The Dark Night
While I came through the original heart surgery in predictable ways and predictable stages of recovery, but this would not be the case after nearly dying of a spontaneous hemorrhaging that came about the day I went home.. A team of eight emergency team people Sutter Memorial Hospital saved me. I was transferred to ICU to recover. Now everything was disoriented. I had been to the edge of the threshold. Our out of state children were called.
Mary was all ready here for she had all ready come from Wisconsin to support what we thought would be a normal recovery. She was with me and most of the family in the emergency room. Such a difficult experience for them as they saw me in such pain and the starting to fade away! The family was called as all was now uncertain. Youngest son Colin drove down from his home near Mt Shasta. Vivian flew in from Seattle.
How good it was to see them all, though it was poignant as our oldest son, Gary crossed to the other side last March. Our children are in their mid-life years. We look on them with loving pride, they are strong, self confident, resilient, authentic, (and a handsome lot, too) each expressing their many gifts through their work and lives.
They will manage this, however it goes. In the three days they are together they arrange a 'family meeting' in an alcove of the hospital. Oh, how we worked to make this a custom while they were growing up! It was often resisted and surely not always appreciated. (Even though serving good food was always a must!)
Now as mature individuals they meet one another over the family crisis. All strong minded on things they find a way to stand on common ground for the highest good.
I am entering foreign territory. Terrible pain comes from the two large transparent tubes thrust into my chest cavity to drain the last of the ultimately five liters of blood that will be removed. The body is asked to incorporate the six units of new blood given to save me. The pain of this internal tube rubs against nerves never meant to be touched, far exceeds the pain of the wounds of heart surgery. Sedatives cannot touch it.
My mind is moving in strange and unknown directions. I know I need family support for the long and lonely nights ahead. The hospital supplies a good cot for someone to stay. My daughter in law, Cameron's wife, Carolyn, volunteers for this first night. Never in the world would I have chosen for her to have to stay by me as I go through this night of retching and vomiting, coughing, crying out for relief to bear the pain of it all calling over and over" Christ help me bear this pain that I may serve thee, Holy Sophia comfort me" I cry into the silent and mocking darkness. Through the night,I feel the children hovering around
me, knowing sometimes they are really there and sometimes I am experiencing them in spirit giving me loving care. At one unbearable moment I cry out and Carolyn takes my feet with gentle massage and deep prayers. Oh, caring, human touch, oh this primary sense of connection and comfort. How invaluable through such a journey!
Dear ones, let me tell you to have your spiritual mantras always at your soul's fingertips, known, inscribed so deeply in your memory as they can be, as you will need them. You will need the comfort of their truth filled words to echo through the silent abyss as you fall into the darkness. For the endless fall into the space of utterly helpless being, all is stripped away, all that holds us here in this life, 'falling away',titles and 'accomplishments', schemes and dreams, status, so many things of this world, worthless in another. The sacred timeless words will be scaffolding, the steadying handrail descending into a dark stairwell, a tree to hold one upright in a pitch black forest, a hand hold to , . My soul known words sound round me.... Lord Make Me An Instrument of your Peace, (St Francis verse I used for years as I prepared to enter the rooms where I teach..... or Steiner's " I think speech"... or The Lord is my Shepherd (23 Psalm) A Christian Community verse, "An all mighty Divine being, spiritual physical is the ground of existence who goes before his creatures like a father...(St. John)... In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, the same was in the Beginning With God.... Our Father...... God's spirit fill though me, Fill me within my Soul, my soul endow with strength, with strength also my heart, my heart that seeketh thee... I am the true vine
In between 'the falling' I will take strange culdesacs of vivid dream visions to places I have never gone before, bordering on
the threshold. Nausea, pain, coughing throwing up, soul anguish and calls for help, strange territory not before visited, the night creeps on The question lives with the family, and with me. Am I going or am I staying? (to be continued)