Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Sound of Death

This morning I sit in a coffee shop named the Oasis off the campus of East Tennessee State University in Johnson City Tennessee. I am home for the first time in over 25 years at Christmas. I am here to visit my mom who is in the hospital, fighting lung and throat cancer. Yesterday I saw her for the first time in quite a few years. As some of you know if you have read my material as of late, you know I am here mainly to let her know that I forgive her for all of the things I experienced as a child, including the abuse and more. I am also working on video footage for a documentary. I have the story line down, but it seems to change from day to day.

Yesterday as I walked into the hospital room I don’t think I was prepared for what I experienced and saw. I have forgiven my mom, I wanted to let her know that, I want to do that in privacy though and will look for that time today. But what I saw, what I experienced, broke my heart, and it was all I could do to stay strong and fight back the tears, in fact, fight back the weeping. I was strong though, God gives grace and I was able in that moment, when I needed to stay strong.

As I walked into the hospital room, I didn’t recognize the woman who lay in the bed. I have unfortunately seen far too many people dieing of cancer in the last few years. I have fortunately seen a few beat it, but God has put me in a place where I will continue to fight for a potential cure and prevention of this horrible disease. My mother had lost so much weight, was so frail, and most of her hair was gone. My mom, despite the abuse was an admittedly attractive woman when she was younger. To me she don’t seem that old now, she was only 16 when she got pregnant, and 17 when I was born. But she looks nothing like herself now. My son and wife stated they would have never known it was her had they seen her. While it has been about 3 years since I saw her last, and then she had aged some, the cancer has torn her apart and broken her down. One of the saddest things is that the throat cancer prevents her from doing more than a very quite whisper and even then, it is very hard to understand her.

I guess today, as my time is limited, I ask again, why would one continue to do harm to themselves from smoking and the like. The answers of “it is my body,” or “we all have to go sometimes,” frankly, make me sick. Those left behind have to provide care, work out details, see and hurt from the suffering. I beg and plead with those reading this, take into consideration those who love you, your children, your spouses, your friends, you have no idea what you are going through when you face a death like my mother is experiencing now. I hurt, I grieve for this person, who many would say I should hate and have nothing to do with.

If God loves, and if God tells us that we show him how much we love him by how we show others love, shouldn’t we hurt, shouldn’t we care? If we are called to love even our enemies, shouldn’t we hurt, shouldn’t we seek ways to find compassion in our heart, for even those we have reason to hate? After all, didn’t Jesus himself offer up forgiveness for those who crucified him? If God lives within us, can’t his Spirit give us the ability to love and forgive? If God can give that ability, and he has for me, can’t those who struggle with addictions such as nicotine, tobacco, whether dip or smoking, find the strength and ability to quit the one thing that causes such horrible death?

For those who know me, you know I try not to be into this judgment thing. You also know though, that I care for people. I care for you, but I am at a point today, that I realize the damage smoking does, once again in my life. It just simply put, isn’t worth it. If you think it is, go visit a hospital today, ask the nurses to see someone who is suffering from lung or throat cancer. Then come back and tell me it was worth it.

Not trying to judge, just expressing my pain for this day.

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