In the past decade I have become more aware of what it means to be pro-life, and ultimately it is a deep love for every soul that God has created from the moment of their conception until a natural death. There are so many who are unable to speak for themselves, whether the tiniest unborn babies, the grandparent trapped in a body that cannot move, or those close to death who struggle through their final journey on earth. As a health care worker I have always strived to respect the dignity of each patient I have, yet it was really in the caring of my own mother in her journey to death that I came to a deeper understanding of God's love for us. We are all created in his image, and he loves us because of who we are. It is not conditional upon what we do, if we are good enough, or whether we fulfill our potential. Our hearts were created to know and love Him, and we cannot rest until this deepest longing of our hearts is found IN him.
Here is an excerpt from my blog as I watched my mother recently journey to her 'natural death.' Let us continue to pray for each soul our Lord has created, and that our love for Him will inspire others to respect the gift of Life.
At the Foot of the Cross
In the quiet of the night my Mom sleeps soundly, drifting deeper and deeper into a place I have never been. It is amazing how much the human body can endure. Just when we think it is near the end, she shows a glimmer of her presence and we realize her time has not yet come. How much longer?? She has not eaten for many days. A few days ago she could sip water, then yesterday chew ice chips, then today barely open her mouth to receive a wet swab. I think of our Lord on the cross and his thirst. Our basic and most vital need. As Mom's body weakens our hearts grow heavier. We are tempted to hang on, but the selfless thing to do is to release her from this world so she is free to move on to the next.
This painful, wrenching, sacred process leaves one contemplating the similarities between new life and death. Like a woman in transition, Mom knows the moment she has been preparing for is upon her, yet the pain and suffering is greatest just before the unspeakable joy to come. Oh Mother Mary how you must have suffered! You are my rock of perseverance amidst unspeakable heartache. Please come soon and lead my Mama home to your son.
I cannot look back. No photos, no memories, no reminiscing. I cannot look forward. No eulogy, no funeral, no future. In order to survive I can only live in the present, attending to the smallest need in hopes of making our dear patient as comfortable as possible. It is like time is suspended and only the present exists. Not for a moment have I even thought about the merits of euthanasia. If anything, I am more convinced than ever that if every human being was given the dignity and comfort they deserve in their most vulnerable state, it can make the journey manageable.
For now, we keep vigil. Dearest Mother, may the Lord bless you and keep you; may he make his face to shine upon you. May he lift up his countenance upon you and bring you peace.