he likes going there. Life is strange and comical sometimes.

In the mean time, I am reflecting on life and death, hanging out with my four year old daughter, and trying to support my mom and dad. I have been trying to keep my older brother in the loop.

I am currently at my parents’ house for a one week vacation. I am slowly softening and being more gentle with my father, even with his usual O.C.D. and crazy questions about future planning…breathe… and practice patience, love and  tolerance. 🙂

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.