Love, Not Time Heals all Things

Sunny Segullah postToday’s UP CLOSE guest post comes from Sunny Smart.  Sunny is a stay-at-home mom with two part-time jobs, four full-time kids, and one fantastic husband. Those stats aren’t likely to change anytime soon. She loves to bake but hates to cook, loves cleanliness but dreads cleaning, wants to be a vegetarian but really loves steak, and thinks laughter makes the world go round. Most days she can be found consuming large amounts of caffeine, baking bread, and laughing with friends. She feels honored that Segullah is sharing her story.

I was fifteen when my father passed away. The doctors had told us three months previous we must make him comfortable and wait for the inevitable. It would be painful, we were told, but there would be plenty of drugs.

I remember the smell. Each day after school I checked on my father, emptied his urine and colostomy bags, swabbed his mouth with a wet sponge so he could swallow, checked his IV’s, moved his arms and legs to slow the painful atrophy. I remember when the black spots started appearing on his feet.

“He’s rotting,” our neighbor, a nurse, told me as I stood staring at his swollen, speckled feet. “His body is already dying and starting to decompose.” These may seem like harsh words to say to a young girl standing at the bed of her dying father, but I found them strangely comforting. Almost as if the moment I was dreading most would come in small increments and I wouldn’t be faced with losing him all at once.

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I Cry

MendyHunterMendy Hunter was born and raised in Pennsylvania. She is the fourth of eight children. Mendy left the lush, green hills of her home and headed west to BYU. After taking a scholastic break to complete a mission in Romania, she graduated with an English degree. Soon thereafter, she married, started a family and moved to Maryland, where she currently resides. Mendy now has four children and spends her days in the full-time occupation of motherhood. Interests in addition to her family include reading, quilting, hair-styling and blogging at Mother Is A Verb at www.mendyhunter.blogspot.com

I have seen death. I was touching my five-year-old brother when he took his last breath. “I love you, Brent. I love you,” I repeated as I stroked his arm. I wanted him to hear that, to know that, and to remember it when he slipped from this world to the next. His weary body had been fighting the leukemia for almost four years, but his death certificate blames pneumonia for his demise. (The slightest common cold quickly turns into pneumonia when your body doesn’t have the immune system to fight it.)

My father, older brother and I reclined on the bed around his failing body. “My right lung just collapsed,” he announced through ragged breaths. How did he even know what that felt like? I wondered. His breathing grew louder, more labored, if such a thing were possible. Then it was silent. Painfully, loudly silent; we did not speak to break the ugliness. There was nothing to say.

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A Limited Perspective

Today’s UP CLOSE:Death and Dying post comes from Connie Boyd.  Connie Boyd is the mother of six grown children and six grandchildren. Since her children live from coast to coast and north to south, she is fond of travelling. She also enjoys religious research, church service, swimming and writing. Connie teaches eighth grade science in Worcester, Massachusetts, but is soon to retire. Born in Brigham City, Utah, she moved to Saginaw, Michigan when she was four years old. She began her undergraduate studies at Utah State University and later transferred to the University of Michigan where she earned her Bachelor of Science Degree. She received her Master’s Degree in education from Cambridge College. Her husband of forty two years died March 2, 2009.CBoydSegullah

Six months ago my beloved husband of forty-two years died unexpectedly. His heart simply stopped beating. He was not in pain, as cupping water in your hands, his spirit simply slipped away. The event is still so near, my perspective is probably limited. Death counselors say that grief has several expressions: shock, loneliness and sorrow, confusion, guilt and anger. I have yet to experience many of them. My overall emotion was, and remains, deep gratitude that I even knew this wonderful man, that I shared a great portion of his life and that I have the prospects of eternity with him. My list of gratitude grows longer each day: gratitude for family, thankfulness for friends who so willingly and constantly offer help and deep appreciation for the gospel teachings and the constant comfort from the Holy Spirit.

With all that, however, comes the waiting period. Unlike my cat that waits impatiently for me to feed him, I want my waiting period to be less grumpy and more fruitful but not manically busy. I want to live the rest of my life to be worthy of his eternal companionship.


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