Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Preparation For Mourning

Many of us have lost loved ones following a period of illness, pain and struggle. In retrospect I believe that the years, months, weeks and days that precede the final departure prepare us for what is to come. Our bodies, minds and spirits align in a pattern that both predicts and lays the foundation for the deep mourning we will soon endure. When a traffic light turns green it is both dangerous and destructive to lay the pedal to the floor. It is wiser, safer and much more efficient to ease to your cruising speed. So it is with the soul.
At the age of 16 – 2 months after I got my driver’s license in PA – my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer at the age of 47. For 5 months I heard and watched him die a painful death in his and my mother’s bedroom 20 feet down the hall. In those deep and dark nights I trembled beneath the covers on my twin bed as I heard the frightened and anguished cry of my father wishing death over this nightmare. Something happened to me during those months, something involuntary and something over which I had no control. I changed. Those 150 days fashioned the balance of my life in ways both good and bad. Looking back on that period of time I can see that I was beginning to mourn; I was preparing for the final moment.
40 years have arrived and retreated since those sad days in 1968. Although the memories of that regrettable time still surface I can state without hesitation that my life has been filled with abundant blessing. And yet I feel a familiar feeling – a 40-year-old feeling – and I’ve been feeling it for quite some time. At this very moment its presence is profound. I am preparing to mourn once again. I believe death is at the doorstep of my beloved country. I know in my heart that the end is near. Oh my, how I love America!
But I hear Her crying out in the night not wishing to die but no longer able to sustain Her dream. There is too much pain, too much demand, too many expectations, too many promises She cannot keep, too many enemies, so many who hate Her, so many that rape Her, so many that treat Her like a Whore, anger all over, debt beyond imagination, what I deserve over what I can do. My country is riddled with cancer and there is little hope for Her recovery shy of a miracle. Oh how I shall weep when She is gone! Oh how this world will suffer when She is gone.
I have little recollection of those 5 months when my beloved dad was dying. I have supposed that this is part of the protection and preparation for mourning. I do recall that I did my very best to live and learn and grow and put on a good face during that time. And so I shall work, learn, live, serve and love with the hope that this will all get better. Join me – and have your black suit laundered.


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