Follow by Email

Monday, October 13, 2008

In Memoriam

Brother Joe left this world October 7, 2008 3:40 pm

When I received the call, I had been reading from a copy of our greatgg Grandmother McLeod's writing about our ggg Grandfather's death, Feb 3, 1825, 6 pm.
"My dear daughter,
The Lord in his tender mercy has taken our Father from this world of sorrow to enjoy a better inheritance in that world where sorrow never comes and the power of darkness and the weary troubled no more...he seemed himself sensible of his approaching end..he thought his hour of departure was near and was blessed with a resignation to the will of his maker... I cannot pretend to write particulary much of his conversation as death approached he said, 'I am willing to go; I have ... had time enough given to prepare for death and am through the grace of Lord Jesus well ready.' This with many other expressions of the same nature seemed clearly to show his perfect resignation to the will of his blessed Master. .."

Below is my brother Wally's description of brother Joe's last hours sent to me later via email.
“We all grieve at the passing of Joe. Once cancer was discovered in his right lung, it was all downhill. The surgery for removal of his lung was successful and radical. Pneumonia set in and an infection that was never identified for treatment. For two months he suffered. disability and discomfort without complaint until his last breath Tuesday the 7th. Below is an account of his final hour.

I had requested a team evaluation of his desire to live or die, with family members there to ascertain the correctness of the staff’s interpretation of his communication to us. Present were the staff: the male charge nurse, the surgeon, the head nurse, and a rehab nurse skilled in communicating with patient's unable to talk.

Also the family was there: Karin, Danny, Lee and myself. We gathered around his bed at the appointed time listening and watching the procedure. The staff had reduced the level of his medication so he was awake and conscious. The questions asked entailed his answers be by nodding Yes or shaking his head No. Pretests were made to see if he could comply with these requests, and he passed.. Then the three staff who questioned him took turns, first the head nurse, then the specialist nurse and finally the surgeon. Each required an answer from Joe: whether he realized the seriousness of his illness, second did he understand the consequences of staying alive, and thirdly explaining the procedure of removing the breathing tube. Did he want the tube to remain in? “No” Did he want to risk passing on? ”Yes” Did he understand that there would be no fear or panic if he were to pass on as he would be medicated correctly? :”Yes” He was asked three times if he wished to have the oxygen removed, and three time he nodded Yes.

Then we all retired to a conference room where we all agreed that Joe had adamantly made a decision to have all life support removed. After some questions for the staff, we left. An hour later his arms were untied from the bed slats, his tube removed, pillows adjusted and brow and mouth wetted and the family was left with him, one at a time. His last words were to Lee:” I love You” and then minutes later he took his last breath, very peacefully and quietly.

The family went afterwards to a restaurant and a quiet room where we reminisced, toasted and celebrated Joe’s life. It was a draining time for all, but all agreed it was the right thing to do for Joe: their father, her husband, and my youngest brother.

I slept little last night as I am sure others as well were affected.
Awake, nor out of guilt or grief as much as replaying all the events of a dramatic and sorrowful ending to Joe’s earthly existence. I was the last to go in to his room after he passed on, earlier the family asked me to say a prayer as we held hands around the dying Joe, the last visit was the Scriptural blessing:
“May the Lord bless you and keep you
May the Lord cause His face to shine upon you
May the Lord lift up his countenance and give you Peace. Amen."

I believe that Joe also resigned himself to His maker's will and through the grace of the Lord Jesus was well ready. Now it is just time for us to grieve his loss.

No comments: