Part 2: Having the chance to say good bye

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While we waited to see if our brother was going to come off the ventilator, there were a number of people praying.

As for me, I reached a point of, “God, Your will be done and help us accept it.”

I realize there are some reading this who make faith a great factor. Perhaps even going so far to say, “if only they had MY preacher there, if only they claimed his healing, if only they believed God for a miracle.”

We were looking for a miracle. Even the doctor told us he believed it was a miracle that Ricky was still with us. We all thought that. But, when we began to see the extent of the brain damage, I had my human doubts. It appeared to me, Ricky was here because the doctor shocked his heart 39 times, not giving up on him. If that was the case, then what was the purpose? For it was next to impossible to see any “good” thing come from such a tragedy.

Our brother, once full of life, laying helpless, at the mercy of all those around him. To think God meant something “good” for the rest of us through Ricky’s suffering, seemed like a selfish thing to me on our part. It still does and I can understand how an Atheist thinks.

However, that is where faith comes in for a Christian. I would be lying to you if I told you I had the warm fuzzies for anything resembling faith. Quite the contrary. When I wasn’t at the hospital, apart from my siblings, alone, I felt anger. Not a why-did-this-happen-to-us kind of thing. But one of feeling completely helpless to do anything. Waiting on  God was not easy and what if God didn’t make His will clear to us?

I didn’t ask for signs or wonders. I didn’t make bargains with God such as, “If You do this, I’ll do such-n-such.” No. I knew just as our brother was at the mercy of all around him, we all were at the mercy of God. However that would play out, I knew within myself that God had seen us all grow up together: He knew every tear, every moment of laughter, our squabbles and our love for one another. He had been there all the time in the house we grew up in. He had been there when our parents were alive and He was still with us.

Ricky had to be suctioned every few minutes or he would drown in his own fluid. Even though the nurses made no big deal about it, I didn’t have the patience to wait for them to come and do it. So, I told them to show me how. They were more than glad. It was the last thing I could do for him while he was on this earth. Every now and then his eyes would gaze into mine. I saw what appeared to be great sadness. But was it? They (the doctors and nurses) said no, that he wasn’t really aware of anything. Only his brain stem was working, they said, but they had no proof. Even the tests couldn’t show it. But, his siblings treated him as if he could hear and understand.

My last indignant episode at how the staff treated him, allowed me to talk to one of his nurses, who had patience with me. I found him to be very understanding of our needs and wants. He asked me, “What is it that you think your brother is trying to show you through his eyes?” I told him,”Either to not give up on him or to let him go.”

Also, Ricky was scheduled for a lung biopsy. Even though he was a positive man in every way throughout his life, we were not convinced it was not going to be lung cancer. His doctor had told him before hand they thought it was Cancer.

We all could see he was not feeling well, but Ricky being the man he was, never let on about his health issues. At times, he would laugh them off, as if no big deal. I will say here, that my brother was diagnosed with AIDS back in 1988 or 1989. He was sent home with a death sentence of two years. But God…

We waited for signs of improvement, but there were none. All that could be done for him was suctioning and pain med. We massaged his legs, talked to him, anything we could do that we thought could relieve his suffering.

Finally, we came to the conclusion there was nothing that could be done, but to let him go. Ricky, himself, would want that. He was a free spirit, independent, a rolling stone. No way would he want to live hooked up on machines.

July 3rd, the staff told us we could take him off life support at anytime. They suggested that day as if he were to pass on the 4th, we might not want to remember a holiday with a loved one passing. It made no difference to us. We just wanted to end his suffering. So we went for the 3rd.

All the family was called in and we gathered around his bedside. The ventilator was taken out. I began to softly sing, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus,” thinking he would be gone within a minute. But he wasn’t. He began to suffer without the ventilator. I ran out of the room, speaking rather loudly, “Our brother is suffering! This isn’t suppose to be happening! Do something!” We all were under the impression he would go quickly.

They come in and start giving him something to calm him down. We stayed by his bedside for the longest time, waiting. But, his body was still strong, they said. They told us it could take up to two weeks! I was livid. “Thanks for letting us know ahead of time!”

We stay with him all day and into the night. I continued to suction him, as the fluid built up in his lungs.

I notice his eyes before and after removing the ventilator. Both times, his eyes appeared to be looking at something off in the distance, something beautiful, awesome. I’ve never seen human eyes look like that. I asked my sister if she noticed it and she said, “Yes, I think he was seeing angels.”

Some things are kind of sacred to me. That is one reason it has taken me so long to write about this. it is like by talking about it, you make it less beautiful or something. I probably didn’t explain that too well, but that is how I have felt.

The next morning, my husband and brother come in and tell me to go home to get some rest. I didn’t want to. Who would suction Ricky? Five nurses came into the room and told me they would. I couldn’t trust them because I knew Ricky wasn’t their only patient. Besides, this was just a job to them. For us, it was our beloved brother. They assured me they would watch over him and not let him suffer.

I let my husband take me home and I laid down. Just for a little while, I told myself. A few hours later I wake up and it is after 7 p.m. I fussed at my husband for not waking me up sooner. He said he wanted me to rest. I jump up and tell him to take me to the hospital. He had been up earlier and said Ricky wasn’t doing good. We rush off.

I found out no one was with Ricky. I began to pray that he wouldn’t be alone when he died. Even so, Your will, Lord, not mine. Please don’t let him suffer on anyone’s account.

I get to the hospital, rush up to his room, they have him on a gurney moving him to another unit. As I see him from across the room, his eyes appear to be glowing, yellow as if bright sunshine coming from them. I wanted to shout, “Ricky, I love you,” But I knew you didn’t shout in a hospital. I ran up to him. The nurse says she thinks he’s not going to be around much longer. I put my hand in my pocket saying I was going to call our brother and sister and then she says, “He just passed.”

He was gone. I was very much aware of my belief that as his soul left his body, he saw me. He saw me throw my body over his. He saw me wanting not to leave him. It was like he was hanging on long enough to see me one last time. Everybody else had been there earlier that day. Only one left was me. Knowing my brother, he could have been praying for God to give him the strength to say good-bye.

God was good to give my brother and me that one last chance.

But, it’s still not over. My brother had changed into a new man the past couple years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Part 1: Having the chance to say good bye

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“Go on, touch her.”

“No, I don’t want to.”

“She can’t hurt you, go on.”

“No, I’m afraid.”

“Look. I’ll do it. See? She’s cold.”

That was my first experience with death. Standing in front of a casket, my younger brother, Ricky, inquisitive little thing that he was, wanted me to share in his fascination of a dead body. We could barely see her as we tippy toed to peer over the side. He insisted there wasn’t anything to be afraid of, but I wasn’t convinced. I never touched her.

I’ve thought of that moment quite a bit the past six months. The difference in our attitudes. It was the same all throughout our life together. He, not fearing death. I, paralyzed at the thought of it. He would challenge me many times, “How can you be so afraid, when you believe in God?” I had no answer. I still don’t. Perhaps it’s the suffering that may be involved or the finality of it in this lifetime. I just don’t know.

Many of us don’t have the chance to say good bye to a loved one. I had that chance with my brother and it is with that in mind, I write.

Ricky inherited our father’s heart disease (so have I for that matter) and he had three heart attacks over the past few years. The last one led him to the hospital in an ambulance. As the family arrived, the doctor took us all in a conference room and told us Ricky had another heart attack while the doctor was doing a heart cath on him. Went without oxygen to his brain for 40 minutes while the doctor shocked him 39 times. We were glad to know our brother was still alive. However, we were told chances may not be good. He could either go into kidney failure, infection could set in or he could be brain damaged. Time would tell.

It was brain damage. At first, we just held on to a hope that it was just the medications, being tied up in bed, being on a ventilator. We were not going to believe any bad report until we had proof. Tests were ran. Most of them inconclusive. Even the doctors could not agree with one another.

I made it clear more than once, that the staff would not talk in front of him like he was deaf. Using words in front of him like “brain damaged”  etc. However, they did anyway and by the second or third time, I let them know about it.

“I told you no! … He’s not deaf… He’s not a piece of furniture …. I realize you have other patients, but this is our brother here and you will respect him and our wishes … Don’t tell me he’s not suffering. How do you know? You ever been in his position?! … Do you think I’m stupid?! … Get me a patient advocate, Im not putting up with this …”

I had more than one round with these nurses who had seen it all and our brother was just one more body to them. But to us, he was our loved one. At the mercy of strangers, in my eyes. I had a hard time trusting.

We did get our advocate and she helped us in working with the staff.

My other brother, my sister and I spent time with Ricky. Trying to get him to respond. “Ricky can you squeeze our hand?” No response. There were times when even the slightest movement excited us. But it was nothing. It had to do with us having false hope more than reality. Still we clung.

My sister was the first to speak it: “He looks like he’s got cerebral palsy,” she tearfully told me over the phone. I thought the same thing but didn’t want to admit it yet. “It might be the drugs. Plus they have him tied down in bed. Could be his back hurts.” I realized I was grasping for straws. Something simple to explain his condition. It was easier than the reality of the situation.

We decided to give him a few days to see how he would respond when taken off the pain med. Surely, he will perk up and be back to his old self. I was already making plans on going home with him to help take care of him. But it wasn’t to be. He was on that ventilator 11 days.

(To be continued)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fire Breathing Dragon

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Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts,
And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom. — Psalm 51:6 —

It’s been months since my last writing. Not sure I can find the words to describe what has been going on with me since my brother passed away.

Some things have become more important and other things, less important. Family, being my top priority. Less important, politics of the world (though I can still get pretty riled up every now and then) and the ongoing apostasy within the Church.

For six years I have ran this blog exposing the manipulating man pleasing sugar coated occultic garbage coming out of the Church. I’m tired. Just as I have come to the conclusion that I have reached my zenith in playing guitar, never getting any better, so it is with other things I have given up on.

Perhaps, I am just a quitter or maybe it is God trying to lead me in a different direction. I don’t know.

I am finding the things I once had passion for, no longer interest me as much. My passion has became a curse. I am to blame. I could not control it. It became sin. Perhaps it was from the very beginning. God knows.

I knew this day would come. The day when all my resources would get burned out, literally burned out. At times I felt like a fire breathing dragon out of control. Anger raging in me such a way that felt more like something from the pit of hell, than a righteous anger of God.

Many of you came here, trying to show me, trying to reason with me. I saw it as weakness on your part. You were right, I was wrong.

More than once, I would wake up in the middle of the night so sickened of feeling like a complete failure to God, that I would go to the computer, sign on, come to this blog disgusted, wanting to delete it out of existence. But like everything else which touched my life, no peace about it. So I remained stagnant.

Perhaps I still am. God knows whether any good thing will come out of me or not.

In the meantime, just wanted the reader to know, I still appreciate those of you who pop in every now and then. I’m wanting to come back.

I want the dragon to die.