Sunday, February 1, 2009


Many have tried to muster images of what heaven would be like. Clouds, angels, and unending light. An ever-lasting dance. Complete union with God, questions answered, dreams fulfilled. The song, Amazing Grace seemingly attempts to define heaven.

When we've been there ten thousand years...
bright shining as the sun.
We've no less days to sing God's praise...
then when we've first begun.

An evangelical writer, John Eldridge disagrees and once said that heaven can't be about singing hymns for eternity. It is a complete reunion. I agree. Well, at least I hope heaven isn't about singing endless hymns.

I think heaven is pain free, painless, the end of pain.

My mother passed on yesterday morning, and the last thing I said to her was, "No more pain, mom, no more pain." I don't know what heaven is like, but, on no justifiable grounds, I'm sure there is no pain.

Diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia/Alzheimer's in 1997, her long journey with the incurable disease began. She lived with my grandparents in Kentucky in the beginning stages, then digressed into a nursing home. They say the disease degenerates the mind to the extent that the person gets younger. By that I mean, they will begin to loose manual dexterity first - the last thing a young child learns - and move backward. Speech skills falter, then use of other extremities wanes. She was bed-ridden by 2004, and used a feeding tube soon thereafter.

This past summer, doctors termed her illness as terminal rather than chronic. This meant that the feeding tube could be removed. I know there are huge ethical questions surrounding the topic, but our family agreed it was the right thing to do.

She was transferred to a Hospice unit in Lexington about two weeks ago, where she received excellent care. Her struggles finally ended, and now she is free to dance painlessly.

There are probably some who would disagree with me posting such personal information on the net, but I strongly disagree. I think it is just to relay to people, by whichever means, that yes, everything will work out just fine (addage from Beau Weston), but that doesn't mean it won't hurt. Life is filled with struggle and pain, and rightly so. Without it, love would not be able to triumph. Somehow we have been shielded from this fact by the pacifiers of culture.

It is good that my mom passed on, but it hurts. I'll be sore for a spell, but it just takes one foot in front of the other. And as I told my sister, "She'll be right, mate, she'll be right."