Sunday, March 3, 2013: 11:30 a.m.

While driving home from the early service at my “non-church,” I called my mom’s phone in her room in the Nursing Home.  Hopefully both my Mom & Dad would had their fill of TV church services which include Joel Olsteen & Charles Stanley.

Answering the phone.

Dad: “Hello?”

Chuck: “Hi Dad, what’s going on this morning? Did you watch your favorite TV ministers?”

Dad: “I sure did…before I came over here. Don’t know if Mom watched anything because the TV was off when I got here.  Now I just sitting here with her.”

And with an obvious increase in volume.

Dad: “Do you know what your Mother said a few minutes ago? She said, ‘I want to Die!’  What do you think about that?  Here talk to your mom.”

A few moment of silence pass while Dad puts the phone up to mom’s ear.

Chuck: “Hi Mom”

Mom: “Hi Honey”

Chuck: “Sounds like you are not having too good of a morning?”

Mom: “No I’m not.”

Chuck: “Mom, did you said you wanted to die?”

Mom: “Yes I did.”

Chuck: “Well, Mom. I want you to know one important thing through all of this.  I love you and support you through all your decisions.  I am not walking in your shoes.  I have not lived with excruciating pain for over 23 years from botched knee replacements and all of the conditions and complications that have developed since that time.

Mom, you have fought a good fight. (my voice beginning to crack) You have been an incredible mother, husband, friend and christian example. You have had an incredible love affair with a wonderful man for 70 years.  You should not feel guilty or selfish for feeling this way and wanting to be released of this earthly shell.

( Openly crying and very obvious in my speech) Mom, I don’t need to remind you that Life doesn’t end when we die?”

Mom: “No son, you don’t.”

Chuck: “Well, rarely do two pass at the exact same time. Someone leads the way.  You will be ‘there’ to welcome Charlie, who will eventually join you.

I will not judge nor discourage you from wanting this process not to be extended any longer.  Again, I love you and will support you through all of your decisions.  If you decide not to eat and drink to assist your body in freeing your spirit, I will be there for you through this journey.  You know I love you.”

After a pause,

Mom: “I love you too, bye now.”

Then the phone was taken from her.  With a voice that sounded like he wanted to hear that I had encouraged her to change her view, Dad asked, ” well what did you tell her?”

Chuck: “Well Dad… (and I proceeded to recall everything I had just say while sobbing).”

There was silence at the other end. So I continued.

Chuck: “Dad, Mom will be going first and in the meantime you have to remain here and do your very best.”  We will be there for you every step of the way.  We are encouraging you to take care of yourself and eat well.  One think I want you to consider is to return to your church family of over 60 years for spiritual support, fellowship and guidance.  Just as you have to go to your Doctors appointments and be away from Mom for a few hours at a time,  your faith needs “booster shots” and self-examinations and Mom doesn’t notice with any consequence that you have been away.  But the benefits for you would be priceless.  If Mom was thinking clearly, you know she would want you at church to enrich your spiritual life.  You know very well the power of numbers…where two or more are gathered in my name…  Dad, you know I love you and we all are there when you need us.

Dad: “yes, I know you do and I love you too. (not sure if he was crying along with me but after some silence) We really appreciate your call. Bye, bye.”

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