Worst Birthday Ever & I’m Doing Fine

Sitting at the Starbucks at the Camp Bowie intersection in downtown Ft. Worth, approximately 280 miles away from my home. My tear ducts are sore from relentless tears and there is an ever present headache making it difficult (put not impossible) to plan my mother’s funeral.  This in conjunction with personal tragedies has lead me to believe that this was indeed the worst summer of my life. I don’t know where to start, but I do want to share how I’m holding up. 

Yesterday was my 36th birthday. I also watched my mother take her last breath.  A few days ago she was admitted to the hospital in Mineral Wells for what they believed was pancreatis.  Normal treatment options include a round of antibiotics and some much  needed rest. Unfortunately, my mother abused alcohol for most of her life and the damage she caused her liver compacted the severity of her condition. One by one, her organs shut down and the staff were forced to life flight her to the Plaza Medical Center in Ft. Worth.

There, they were able to sustain her with 5 levels of pressers and a breathing tube.  The medications kept her heart beating, but the pulse was so low they were unable to detect it.  A negative side effect of the pressers is that they cause the body to pull blood from the extermeties & what it deems “unneccessary” organs in a life threatening situation.  Unfortunately, the body does not think that they kidneys are worth saving in exterme conditions. Her blood became acidic and the only way to cleanse it was through dialysis, which would reroute blood out of the body temporarily and then back in after it had been cleanses. In order to do dialysis, you need blood pressure. My mother had none.

To further worsen things, her internal organs were experiencing the “compression effect”.  Due to kidney failure, she was unable to urinate and process the volumen of liquids they were pumping in her to sustain her heart. The excess fluids caused her organs to compress against each other and her stomach started to bulge. Surgeons were called in to examine her and determined that due to her blood pressure, any surgery would immediate kill her. 

We were left with the choice of long-term life support or what the medical staff called “withdrawal therapy”.  The decision was passed to us kids and ultimately to me as the oldest. Not wanting her to suffer, I asked them for the later option. They gave her a final dose of pain medications, stopped the pressers, and removed the breathing tube. My sister held her ice cold hands and my brother was brought to sobbing.  My uncle and cousin watched through their own tears. I looked away. She was gone in a few minutes. 

Floods of text messages, phone calls and Facebook posts came in.  The support was overwhelming and very much needed.  Everyone wanted to know how I was holding up and if there was anything they could do. 

My honest response – I’m doing fine. There is a sense of relief from the suffering she endured. And more prominent still is the presence of Father God. He has and always will take care of me. Christ, my savior and faithful friend, patiently listened to me talk about the summer, my mom’s passing, and my concerns with organizing a funeral. The Holy Spirit comforted me with an extraodinary sense of peace admidst the turmoil. I truly am doing fine. 

My concern though is that there are many people who loved my mom, but maintain a distant relationship with the Father. They peg those of who have an authentic relationship with God as religious or mistakenly as ministers. I still am labeled a “preacher” when I’ve never pastored a church. At any rate, the point is not to point fingers. It’s like they believe in God as the Creator, but that is as far as their relationship with Him goes. It saddens me, deeply. Because there is so much more to Him. He loves them and wants to be there for them, just like He was for me. He wants to love them, speak words of comfort and purpose into their lives. He’s not asking them to pastor a church, or become a deacon. He’s not asking them to get a degree in theology. God’s asking them to trust Him, to spend some time with Him, just to get to know Him. He wants to show them that His love is powerful and sustaining, especially in the absolute worst of times. 

Well, I’m headed off to plan the funeral. Need to find someone to reside over the service and put together some photos, slides, etc. 

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