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you have a companion if you invite him in

djbuk
Posts: 24
Joined: Dec 2011

Hi to all. Just wanted to pass on my recent experiences in the hope that some good will reach somebody that really needs a companion right now.

I was diagnosed with prostate cancer last summer. At 56yrs I am married, have 3 great kids and a great wife too. My sister died from lung cancer last year age 59 and I spent the last few months with her. During this time I learned about her life and her children ( I had lost touch for more than 5 years previous to this). She had a horrible life. Divorced, disfunctional selfish children, mother with early dementia dependant on her for care. She explained how they had all lived in a 2 bed house and found sleeping difficult due to noisy oxygen machines that mother needed. And then in January 2011 she developed a cough that simply would not go away. In march 2011 after the usual checks and delays she was finally diagnosed with terminal lung cancer with life expectancy of about 6mnths-1yr. Mother was put into a care home but was not informed of her daughters' health. To make matters even worse, my sisters' daughter and son (age 34 and 30 respec.) decided to abandon her following a disagreement. There's more, she was no longer allowed to see her grandchildren - this was very, very painful for her. Her remaining son (24 yr) continued to visit her but was always looking for money or complaining that his needs were not being met. And so, as you can imagine, my sister had a painfully sad end to her life.

During her last few weeks I asked her if she beleived in God. She replied "yes" but it was obvious to me that she had no real beleifs or hope in anything. I bought her a bible and encouraged her to read a gospel. One day after I returned from a walk I found her reading it but still, I felt, she had no desire to connect to anything spiritual. I spent a lot of our time during the summer months sitting in the sunlight with my sister talking about her children, preparing special organic vegan food for her and trying to engage with something bigger than both of us. The trouble is that when a person who has not beleived in God while enjoying health suddenly loses that health, they find it hard to beleive that their newly found interest is sincere or that praying will "do anything"

While walking alone on a sunny day alongside a canal (I walk everday for about an hour)I started to thank God for my own health. The more I thought about the things I had and the things I could do in comparison to my poor sister the more humble I became. I looked to a perfectly clear blue sky while breathing unhindered and realised how fortunate I was to be able to do this and what an incredibly beautiful gift of life I had. I looked at my hands and tried to imagine the complexity that was taking place on a cellular level in complete darkness. I did this many times last summer. It was my little break during the day and I realize now that it was also my daily spiritual food. My sister died in july. It was a privilidge for me to be with her and to listen to her words. Just before she died she said "You people have it all wrong. You worry about the wrong things" She did not receive a visit from her daughter or son and died in my arms in a hospice bed. God bless you my dear sister Sophia.

I returned home a broken man and spent many hours being comforted by my wife. I felt unsure about my own health at this time and she explained that this was natural and part of the recovery process. After a couple of weeks I started to make regular journeys to visit mother who was beginning to miss my sister but had no idea she had died. And then, a little while later my sisters eldest son decided to tell her. Because of her dementia the news of Sophias' death remained new news and so she suffered each day as though she had just been told. Her condition deteriorated and she died in January. God bless you too mum.

Around july last year on my sisters' advice I visited the doctor and began a series of health ckecks. I was found to have early stage prostate cancer which was soon upstaged to locally advanced prostate cancer. I dont know if it will be upstaged again anytime soon but the next stage is advanced and treatment is palliative. As many on here will know, diagnosis is a shocking thing and needs time to accept before the pain gives way to rational thought about treatment options. I was tearfull and fearfull when left alone. But I carried on walking as always - about an hour a day. I enjoyed the time alone away from people. It allowed me to be honest with myself and my feelings and to talk to God (if He was there and listening in). As the days passed and my one way conversation with God grew more sincere and less selfish I began to see how blessed I still was. God had given me 56 long years (so far!) 3 lovely children, a good wife, a home, but much much more God had given me life on this earth and even though I was small in the grand scheme of things I was still part of His plan. I began to feel more and more that I was not alone on these walks often returning feeling comforted, happy and full of thanks for everything I still have but also with a hope that there is everlasting life. No person has ever comforted me in such a satisfying way and all I had to do was humble myself and let Jesus do the rest.
Please, some of you that can, try this and see if you are given the same comfort that I was. I would start my conversation/ prayer "are you here Jesus?" "Thankyou for all things, I have so many memories of things and experiences on this earth. Please help me to have faith and hope in you. Thankyou for giving me today and this sunlight.It is amazing to be here. Please help me to accept my situation and if I am to die then please help me to do this too. I can see now more than before just like my sister could. Thankyou Jesus for being my companion and comforting me when I need it"

God bless

djbuk

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
Posts: 4659
Joined: May 2005

It's too bad that you had lost touch with your sister for such a long time. I could not imagine going five years with little or no contact with my brother or sister. Your sister sure had her hands full with her own life, not to mention the care of her/your(?) mother too. She certainly needed assistance with day to day things as well as the care of an aging parent much sooner.
You sound like you were very self absorbed prior to working on mending your relationships with your family. I guess when ones own health starts to fail, it can cause one to look inside for something.

I'm having a rough time making sense or getting the point of your post.
Ultimately, I believe that however one can mend their relationship with their flesh & blood family (while being on Earth) is better than never mending relationships with family while they're living.

Best of luck to you!

3Mana
Posts: 829
Joined: Aug 2010

My husband had a strange family. His 2 sisters & 1 brother all lived within 20 miles, but always had a not good relationship with them. In fact we didn['t even know his one sister had died. The other one also did, but we knew about that. It's a long story so can't go into it. But sometimes it's not worth the time to mend a relationship cause it doesn't work.
My husband died on Mar. 25th, 2010 after having cancer only 2 months and to this day I have not heard a word from his brother. Nice huh?
My family was and still is very close and were there for me.
Also, I prayed so much and nothing helped, so I have kind of lost my faith too.
We all have different problems and handle things in our own way.
Good luck to all of you. "Carole"

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
Posts: 4659
Joined: May 2005

Hi Carole, I had a friend who didn't speak to his brother for 10+ years because when they were teens and sharing a room, the one brother's feet stunk! I imagine things went deeper than that but come on...

We (my brother, sister, and I) had a health related issue with our Mom and things started to get "tense". Thankfully we were aware of it and resolved things and Mom is doing well.

I think faith can help very many people but one also needs a relationship with the living in my opinion. That's what's going on NOW. What if there is no AFTER?

Our ways of handing things are as varied as our health situations, no one size fits all.
-p

mariam_11_09's picture
mariam_11_09
Posts: 693
Joined: Nov 2009

Even if there is an 'AFTER' the NOW is still the most important thing, at least for me that is. We can die at any moment. In the last 2 years I have gone to 5 funerals and heard plenty of 'regrets' from people who had not made the effort to keep in contact with dear friends and family.

I have one regret which was hard to deal with. I had a disagreement with a friend, he was in his last days due to metastatic cancer and I had just had chemo, 3 weeks later he died and I had not spoken to him during that time. For months we had spoken or I visited him at least once week. Yeah, I was on chemo, but I also knew he was dying.

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
Posts: 4659
Joined: May 2005

I agree with you about the NOW part. If there is a Hereafter, I imagine we would be in a state of consciousness where being sorry for hurt feeling would be irrevelant. If we live in the now, the now should be where our energies should be. I know it can be easier said than done at times. I've found that the "trigger" is often unsealed to the underlying, unresolved issues.

As others have said, it often takes a brush with death to wake people up to "the now". I wasn't too bad pre-cancer but it has been one thing that's been a mixed blessing as far as cancer goes...

Marcia527's picture
Marcia527
Posts: 2731
Joined: Jul 2006

We had a bumper sticker once that read " My family is more dysfunctional than your family."

mariam_11_09's picture
mariam_11_09
Posts: 693
Joined: Nov 2009

Marcia, I think we need that bumper sticker but I think my brother and his family might deserve it more than us. You could make a soap opera from our families dysfunction.

Even though we/I might not get along with some family members there just doesn't seem to be a good enough reason not to keep in contact in some way or another particularly parents and siblings.

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
Posts: 4659
Joined: May 2005

That's great! I tell my wife that her family puts the "Fun" in dysFUNtional

catwink22's picture
catwink22
Posts: 239
Joined: Sep 2009

I hear what you are saying djbuk. Be thankful and grateful for today and appreciate the beauty of this life.

You became humble and in-tune with yourself and along the way you found the comfort and closeness of Jesus. I know this feeling well that you are conveying in your post.

It also seems that you feel the nonbelievers are missing out on this profound sense of solace and companionship, but they simply don’t or can’t believe. We all find our comfort in different ways and maybe by posting your experience you will help someone find theirs, which is what I think you set out to do.

There are many reasons family can be estranged. Sometimes it's the miles that separate us and keep us from seeing each other as often as we would like, then we get wrapped up in our own lives and before you know it - poof it's been 5 years. There doesn't have to be animosity involved although that's probably the case most of the time. But how do you have a relationship with a sibling that lies about everything or steals or worse? Walk a mile in someone's shoes.

Thanks for sharing.
Cat

djbuk
Posts: 24
Joined: Dec 2011

for coming to my rescue. You were able to understand what I was unable to put across clearly.

djbuk

sea60's picture
sea60
Posts: 2601
Joined: May 2010

Whatever your belief, one is always better off making peace and having strong family relationships AND being thankful for what you have despite a bad situation. What helped me so much when I felt I was at rock bottom was the thought that there was someone else suffering more than I.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

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