Friday, November 9, 2012

Better Living Through Chemistry

Dear John,
Thank you for praying for my head! Percocet took care of the pain and nausea. Now I'm dealing with the caffeine I took that didn't help the pain. I took Benadryl about half an hour ago, so I should be getting sleepy within the half-hour. Jethro can tell when I don't feel good, so he's been sticking close by me. Right now he's lying right next to me on the bed, sound asleep. Such a sweet, faithful, loving creature. I can't imagine how people survive without a dog. Yes, we rescue them from the shelters, but just like Julia Roberts said in Pretty Woman, they rescue us right back.
It's one of the rules, isn't it? What we do for others always does even more for us. We took Jen in in 1996 after she turned 18 and her father threw her out. We gave her a home and parents for as long as she wanted them, no strings attached. And in turn she's given us so, so much more! We have a daughter and two granddaughters who love us. During your illness, she was here when we needed her - and was still living in the Keys. And everybody knows it's not possible to travel between the Keys and Topeka. After your death she was here for me. She has Power of Attorney and Medical Power of Attorney for me, is on my bank accounts, knows all my financial and business information, will inherit all I have (such as it is), and is the beneficiary of my life insurance. And the real wonder of it all is that she loves me. She has no obligation to us, no legal relationship, has made no commitment - the only tie is that of the heart. And so we both are tied to each other. We love each other. We are family. And that word is very good at trumping everything else.
I hope you know by now just how much Jen loves you. She loves you the way a girl loves her dad, and there's nothing quite like that. It's been hard on her this past year, having your illnes and death come in the middle of the break-up of her marriage. It did give things a certain symmetry - in the spring, Jen and I needed each other equally. And I told her that what she was doing was much harder than what I was doing. Your death happened - I had no choice. And we had no young children to care for. And it was no surprise - we had married knowing that our time together may be very short. So we stayed prepared: legally, financially, spiritually, emotionally as much as possible. Losing a spouse by divorce is much, much harder than losing one to death. And I've never heard anyone say of their divorce hearing that it was filled with the peace and joy of God. Death often is.
Which reminds me: Someday I hope to know what you saw in the hospital room the last half-hour before your death. You were completely alert, and had been looking at me. Then all of a sudden you were looking up and around the room, with a look of overwhelming joy and amazement on your face. Your mouth was hanging wide open and you stared in wonder and - what? Or rather, who? I know your guardian angel was there. And I'd prayed for years, for both of us, to St. John of San Francisco, that when our souls separated from our bodies, he would come to our aid and see us safely into the Kingdom of Heaven. I did expect him to answer that prayer, and it would certainly explain what I saw on your face. I only wish you could have talked and told me about everything that I couldn't see. I can imagine quite a lot, but I'm hoping you will tell me someday. And please pray with me now, that St. John will come and help me, too, when it's my turn. When I go to church I, of course, always venerate his icon. And I could stand there all morning. I sink into that icon, with the abundance of love in his eyes, and everybody else in the room just disappears for me. When I die, maybe the Lord will even allow you to come with him, to come for me when my soul separates from my body. How wonderful that would be! Then you and St. John and my guardian angel can escort me to the Kingdom, where all those family and friends I keep talking about will be smiling and waving over the parapet to me. And the glory of God fills that Kingdom, and God Himself will wipe away every tear from our eyes.
I've wander far afield from what I intended, which was to tell you that the headache is almost gone and thank you for praying for me. I lean on you for help now, more that I ever did before.
I think I just dozed off at the computer. So maybe I can turn off the light and go to sleep. It would be wonderful. And I've gotten to talk to you last thing before going to sleep, just like we always did. It's a habit I do not want to ever get out of. Badly-structured sentence, but you know what I mean. Maybe I'm living a little too well on all the chemistry. I do hope I've seen the last of this nasty headache.
I so long to come before God in purity of soul. Pray that it may be so! Love you, adore you, worship the ground you walk on.

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