Suffering and Peace - A Mother Lost
What happens to the dying is a secret in our society. It is unspoken and that silence leaves those dying and the loved ones of the dying unprepared.
Hospice nurses are the only ones who know, and they descend like angels of mercy, into the houses of the stricken to impart morphine and courage.
But it is disgusting - what happens to people. People speak about how humans can't understand God, or his divine plan, etc. But seeing my mother die of metastasized brain cancer showed me the terrible truth that we cannot conceive the depth of pain and suffering that exists in this world either.
And it's not just my mother. It's millions of people dying of cancer all over the world, and AIDS, and tuberculosis, and countless other diseases. And how they suffer. It is nearly impossible to comprehend even having witnessed it first hand, that this torment can happen.
First they lose their strength, and then their minds, and they are so scared, and so confused. They are reduced to bodies of raw torment. My mother's feet starting swelling from the drugs they gave her to reduce the swelling in her brain caused by the tumors. The swelling in her feet got so bad it cracked the skin of her calves, ankles, and feet. Her feet turned purple and oozed for the last two months of her life, causing her constant emotional and physical agony. How do you tell someone that she doesn't need to worry about her feet being amputated because she will be dead soon anyway?
I know that people talk about the unspeakable sufferings of war. Nasty, violent scenes that they can express to people in words, but never completely convey. I think that watching a parent or sibling, spouse, lover, child die, especially if it is the violent torturous kind of death is similar.
But we don't know how to deal with either scenario. The zinging, pervasive message I hear in the undercurrents of society? 'Keep quiet about what you've seen, so you don't ruin the fairy tale for the rest of us.'
And maybe that's the way to do it; I don't know. But it does seem to make the whole process more difficult.
My mother walked in the breast cancer walk every year for four years. The last year she walked, she lit up with glee at the end, confessing, 'last year I could barely make it down the block. I'm feeling so much better this year.' Two weeks later she had a seizure. Three months of unfathomable suffering later, she died.
How I wish I could have saved her from this torture. How I wish we could group together to save others from this torture. Is cancer truly unpreventable? If we can split atoms and send robots to Mars to test the chemical components of its soil, can't we do more to prevent this disease?
I don't care how many billion dollars our government spends on cancer research. It is not enough. We dedicate our resources to wars for profit and ego when we could be saving children and parents - the innocent - from blazing torment.
I apologize for broaching the political, but this is "my story." And I cannot explain what has happened in any other way. I am disgusted with humanity and disgusted with the human condition. It is difficult to see any good in a world that lets these things happen to innocent people and then just covers it up like nothing ever happened.
I have a picture of her after she recovered from her first round of chemotherapy by my bed. She is the incarnation of joy and peace. I think she found peace in the end through the fog. She was terribly afraid - and she was a devout woman - but eventually her fear broke, like a fever, and she found a profound, happy-tears kind of peace in the end.
I don't know how or why she found that peace. Maybe something gave it to her, as in maybe something beyond our world reached out and granted her mercy from her fear and pain in her last moments of consciousness. If so, maybe they are right, that we cannot understand God, but that we are subject to his mercy when we need it. I sincerely hope so, for my sake, my mother's, and of course, for the sake of all the world.